Robata Bar

Robata Bar
1401 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, 90401

Type: Restaurant
Category: Happy Hour, Dinner, Bar
Company: Special people
Tip: You can order from the full Sushi Roku menu from next door! Brace yourself for option paralysis - I recommend writing straight on the menu so you can give a rattle list to your server

Robata will forever mean Japanese tapas and the best atmosphered restaurant I've ever had. Striking the intersection of the coveted trifecta that most establishments only tag one or two of, Robata takes the stake in the middle of perfection by offering a much-welcomed contrast of warmth and friendliness, strings of white lights underneath an amazing yellow-tasseled ceiling, wrought-iron and re-claimed dark wood walls, and of course, food that is 100% to infinity delicious.

Pause and take note -This is a foodie in love.

Starting with a glass of Sav Blanc, we considered the menus (I had them side-by-side and began to mark one up with notes and underlines) while sipping on miso soup and munching on veggie tempura. Our list went as follows:
Left to right: lamb chop, pork jowl, eggplant, seabass
1. Lamb Chops marinated in Soy Garlic
2. Short Ribs in Asian Marinade
3 Filet Mignon, Faux Gras, Asparagus
4. Japanese Eggplant in Sweet Miso
5. Chilean Seabass
6. Pork Jowl (off the menu special)
7. Hanabi (Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice)
8. Baked Lobster Roll
9. Chocolate Volcano Cake

It's an eye popping list, but if you note that each item is the size of a two-three inch skewer, you'll see that it's not entirely a feast for five.

Accompanied by a trio of dipping sauces, each skewer is succulent and tender, and each I'd absolutely order again. The most curious was the Filet Mignon, Faux Gras, Asparagus: simply a  skewer with bite-sized wraps of steak around "faux gras" - which is chicken liver instead of foie gras thanks to the recent foie ban across CA. But it works. It's melty and sweet and salty and sexy and on a stick. So definitely get it.
Filet Mignon, Faux Gras
Also, make a point to get to know everyone there. Young, passionate, professional, and as my dining buddy mentioned: incredibly intuitive. What else could you ask for over a drinking and munching, wining and dining moment? Aside from another stomach, nothing. Lacking nothing, Robata Bar is absolute perfection.

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