It’s Friday night and you’re walking down Western in Koreatown, through crowds salivating over barbecue places you can’t pronounce and thick puffs of short rib smoke. And then you turn into one of those nondescript strip malls at the intersection of 8th, and walk through a big red door under a bright fluorescent light into a cozy, windowless room decorated with 19th century oil paintings.
You shuffle in and sit down and just as you’re thinking, “I love murder mystery dinner parties,” a list of fifty playful wines you’ve never heard of appear in front of you… Before you know it, you’re heartbroken over an obscure bottle of red, because it might be your new favorite and it almost definitely won’t be locally stocked. Then, between sips, you notice the woman in the portrait on the wall, because she has a subtle chest tattoo and you aren’t privy to where it ends. But it’s still early and you haven’t had much to drink yet and now you see the bearded man in the open kitchen – about time, Watson. He’s gripping a pairing knife, wearing a PBR hat and Clubmaster frames, and preparing food under the light of a neon sign that reads, “hipster.”
Your first course arrives. It’s steak and oyster tartare with champagne sabayon and bone marrow beignets. Now you pause and ask yourself, “Where the fuck am I?”
Following a series of unique and exuberant small plates, dinner concludes. Colonel Mustard in the kitchen with a knife is executive chef and partner, Nick Erven (MessHall, TART). Miss Scarlett in the dining room is sommelier and general manager, Mary Thompson (Rivera, NYC’s db Bistro). Her list of underappreciated, unexpected wines was tactfully planted. Saint Martha, the namesake, is the Patron Saint of cooks and servants, an inspiration not only for the moniker, but also for the attitude, décor, and perhaps even the food – aptly described as “Modern American rooted in European tradition.”
Neither you nor Boss will find this place unless you’re looking for it. Maintaining relative spontaneity is feasible – next day online reservations are obtainable – and you can push the wanton disregard game by dropping the menu upon seating and ordering the 5 or 7 course chef’s choice menu, with pairings or without.
Point is, when you wander in – be it on a date (go here on a date), formal dinner or light evening bite – you’ll meet Saint Martha in her contemporary, Koreatown, reincarnated glory. Because right now, Saint Martha is feeling hot, in vogue, and like she wants to feed you.
740 S. Western Blvd
Los Angeles , CA 90005
Complimentary lot parking
Tuesday – Sunday 5 PM until 11 PM