After a steady Springtime buildout, Saint Martha is finally ready to unveil itself in Koreatown come June 13 in what might be the most unlikely location for a restaurant this size in the city. Seating about 38 and founded by Peter and Ellen Picataggio (TART), Jim Hustead and helmed by Nick Erven, the cozy spot presents 50 wines by the glass and bottle from GM/sommelier Mary Thompson (Rivera, NYC's db Bistro). Inside, a space that feels comfortable, homey, almost den-like, though the open kitchen keeps things lively.
Nick Erven's menu spans a variety of flavors but stays grounded in mostly Californian and Mediterranean flavors. Think chicken liver mousse with mushrooms and hazelnut praline or spot prawn tartare with watercress-yogurt emulsion. Veggies get their due with a tomato with raw milk panna cotta and summer corn with burned avocado, whitefish roe, and chicken skin (sorry vegetarians for that last add-on).
The main courses, which run between $20-30 each, feature the likes of lamb loin with smoked eggplant and duck breast with beets, lavender granola, and parsnip milk. Definitely a heavy dose of creativity going into these dishes, the likes of which Koreatown has likely not seen since the halcyon days of Josef Centeno's tenture at Opus back in the mid 2000s.
If choosing your own dishes isn't appealing, Erven is planning both 5 and 7 course tasting menus from $65 to $85, respectively, for more adventurous diners. Hours run Sunday, Tuesday to Thursday from 5 to 10:30 p.m. while service lasts until 12 a.m. on weekends. Closed Mondays.
740 S. Western Ave
· Saint Martha, A Shoebox Wine Bar Debuting in Koreatown [~ELA~]