Since I am leaving this week for Paris, I wanted to share an “American” meal with my friend Mika before my trip so we went to Wilshire in Santa Monica for their Dine LA week dinner. Their special menu is only $34 for three courses with the option of pairing two wines for an additional $15. I chose the 2009 Inception Chardonnay and the 2004 Chateau Reignac Bordeaux and enjoyed both the quality of the wines and the value of the pairing.

Mika loves lobster, so for her appetizer she chose the Lobster Bisque, tarragon crème fraiche, with olive oil fried croutons. It was a wonderfully creamy version with plenty of lobster flavor and the tarragon creme fraiche added a nice accent in both color and taste.

I chose the little gem and endive salad, apple, walnuts, served with roaring 40s pomegranate vinaigrette; a great combination for a salad! I was pleasantly surprised to find bits of blue cheese in the salad which complimented the crisp lettuce splendidly. I also enjoyed the sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and the light hand with which this salad was dressed; a bigger version of this salad would be a perfect lunchtime meal.

For my main course I chose the miso cod, crispy rice, and shitake mushroom salsa. The fish was meltingly tender and very flavorful with miso, but it was not warm (much less hot). I enjoyed the Shitake mushrooms, but I found the rice cake a bland disk of slightly crunchy rice.

Mika chose the braised short rib, mashed potatoes, with glazed cipollini onion and enjoyed the meat, sauce and potatoes immensely. This is a great dish for any meat and potato lovers. I tasted the meat and found it a good version of braised short rib, but I felt it could have used a bit more braising time.

We chose the same dessert of flourless chocolate cake, with black pepper ice cream. This was a very rich and light cake for a flourless cake, so the black pepper ice cream was a refreshing counterpoint. Somehow we both managed to eat the entire slice!

Service was professional, the decor was welcoming and relaxing (the bar area is a local hotspot if you are looking for action), and the outdoor patio is a perfect spot for a warm afternoon or evening meal, so Wilshire is the perfect go to place in Santa Monica.

American food has certainly evolved from the Blue Plate Specials of unknown meat with brown gravy served with frozen vegetables. Wilshire is a wonderful example of the great dishes that are being served today in America, and although I look forward to leaving for Paris, I also look forward to eating at Wilshire again upon my return.

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