Restaurant Review: Longitude at Le Meridien Delfina in Santa Monica

Posted on Posted in Food

Longitude Bar and Restaurant at the Hotel Le Meridien Delfina is Raising the Bar for Great Food

As you walk into Le Meridien Delfina Hotel in Santa Monica, you will notice that the restaurant and the lobby are designed to be open and welcoming. The restaurant has no doors, but plenty of comfortable tables and chairs, a fully stocked bar, and some beautiful and unusual artwork. It’s a lovely space, and you can enjoy live music on Friday nights, and a DJ on Saturdays.

But what’s even more impressive is that the Longitude Bar and Restaurant at Le Meridien is the current home to Executive Chef Russell Wooten. Chef Russell has great creativity and full control in the kitchen. He hails from five-star restaurants and hotels such as the Ritz Carlton, and the kitchen at MIT, and is fully committed to creating the finest cuisine using fresh, healthy, and sustainable ingredients. In fact, both the entire lunch and dinner menu are made from scratch, and are GMO free. It’s one of Chef Russell’s greatest passions, and it results in delicious and wholesome food.

Chef Russell Wooten is passionate about healthy and wholesome food

The menu at Longitude is short, consisting of a single soup, a few small bites, two salads, and five or six mains. But each of these items is extraordinary, made with care, integrity, and passion.

The seasonal soup for summer is Watermelon Gazpacho. It is amazing! But as the seasons change, so do the seasonal dishes, and Chef Russell is coming out with a Vegan Gumbo soon. It sounds delicious, and I’ll certainly be back to try it.

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As for the small bites, the Tuna Tartare with Avocado is outstanding, and the Meatballs are spicy and delicious. For those who love Fois Gras, the Fois Gras Torchon is wonderful. There are also a few choices of Grilled Flatbreads that are made completely in-house.

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The Garden of Farm Salad is filled with the freshest ingredients straight from the Santa Monica Farmer’s market. It has baby lettuce, goat cheese fritters, blackberry, and lemon avocado dressing. You can top it with your choice of organic chicken or grilled rockfish.

The main courses are where Chef Russell’s true creativity blooms. They are phenomenal; beautifully plated, tasteful, and wholesome.

The Wild Corvina Bass is caught in the Pacific, and is the most sustainable local fish. It is basted in garlic and herbs, with a creamy, cheesy, mushroom risotto.

The Wild Corvina Bass is the most sustainable local fish

You can also try the Braised Beef Short Rib Ravioli in a black truffle sauce with parmesan cheese and mushrooms. It is rich and overflowing with flavor. The pasta is made in-house, with semolina, olive oil, and flour all from Italy, organic eggs, and sea salt from France. The Braised Short Ribs are braised for 7 hours, then served with truffled bread pudding and shallot confit.

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Another superb option is Mary’s Free Range Organic Chicken. It’s stuffed with spinach and fontina cheese, and served with olive oil whipped potatoes. The vegetarian option is Goat Cheese Risotto, with Santa Monica Farmer’s Market vegetables. A new item coming soon is a vegetarian Basil and Garbanzo Bean Tortellini, all made from scratch and GMO free.

The Longitude hosts an excellent bar, with well-made craft cocktails. The Pear Anser is the signature cocktail, made with Grey Goose, simple syrup, lemon and lime juice, and pear sorbet. The Kentucky Maggie is a must. It’s made with Knob Creek Bourbon, Ferrand Dry Curacao, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup. For the vodka lovers, the Bon Bon is a great choice. It’s made with Stoli Vanilla Vodka, limoncello, fresh lime juice, and agave.

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You can also choose from a fine selection of wines, as well as plenty of local beers from Santa Monica Brew Works.

Save room for dessert, because Chef Russell has perfected the chocolate mousse. It is the best I have ever tasted, and it’s made 100% from scratch, including the crunchy topping of gluten-free chocolate and organic oats. Chef Russell has modified his chocolate mousse recipe over 30 times, and has reached perfection. Chef Russell has been on a mission to taste Chocolate Mousse in every country he visited. On his most recent trip to Paris he was pleased to find that his Chocolate Mousse was actually better than the French. This chocolate mousse is airy, light, fluffy, chocolatey, creamy, and rich. It’s exquisite!

This chocolate mousse is the best I've ever had

Chef Russell must love desserts as much as I do, because another of his perfect creations is a S’Mores Creme Brulee. He starts with a layer of ganache, then a graham cracker crust, and finally a homemade marshmallow. It’s so hard to choose, but the Cherry and Grand Marnier Frozen Custard is also incredibly delicious. It’s cold and refreshing, and so much better than ice cream. You can also try a rich Lemon Blueberry Tart, made with fresh local farmer’s market ingredients.

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Combine any of these with an almond milk latte, and you’re in heaven!

Chef Russell is passionate about both good food and good health. He strives to use organic and sustainable ingredients, and is insistent about not using ingredients that have been genetically modified. He never uses hydrogenated fats, and has some great gluten free items as well. He believes that “there is a right way and a wrong way to do things.” Chef Russell is definitely doing it the right way, because the food not only tastes great, but you can actually feel good about eating out. This is a big reason that we love Santa Monica.

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