Tar & Roses doesn’t exactly sound like a restaurant name. Rather, this restaurant in Santa Monica sounds like a bad indie movie or an alternative to being tar and feathered. But a restaurant it is, and one that my wife and I made our way to when she decided she was craving some bone marrow (insert innuendo here). Apparently the place has become quite popular because our only option was to take a seat at the bar, which was actually fine because it brought us closer to the blackboard.
“What is the blackboard?” you ask. Well, the blackboard is their selection of cured meats, cheeses and bruschettas. And these ain’t your daddy’s bruschettas, at Tar & Roses the term bruschetta is much more loosely defined as something fancy and delicious on bread. We opted for a “Pick 3” and chose one bruschetta, one cheese and one meat.
For the bruschetta, we got Wood Fired Goat, Harissa and Grapes. These three ingredients combined for one delicious slice of bread. If you’re wondering what harissa is, it is a spicy North African sauce that Tar & Roses used as a spread. I would eat that fancy stuff again any day. In addition to that, we got meated up with Sopressa and cheesed up with Gorgonzola Dulce. Both of these were awesome and tasted pretty snazzy with the breads, fruit paste and almonds. It also came with pickled veggies, which was very uncool. Sure, the wife ate them, but I was still upset that there had been no warning.
As per my lady’s craving, we continued with an appetizer of Bone Marrow. This came with an onion marmalade that I avoided and some toasted sourdough. Once again, it came with unexpected vegetation and I avoided these, but made note of their existence. Fortunately, these did not impact the delicious and sizable portion of marrow. Seriously, there was so much of it that we needed more bread, which the wait staff was kind enough to provide to us.
At this point, I probably could have been finished, but I had a steak coming. A Hanger Steak, to be precise. It came with a sunchoke puree (which is kinda like a flowery potato), wood fired leek and some chanterelles, which I learned were mushrooms. I would have ordered without those veggies, but my wife said she would eat them and I let them slide. The steak came out as a perfect medium rare, but wasn’t nearly as impressive as the appetizers. No, it wasn’t bad by any means, but I honestly felt it wasn’t a great value at $25 bucks.
Nonetheless, Tar & Roses is a great addition to Santa Monica. It did not disappoint and I suspect this was not my last visit.