Design Dish: Native - The Unique Mix Of Los Angeles

Tucked into the corner of a modern building Santa Monica Boulevard, the former Santa Monica Yacht Club has undergone a complete transformation. Gone is the rustic wooden interior. The new space has been given a wash of glamor by interior designer Breegan Jane, creating an interior that puts a twinge of excitement back into dining out. Masculine and feminine touches are doled out in careful balance: black marble and pink velvet, reclaimed wood and gold chairs, teal walls and taupe brick. Black and white photographs culled from the archives of the Los Angeles Public Library’s image division, showcasing women at work and play dot the walls. The result is a backdrop that supports the effort of getting dressed up as well as it does a casual meal. It’s the perfect pairing for Chef Nyesha J. Arrington’s inventive and elegantly presented farmer’s market-driven cuisine. 

Start your night in the dark, cozy bar area by settling into one of the wooden topped black marble bar’s velvet barrel-backed stools for a cocktail. Adam Flamenbaum of Spring/The Cannibal bar divides the offerings into aromatic and stirred or vibrant and shaken. There’s also a good list of draft and bottle beer and a nice selection of wine. Bar snacks — lamb skewers with sauce vert and mint, smoked trout toast, grilled spanish octupus with piri piri, smoked yoghurt and cilantro — go beyond the unexpected. 

The surprises extend to the main menu as well. With the waiters encouraging shared plates, it’s easy to go overboard on the ordering, making you grateful for the main dining room’s comfortable tufted banquette seating. Especially on a chilly California evening, when the air’s just crisp enough to suggest a sweater but the geography’s got you wearing sandals, you’ll be happy that Jane’s chosen velvet over leather. In the summer or on a sunny afternoon, the white-washed outdoor space, with its wicker-backed chairs and overhead pergola, is visually cooling

Dominating one end of the central space, a close-up photo of Arrington’s hands which covers the wall is a reminder of the personal touches that go into each dish. The Top Chef alum and Southern California native harnesses the city’s melting pot of influences, her multicultural background and the strong hand of her Korean grandmother — like her short ribs recipe folded into dumplings or the sesame seed oil pricking up the flavor of the kabocha squash— to elevating the menu above the unexpected. 

Native, 620 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA, 310.458.4427

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