Dave Beran made headlines when he announced that he was coming to Los Angeles in April last year. The former Alinea and Next chef had been a part of Grant Achatz’s empire for years but decided to strike west for his solo project. Initially, Beran thought he would open a larger format restaurant with a tasting menu component somewhere in Downtown, perhaps Arts District. But things shifted course when an unusual, perhaps unexpected location came through in Santa Monica.
Hence, Dialogue, an intimate 18-seat tasting menu restaurant that goes into a former food court along Third Street Promenade. It’s certainly an unprecedented move for a chef of Beran’s caliber. It would be like Ludo Lefebvre opening Trois Mec in Times Square. Or Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Third Street Promenade isn’t a hotbed of culinary activity. But maybe that’s why Dialogue is primed to attract a well heeled and curious clientele on the Westside, looking for a taste of global, avant-garde flavors based on pristine farmers market produce. Currently the tasting menu stands at 21 courses.
Dialogue officially commenced service on September 5, and tables are available up to two weeks out with scattered seatings from 5:30 to 9:15 for parties of two, three, or four. Pricing is dependent upon demand and desired seating time, but ranges between $175 to $215, and that includes service charges but not taxes. The price for two people comes out to $389.93, not including any beverages. Wine pairings run $125 or $175.
Like Trois Mec, Vespertine, and other ticket-based tasting menus, one cannot cancel or change the reservations once booked. Interior design comes from Steve Rugo and Rugo Raff, who also did both versions of Alinea’s decor, plus Next, Aviary, and Roister. The eight counter seats and three tables ensure a constant interaction between staff and other diners, hence the moniker Dialogue.
Dialogue, 1315 Third Street Promenade. Santa Monica, CA 90401