Nyesha Arrington’s latest venture slipped quietly into the former home of the underrated Santa Monica Yacht Club, but fast established itself as a welcome addition to a Santa Monica stretch that lacks quality options—though Native’s slightly nosebleed-inducing pricing may make it more a destination for meals of note than casual walk-ins.
The menu, which actively promotes the local provenance of its ingredients, has enough pleasing twists to it to support repeat visits. And, for the most part, the kitchen gets it right. A superb starter of French lentil crackers came served with an addictively smoky eggplant mousse ($15), and grass-fed-bison tartare ($17) was lifted from the mundanity of most preparations by the addition of Korean mustard. The juicy and slightly charred Kurobuta pork chop entrée ($28) got a huge thumbs-up from my wife, who considers herself something of an expert on matters pork-chopular; the sweet-savory glaze of gojuchang provided perfect counterpoint to the pork’s natural fattiness, while the Hinona turnips added necessary texture. The short dessert list is also well executed, particularly the fun offering of deep-fried chocolate ($12).