Cadet in Santa Monica
After a successful family brunch at Estrella, my family and I decided to check out the brunch offerings at Cadet in Santa Monica. Chef Kris Tominaga, formerly of The Hart and the Hunter, heads up the kitchen at Cadet. He’s recently started changing up the menu at Cadet to reflect the fall/winter ingredients he has to work with. While many of the new dishes appear on the dinner menu, at least one new dish is available on the brunch menu.
We started off with the Early Apple & Kale Salad for the table, which was my older daughter’s idea—she’s been on a kale kick lately. It was not necessarily groundbreaking, but very satisfying.
For my main, I went with one of the new dishes on the brunch menu, the Wood Grilled White Shrimp, Cadet’s take on shrimp and grits, with whole hominy mixed in with white corn. It was very comforting, and not too heavy, with a perfect poached egg to add a touch more richness.
My daughter went with the Tomato & Bacon Tartine, Cadet’s take on avocado toast. I tried a few bites and really liked the preparation, with fresh heirloom tomatoes and diced cubes of thick grilled bacon adding something fresh and different.
My wife struck gold with Eggs Benedict. Instead of English muffin, Cadet’s version is made with croissant pain perdu, essentially french toast croissant, which is as amazing as it sounds. The country ham and poached eggs were excellent, but the house hollandaise was spectacular. This was definitely the highlight of the meal!
We decided to try a dessert, and went with the Banana Cream Pie. It was delicious, albeit a little surprising. Instead of being a custard, the filling seemed more starchy, like what’s traditionally in pecan pie filling.
After being quite pleased with brunch, I knew I had to go back for dinner. When I had a chance to grab a quick bite there last week, I took it. I ordered two of the smaller dishes, which was plenty for me. Bonus was the fact that they were both new additions.
I started with the Chopped Shrimp & Avocado, almost a tartare preparation, though the shrimp was cooked. Instead of bread or crackers, a few sheets of crispy chicken skin served as the vessel to deliver the shrimp. It was definitely a little decadent, though the dish was much lighter than it would seem, and the varying flavors and textures all worked quite well together.
I ended my two-dish meal with the Wood Grilled Squid & Pork Toro. A more hearty dish with the potatoes, and not quite as contrasting in texture as the previous dish, this was a very comforting dish. Not sure if the “toro” meant it was pork belly, or some other cut, but it was nice to have the different proteins playing off each other.
I’m quite impressed with Cadet and chef Kris Tominaga. Most of the dishes were quite inventive, and even the ones that were more traditional were executed at the highest level. The prices are quite affordable, with the vast majority of the dishes we tried in the $13-$14 range. I’d go back in a heartbeat for that Eggs Benedict, but would also not hesitate to return at night time to try the larger format dishes.
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2518 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90403