Upper West Restaurant, located in Santa Monica, has an interesting concept with cuisine, classic films and art. Once a month they showcase an artist in a promotional setting.
On June 4-7, the art of Eva Montealegre will grace the walls of Upper West. While some patrons enjoy art, other diners may be enjoying a classic film. The urban setting of Upper West has a rustic touch, with a 27 foot bar that’s well stocked and serves specialty cocktails.
Recently I met Chef Nick Shipp there, who enjoys experimenting with foods and herbs in a fun tasting way. Upper West is that kind of place where people converse, enjoy watching classic films in their patio area and drinking a good glass of wine. Each Tuesday, all bottles of wine are one half off during the happy hour.
On this occasion, Tom Hallick, an actor who was a former star on “The Young and Restless,” joined me with his wife, Yin Jiang, a concert violinist with Andrea Bocelli. Tom ordered one of the popular craft beers and Yin ordered a Virgin Margarita.
I ordered a glass of Los Robles Pinot.
About Executive Chef Nick Shipp
Chef Nick, who enjoys delivering his own creations on a busy night, took some time for a little chit chat and boy was it interesting. Shipp, originally from Fort Worth, Texas began his culinary training at the age of 15, working part time for several gourmet restaurants in Fort Worth and Dallas, while playing drums in a local band. It wasn’t long before his skills developed to the point where he devoted more time to the kitchen, leaving his career in music for a formal education at the Culinary Institute of Dallas.
His passion for moving forward led him to the slogan, “go west young man,” which is exactly what he did, becoming acquainted with the Wolfgang Puck franchise. After a two year stint, working the governors ball, award shows, private celebrity parties and weddings, he became the executive chef of Pete’s Cafe in Downtown, where he expanded his knowledge of foods to American/Global cuisine.
It is his passion and perfection, along with a well organized staff that Chef Nick has presented a diversified and creative menu that has patrons returning week after week at Upper West.
The Culinary Journey
Our first course consisted of a Charred Broccoli Salad, prepared with spinach from local farmers, sun dried tomatoes, raisins, feta vinaigrette, balsamic syrup, garlic ciabatta and croutons.
Tom Hallick also ordered a Burrata Green apple, consisting of blackberry panzanella, baby heirloom tomato, black chai salt, fresh basil and dill mustard vinaigrette.
Next was our main entrees. Hallick ordered Braised lamb crepes which are prepared in a madras curry with spinach, Israeli feta, raisin and lavender dimi.
Yin ordered the Wild Mushroom Ravioli, prepared with smoked almond and dried tomato pesto, baby tarragon, and truffle goat cheese.
“I’ve never tasted lamb quite so good,” were the words from Hallick. Yin Jian said she was impressed with Chef Nicks blending of herbs and spices. My thoughts are that Chef Nick is thoroughly entertaining and extends that talent to preparing unique dishes.
My Pan Roasted Sea Bass was prepared with ginger braised celery and fennel, with a smoked chili and carrot romesco cabernet tomatoes in a lemon bean butter sauce. This dish won my hear, as well as an added Tomato Bisque, which I ordered after my dinner. It is prepared with yellow curry, greek yogurt, and smoked extra virgin olive oil.
Our tummies were satisfied and our conversation was quick but so informing with Chef Nick. All we needed to end our culinary journey was dessert and espresso. A key lime tart with blueberry syrup, coconut basil sorbet and lavender whipped cream teased our taste buds along with a Brioche bread pudding, prepared with rye whiskey, caramel creme anglaise and fresh local berries.
Upper West is located at 3321 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica. They’re open from 11:30 am -3pm for lunch Monday-Friday, 5-7pm Thursday -Sunday and on Mondays from 5pm -10pm. For reservations or a catered function call (310) 586-4111.
Celebrity Scene News awards five stars to Executive Chef Nick Shipp and the Upper West Restaurant.