With something like a multi-hour tasting menu out of the question during the pandemic, Dialogue is transitioning to an outdoor-friendly small plates and wine bar setup on the Third Street Promenade-facing patio just outside its main dining dining room in Santa Monica. Called Tidbits by Dialogue, Dave Beran’s Michelin-star team will use the Paperboy Pizza space as its main cooking stage to prepare approachable, more affordable dishes in lieu of a 20-course affair. Wine director Jordon Sipperley and Beran had been talking about doing a more casual wine bar for years, so this seemed like an ideal time to try it out.
Starting August 6, the Tidbits menu will serve about ten dishes, like roasted broccolini, anchovy, and vinaigrette; choy sum with strawberries, tamarind, and avocado; or prawns a la plancha. Skirt steak with sea grape, roast cauliflower, and Dialogue’s famous Basque cheesecake round out the highlights on the menu. Wine, beer, and low alcohol cocktails based on sherry and vermouth are available to sip while watching the late summer sun set just over [a mostly emptied] Promenade.
The open-air patio will seat about 30 people spread out among various tables, with reservations available starting at 4 p.m. from Wednesday to Saturday. Tidbits will also accept walk-ins.
With much of LA’s fine dining restaurants unable to adapt to outdoor seating, along with economic pressure from lost jobs and uncertainty, it’s a smart move for a Michelin-starred restaurant like Dialogue to transition to something easier on the wallet. Hopefully Beran and his team will have a successful run with Tidbits and make it something more permanent in the future, either here in the Promenade or elsewhere in Santa Monica. Dialogue will continue to do multi-course takeout meals from its main kitchen until early August, when it will cease those operations. Meanwhile Beran’s French restaurant Pasjoli down in Main Street has fully adapted to an outdoor seating situation.