Chef Dave Beran’s highly anticipated restaurant Pasjoli opens tonight in Santa Monica. The fine dining tasting menu veteran is going ever-so-slightly down market with his highly anticipated new a la carte French spot on Main Street, but don’t expect Pasjoli to be anything simple.
“Everything about the space feels energetic,” Beran tells Eater. “I don’t want this to be some quiet temple to French gastronomy.”
The restaurant, which was originally slated to open last Saturday before running into some last-minute building delays, will serve a high-flying menu that soars above many of the traditional French classics. There will not be any French onion soup, and no steak frites either, though diners will eventually be able to seduce themselves on heaps of caviar presented tableside by way of a brass cocktail cart, or Beran’s own legal take on foie gras, made instead from chicken liver mousse.
Pasjoli’s larger entrees include a rack of lamb or a sole meunière, plus a timeless pressed duck iteration with sauce prepared tableside. Beran says the menu should feel vibrant and fun, even if it eschews some of the trappings of what an average customer may consider to be French food. Thankfully, that’s all a part of the conversation that employees can have with guests. After all: “Does Evan Funke have to explain to people at Felix why he doesn’t serve spaghetti and meatballs?”
Beverage director Daniel Lovig oversees the French wine list as well as the cocktails, while Beran — who also runs Santa Monica tasting menu restaurant Dialogue — and chef de cuisine Matthew Kim lead the kitchen. The opening menu is below.
As for keeping the space feeling active, Beran and design firm Rugo/Raff from Chicago (Alinea, Next) have collaborated to make the dining experience pop. There’s a lively bar just off to the left of the entrance, an open kitchen in the back, and banquette and table seating for all.
Pasjoli opens tonight, keeping hours from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday, with an extension to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night. Reservations are available now on Resy.
Pasjoli. 2732 Main St., Santa Monica.