Santa Monica’s Tar & Roses is back! A half-year after closing due to a fire, T&R (for short) has finally reopened, with nary a visible change in sight. The food should be familiar to anyone who’s dined at the restaurant in the past, with bacon popped corn, oxtail dumplings, and wood roasted English peas all still on the menu. My family and I went back about a week after they reopened to resample some of the classics and try a few new dishes.
The aforementioned peas were one of our favorite dishes of the night; the entire family fought over who got the last pod. Another highlight was the lemon ricotta gnocchi, with a very light choux pastry base for the pasta. The surprise hit with the family—I thought I was going to get the dish all to myself—were the pig tails!
We got some perfectly charred octopus skewers and a great hanger steak to round out the savory phase of our meal.
For dessert, my wife’s never been able to resist the sticky toffee pudding at Tar & Roses. The kids opted for sorbets by LA Creamery, which were some of the most true-to-fruit flavorful sorbets I’ve ever tasted. I had the strawberry ricotta crostata, with another great LA Creamery ice cream flavor, honeycomb.
Tar & Roses is back, and in full swing! When we were there, it was as packed as it had been, like they’ve never closed. It’s refreshing that chef/owner Andrew Kirschner was confident in the strength of his concept and the loyalty of his customers, that he didn’t try to put a new twist on the place.
Of course, part of what made Tar & Roses great was the seasonality of the menu, so naturally the menu will change, but the restaurant stayed true to itself. Suffice it to say, if you loved T&R before, you’ll love it again. And if you didn’t, you probably won’t change your mind. But if you haven’t tried Tar & Roses, do yourself a favor and try it at least once! It’s one of my wife’s favorite restaurants in LA, and mine too.
Tar & Roses did switch to using Reserve exclusively for their online reservations; you can always make a phone reservation too. If you go to T&R’s website, Reserve does allow you to pick a date and time, a la OpenTable. You can also use the Reserve app—promo code for first time users can be found on the sidebar to the left—and it looks like they’re currently waiving the $5 concierge fee for in-app requests.
Update: I posted a few pics from a second visit (disclaimer: a media event, with food and drinks hosted) to my Instagram today, so I’ll include them below too.
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Tar & Roses
602 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401