Ox & Son
1534 Montana Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Chef Miller has done it again. I visited Ashland Hill, one of four establishments of Fork ‘n Awesome (FNA) Hospitality Group, headed by Executive Chef and Partner Brad Miller. Today I bring to you the latest addition to the FNA family, Ox & Son in Santa Monica, also headed by Chef Miller. Ox & Son is situated in the swanky part of town on Montana Avenue. I was initially impressed by the large windows and classic decor of olive green chesterfields, gilded frames, ornate silverware, and crystal cups. It actually happens to be the exact style of decor for my own home, need I say, “great minds think alike?” In fact, I came home after dinner and did a search for that type of flatware to add to my domain. Bathroom, of course, had the beautiful carrara marble, and it was at that point that I decided my next home will have that same marble. I currently have the bianco rhino marble, which is equally as impressive, but I’ll go for the more traditional look next time around. Alright, enough about decor, on to the food stuff.
I couldn’t start the night off without trying some of their specialty drinks. They’ve got a great selection of beer and wine.
For drinks, we ordered the Lavender Blanc and Old Habits. Lavender Blanc – Lillet blanc, dolin blanc vermouth, lavender bitters, and dandelion tonic water. Old Habits – dolin blanc, vermouth thatchers, elderflower, pineapple, homemade grenadine, ginger ale. Both were refreshing and not too sweet, just the way I like it.
Of course, I did my research ahead of time so I knew exactly what I wanted to get. For appetizers, we started off with the Prime Beef Tartare and Benton’s Ham & Corn Griddle Cake. Everywhere I go, if there is some kind of tartare on the menu, I’m getting it. Their beef is seasoned with soy, sesame seeds, green onions, and had the tiniest little pieces of green apple to give it a hint of sweetness and crunch. When I say tiny, I mean really tiny. I don’t know how they find the patience to sit there and cut up all that apple, but it makes me appreciate the dish that much more because I can only imagine how time consuming and difficult that must be. But that’s not even the best part! The best part was the lime aioli, the cute little edible garlic flowers, and …dun dun dun….TRUFFLE EGG! Yes, little dollops of truffle infused egg yolk! Truffle makes everything better. Paired with brioche toast to spread on. Just fantastic.
The griddle cake was doused in this rich maple butter, both of which you could really taste. The texture was that of a pancake, with a hint of corn bread peeking through. It was topped with thin slices of a cured ham, and tiny little pickled onions that added just another layer to the dish. But the most surprising element were the little purple garlic flowers. I made sure to incorporate a little bit of everything into one bite. The flavors individually are so familiar, yet put together like that made it so rich and decadent! To this day we still can’t stop talking about it. This is hands down a MUST ORDER.
Entrèe numero uno was the Chicken Fried Duck Confit: shaved pickled vegetables, house kimchi slaw, red chili, and local honey sauce. It was very difficult, trying to narrow down two choices for the entrèe. I was torn between the Mushroom Parmesean Cavatelli, and the Steak, but ultimately chose this because it seemed like a unique pick. The duck was tender and had the right amount of crust. The kimchi slaw and and pickled vegetables added an extra element to the dish to give it that freshness to the fried duck.
The second entrèe we ordered was the Sticky Pig Cheeks & Black Rice: black vinegar glaze, roasted turnip, coconut black rice, and charred leak. I went with this dish because I’ve never had pig cheeks before. Truthfully, I actually thought it was the butt cheeks, later did I find out that this meat comes from the hollow part of the cheek, right below the eyes. I was surprised by how lean and tender the meat was, literally melting at the slightest prick from my fork. It was coated in a slightly sweet glaze, on top a bed of black rice that paired very well with the cheeks. Hands down the best cheeks I’ve ever had
As an accompaniment, I ordered the Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes. I felt like the potatoes were a little out of place with what I ordered, but at the same time, I love and need to have carbs with my protein. So in that sense, it was the perfect finishing touch that I crave. The good thing about the potatoes is that they really do complement the other dishes because there is already so much going on with each of the entrèes. You don’t want an equally eccentric appetizer otherwise you may not appreciate the dish for what it is.
On to the best part of the evening…dessert. I ordered the Coffeecake & Butterscotch: shattered meringue, brown butter, smoked salt, and burnt cinnamon ice cream. Just hearing what it entails tells me that there’s so much time and effort that goes into making something like this. There are so many moving parts, the cake, the meringue, sauces, and ice cream, each involving their own recipes. When it came to my table, I tried each element on its own and then again with every little bit in one bite. Simply Divine. A MUST ORDER for the desserts.
Ox & Son is truly a unique gem with so much to offer from the moment you walk in till the time you leave. I can’t wait to go back to try the entrèes I couldn’t try this time around. If you do happen to make a visit, I’d love to hear about your experience and what you ordered
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