Josiah Citrin strikes again, and again in Santa Monica no less. Cache has moved into the space that once occupied Hidden, a concept that never won over the crowds. Citrin's style is much more casual and inviting than his French Melisse on Wilshire Blvd. Cache is part lounge, part restaurant and despite inconsisent service, the restaurant is putting out exactly the type of cuisine that people want these days.
A beautiful warm atmosphere is filled with a middle aged crowd. No one seems to have just wandered in, but many it seems are loyal patrons of Citrin. Another group of younger group of women seem to have come in off the recent press from the LA Times and a table of business partners (and most-likely out of towners) are probably here for the Citrin name.
Let's face it, tough times call for new measures, and something tells me Melisse is no longer as booked as it used to be. For many that would splurge on a nice dinner maybe once a week, it has gone down to maybe once a month at most. But Cache is no such place. Most entrees fall into the 20-something dollar range, but the flatbreads would make more than a suitable meal at only $12.
The flatbread was actually the highlight of my meal regardless. Supper thin, topped with caramelized onions, brie, arugula and balsamic reduction, it had a great mixture of sweet and salty.
A special of kobocha pumpkin risotto topped with shaved black truffles sounded too good to pass up...unfortunately I should have passed it up. The color alone was a little off-setting. Bright orange, it reminded me of a nacho cheese sauce at a sports stadium...not really what I want to think about when eating a $40 risotto.
The Kurobota porkchop was a much better choice with the pineapple chutney and mint. It was so tender and the chutney gave it the perfect amount of flavor. Presentation was simple but refined. A side of wood oven roasted mushrooms were underwhelming and a waste of an order...I hate that.
Time will tell if Cache has the staying power it needs, especially with the wonderful Gjelina only a few blocks away with even better food at even lower prices.
Cache 3110 Main St. (310) 399-4800