Interview: Chef Brian Malarkey Dishes on Herringbone Santa Monica

Chef Brian Malarkey

Chef Brian Malarkey. Photo by Marie Buck.

Check out what motivated Chef Brian Malarkey to open west of the 405, his favorite things about Herringbone Santa Monica and what his plans are for the West Hollywood outpost.

Chef Brian Malarkey’s acclaimed ocean-to-table concept, Herringbone just opened its third location, complete with coastal views, in Santa Monica. Herringbone first opened its doors in San Diego’s coastal community of La Jolla in spring 2012. The restaurant has since been awarded “Best New Restaurant,” “Best Atmosphere” and “Best Chef” by San Diego local newspaper, La Jolla Today, as well as “Best Design/Atmosphere” by San Diego Magazine and most recently was one of two San Diego restaurants to be named in OpenTable’s 2013 impressive “Hot 100 Spots to Dine in America” list. The menu in Santa Monica offers sustainable, responsibly sourced ingredients from ocean, ranch and field.

By Christina Xenos

What made you want to dive into the L.A. market?
There’s great energy in the LA dining scene right now with so many talented chefs and an abundance of ingredients from all the local farms and purveyors. The cuisine at Herringbone is also very much in-line with the way people are currently eating in LA—we focus on serving clean food that’s prepared with the freshest ingredients to allow the purity of each item on the plate to shine through.

herringbone santa monica

Herringbone Santa Monica. Photo Marie Buck.

What is your favorite thing about the new Herringbone?
I’m really proud of the Salt & Brine bar and menu which is something completely unique and a first for us. In addition to offering fresh seafood and Pacific-bred oysters that vary based on what is currently available and in-season, it also features charcuterie offerings. It’s a take on surf & turf with a  more modern edge.

What made you target Santa Monica for your new location?
Is there anything better than eating delicious seafood just steps from the beach? Santa Monica is such a distinct community that is really defined by that beach culture, but also by the passion for living and eating well. The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market is the perfect example of that — you can just feel this palpable enthusiasm for the access we have to all these incredible hyper-seasonal ingredients that are a reflection of that current moment in Southern California.

How will Herringbone in Santa Monica differ from Herringbone at The Mondrian and in La Jolla?
The community is really what makes a new location of a restaurant different from those that preceded it. Herringbone Santa Monica was designed for this specific area of Los Angeles, so the aesthetic is reflective of the ocean motif that finds its physical parallel quite literally outside the front door. We are also drawing heavily from the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market to inform specials and dishes on the menu, and, of course, have launched the Salt & Brine bar with this restaurant, as well.

Are there any menu signatures that you’ll have especially for the new location?
The Salt & Brine bar menu was created specifically for Santa Monica, so I’d recommend that diners start their meal there. In addition to the oysters and charcuterie, there’s also uni with cucumber and fermented chilies; bay scallops with sesame ponzu and flying fish roe; and octopus with piquillo peppers, olive and saffron, to name a few.

Can L.A. foodies look forward to eating at any more of your concepts locally in the near future?
We are currently in the process of transitioning Herringbone at the Mondrian into an entirely new concept, so that’s something to keep an eye out for in the coming months! Been putting a lot of passion into the project, so really looking forward to introducing it to the LA dining community in the weeks to come.

Herringbone Santa Monica, The Seychelle, 1755 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica,