Monday, September 17, 2018

Luna Grill Brings Fresh Med to Santa Monica

by Bryan Tsunoda @discovering_LA

While Mediterranean food is extremely popular in LA, it isn’t well entrenched in Santa Monica. Leveraging their successful expansion in the LA area, Luna Grill recently opened up their fresh Mediterranean concept on Wilshire Blvd in Santa Monica and I attended their recent grand opening event.

Luna Grill differentiates themselves from many other Mediterranean restaurants by sourcing their produce locally and obtaining meat that is preservative free with no added growth hormones. One of their principles is to serve food that avoids additives and preservatives and that is real, pure food. You can feel good about eating Mediterranean cuisine. According to the Mayo Clinic, a traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease, a reduced incidence of cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases and has shown reduced incidents of cancer. Their research has also shown that the diet results in a lower level of LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Now on to the food.
Hummus is available in regular or in a spicy version and I selected the latter.  
The spicy hummus is house made with a blend of chickpeas, tahini, cilantro, lemon and cayenne pepper and served with a generous amount of fresh pita slices. The addition of cilantro and cayenne pepper nicely elevates traditional hummus.

They have two chicken kabob offerings. The flat cut version is served pre-sliced in bite sized portions.
Despite being breast meat, the chicken was nicely seasoned, tender and not dry. I was quite happy with my selection.

Luna Grill obtains sustainably raised Norwegian Salmon.   
It was nicely seasoned and grilled so that it was still moist on the inside. It was accompanied with grilled carrots, a Greek salad, pita bread and basmati rice with saffron.

I was surprised to see the options for dessert. The vanilla cupcake was moist, delicious and had a great flavor and the “Choclava” is their version of a chocolate baklava. The chocolate was a nice option and was not overly sweet like some baklava.

On a recent visit to their Torrance location, my wife picked up the filet beef kabob and gyros plates. We were both impressed by the quality and tenderness of the meat and that it was expertly seasoned. Both entrees came packaged in heavy duty plastic containers with multiple separators. Their menu also features an impressive selection of gourmet salads and bowls. Some of the salads include Apple Walnut, Greek, Chopped Arugula with quinoa tabbouleh and chicken and an organic spinach with dried cranberries with cucumbers, feta and tomatoes.

 In addition to their brand new Santa Monica location, they have 46 other locations from Santa Barbara to the north and San Diego to the South. They also have 7 outlets in the great Dallas / Fort Worth area of Texas. Finally, Luna Grill is Eat Real Certified, a nationally recognized mark of excellence for restaurants that are committed to nutrition and sustainability. In addition to their food, they are looking at ways to be more environmentally friendly by limiting single-use plastic products.

Luna Grill 
3001 Wilshire Blvd #103
Santa Monica, CA 90403


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