Santa Monica always seem to demand more in the way of seasonally driven restaurants that work well any night of the week. And aestus, from Patina and The Royce alum Alex Ageneau, is surprise opening tonight on Wilshire Blvd, a few blocks from Third Street Promenade in the Art Deco-y Arezzo building. With 60 seats, plus 15 at the bar, and an open kitchen, aestus is sure to be a neighborhood hit much in the vein of Tar & Roses and Rustic Canyon.
Sample dishes include fried smelt with crudites; a charcuterie board loaded with duck pate and saucisson a l'ail; grass fed beef with sunchokes; and a fire-roasted half chicken. Bar director Marissa Grasmick, who comes from The Varnish and The Bitter Bar in Boulder, Colorado, creates a nifty cocktail menu featuring a house gin & tonic, brandy Alexander loaded with cognac and creme de cacao, plus a Shanghai buck mixing rum, ginger, lime, and soda. Interior design comes from MASS Architecture.
Wine director and managing partner Kevin O'Connor (who co-founded LIOCO) puts together an Old and New world wine menu while Ian Harris, who comes from Brooklyn's Reynard, is acting at opening GM.
507 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA