If you are in the mood for a fine dining experience try Cezanne in Le Merigot - A JW Marriott Beach Hotel and Spa Santa Monica, you won’t be disappointed.
Imagine a warm yellow sun streaming muted light across a table laid close to the grey blue ocean. The table overflowing with food stacked so artfully it seems to have just been tossed randomly and landed in perfect composition.
Am I describing a memory, a painting, an actual place or should I just get to the point and tell you? I am, in the style of the post impressionist painter Cezanne, (whose name graces the fine dining restaurant Cezanne inside the hotel Le Merigot in Santa Monica), describing all of the above.
Let me sketch in some details for you. It was February and the birthday of our Publisher Lawrence. A group of his journalists wanted to celebrate with him over a lovely dinner. So we all put on our thinking caps and that famous little light bulb appeared over our heads and we thought ah-ha, Cezanne. It is perfect! It's intimate fine dining with gorgeous décor located at the beach in Santa Monica. Le Merigot feels like you are on vacation from your mundane life in the city. When you walk in the door you feel like your feet have left our familiar terra firma and have been transported to the Riviera. Magnifique!
Cezanne, Le Merigot's acclaimed restaurant, is a feast for all the senses. With menus inspired by local Farmer's Markets fresh, seasonal ingredients, and with world-class professional table service in the European tradition, Chef Desi Szonntagh provides an exceptional dining experience.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served seven days a week, including a scrumptious weekend brunch, both inside and on the adjoining patio. Cezanne's decor is beautiful, bold, dramatic and comfortable. As you would expect the restaurant is decorated with the art of Cezanne and adorned with the rich warm colors he was so fond of painting. Favorite decorating elements for me are the gorgeous banquette seating and the beautiful blown art glass made into stunning lighting features. The restaurant is both beautifully sophisticated and comfortable all at once.
When we drove up to Le Merigot and immediately entered the property, we were swept away by luxury. After valeting our car, we were escorted to the dining room, greeted by the staff and shown to a table in the middle with wonderful views of the outdoor eating area and the rest of the dining room. We were given menus and our drink orders were taken, and then the fun began. Sous Chef Laura came out to greet us and to make her recommendations for our meals. She told us about the menu and offered to do a tasting menu for us. After finding out about our likes and dislike, example--I don’t eat fish--we decided to leave everything in her hands and be surprised.
We made the right choice, dish after dish came out of the kitchen with inspiration for everyone’s palate. We started the evening with Ahi Sashimi which was described by sushi lovers as "the best!" Followed by Seared Scallops with Jumbo Lump Crab which was a crescendo of flavors, and a savory creamy and delicate Parmesan Artichoke Strozzapreti Pasta. We then moved into the soup course which was their Crab Bisque with chunks of juicy lobster and a Wild Mushroom Bisque. Then came a dark, rustic and heady Polenta with Wild Mushrooms in a wine and truffle sauce. Right here we could have stopped and been completely satisfied and even a bit dazzed at the culinary delights Chef Desi Szonntagh had created for Cezanne and brought to life by Chef Laura.
But that was not to be our fate. The multi-talented Chef Laura had more enchantments up her sleeve which proved to leave us amazingly dazzled!
The entrées came or should I say the coup de grâce came in the form of a Petite Filet with Cabarnet Sauce, Asparagus and Dauphinoise Potatoes. This filet was one of the most succulent and tender pieces I have ever had. It cut with a fork and was more tender and easier to cut through than the chilled butter served with our warm bread. On the fish eaters plate there was also a Miso roasted Chilean Sea Bass which is one of Cezanne’s low cholesterol entrées. It was moist, light, flakey and flavored to perfection.
Again this could have been a happy ending but Chef Laura had one last trick up her sleeve in the form of dessert. There was a Crème Brulée with Pistachio Biscotti, a Bread Pudding and Warm Chocolate Mousse Cake with Valrhona Fudge Sauce and an Apple Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream. Washed down with coffees, teas and cappuccinos. I could only described this as dreamy, creamy, yummy and delicious!
We floated on a cloud of pure satisfaction as we made our way through the elegant upscale lobby to our cars. Marveling as a bartender greeted us as we passed by asking if we had enjoyed our meal and encouraged us to join them again.
Le Merigot, A JW Marriott Beach Hotel and Spa is centrally located within the heart of Santa Monica on Ocean Avenue. With the great Pacific Ocean in its backyard, the hotel is nine miles north of Los Angeles International Airport and a short drive to major Southern California attractions.
Reminiscent of the fine hotels on France’s Cote d’Azur, Le Merigot blends European elegance with the vibrant lifestyle of Southern California. The property’s subtle design and presentation of European elegance stands in direct contrast to the more traditional beach dwellings that the property neighbors and has helped Le Merigot distinguish itself from the competition.
Le Merigot, A JW Marriott Beach Hotel and Spa
1740 Ocean Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 395-9700 or toll free at 1-877-MERIGOT