While I love a great burger and slice of pizza, a major part of me has a great love for food that has a style different than what I often eat. Taking a look at restaurants in Los Angeles, there’s no shortage of creative places to dine and Air Food in Santa Monica is no exception. After being invited to Air Food I didn’t hesitate to confirm my reservation once I scanned their menu online.
Air Food started as a pop-up restaurant in Paris brought together by two friends looking to combine great food and street culture. Growing into full brick and mortar restaurant years later, the two partners brought Air Food to the main streets of Santa Monica. The French restaurant delivers a menu that pays close attention to the produce and products that are available within each season and manages to decrease the amount of non-organic products to under 30%. Free of deep fryers and connecting with local producers, Air Food has quality at their forefront of their dishes.
Sitting in the restaurant with the same online menu in front of me and the chefs in clear sight cooking, I was excited to explore the dishes that inspired the two partners while in France. With my friend Alexis and the restaurant’s public relations manager, Jacquie, sitting across the table from me the plates quickly arrived to the table. We started with the Le Nem ($12), crispy egg rolls filled with goat cheese and spices. A beautiful brown and crispy shell wrapped around the smoothest goat cheese. A single bite made way to warm a seasoned cheese that carried a sharp accent that lasted long after it was finished urging me to take another bite until it disappeared from sight.
As the egg rolls disappeared, my order of the Le Foie Gras ($18) was placed on the table. A thick slice of homemade foie gras from Hudson Valley Duck was infused with cognac, Sarawak peppe, and topped with a dollop of onion jam. Like any foie gras you may have had, the most interesting part about the dish is not just the way it tastes but the way it feels as you taste it. Here at Air Food, the duck liver was dense and thick with a subtle solidity that made it appear filling. Lightly sprinkled with sea salt gave it a pleasant taste to top it over the accompanying slices of bread. While I wasn’t a fan of the flavor from the onion jam, Jacquie made a suggestion I wish I heard prior to ordering. Instead of going with the onion jam, she offered the idea of opting for a mango jam as she did with her plate of the foie gras. Taking a few samples of the modified combination from her plate with my fork, I realized it was a great idea! The sweeter flavor paired so perfectly with the foie gras in a way that the onion flavor just couldn’t which made me slightly jealous of her.
It didn’t take long for the foie gras to disappear in the same way the egg rolls vanished. Once it did, the Le Carnard ($26) took its place. A beautiful half duck breast from France was served with a simmered fig sauce and was paired with a set of English style potatoes. Although one set of potatoes should seem to be enough, Jacque disagreed. She urged us to order the Purée Bordier ($12) a large side of mashed potatoes covered with bordier butter. Seeing how right she was with the mango jam, I refused to make the same mistake and the duck arrived with an extra set of potatoes. Letting the sweet scent of the warm duck cascade to upwards made me so excited to dig into it and it didn’t take long for me to do just that. Fork after fork and taste after taste I was given such a tender and juicy cut of duck that absorbed the sweet fig sauce almost instantly. It was rich and flavorful and blended best with the extra potatoes we ordered. The fluffiness alongside the duck made such a beautiful combination that I couldn’t do much more than smile.
To bring an evening of delicious plates to a close we had dessert. We started with the La Crème ($10) since the simple crème brûlée has always been a favorite of mine. Only difference from the kinds I’ve had before is that at Air Food, they make it with pistachio custar. The same hard caramelized layer that you’re used to rests on top of a creamy pistachio custard. It was sweet and a unique take on the traditional dish making it one that easily scoops away from sight. The second dessert which followed the crème brûlée was the Le Baba Au Rhum ($12). Just from reading the description, I knew we had to order it. Served in front of us was a small cake that had been soaked in rum, topped with whipped cream, and then accompanied with a syringe of rum to increase the taste to our liking. Served as is, there was already enough rum in the moist cake to satisfy me. But just for the fun of it, we injected it with more to see what could become of it. It quickly turned into an intoxicating cake that could possibly lean over safe alcohol limits for any dessert. I thought it was such a delightful way to present the dessert and loved getting to adjust it to my preference.
While I didn’t leave the restaurant as the biggest fan of the name – it still doesn’t say much to me if anything – I did
walk away thinking of nothing more than each plate I got to have. They were unique, delicious, and most of all they carried with me all the way to the parking lot and the drive home. If that can stand for anything, it should be that it’s a place that you too should try.
Address: 109 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: (310) 319-6262
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday – 11:30am to 4:00pm and 6:00pm to 10:00pm, Friday & Saturday – 11:30am to 4:00pm and 6:00pm to 11:00pm, Sunday – 11:30am to 4:00pm and 6:00pm to 10:00pm, and Closed on Mondays.
Social: Website, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Food tastes great
- Inexpensive parking
- Friendly staff