A culinary melting pot, Maru’s menu appeals to every palate
Written by Michelle Lyn | Photos Courtesy of MARU
Part French, part Japanese, Santa Monica resto Maru also has a dash of prime steakhouse offerings, an omakase program and a sprinkle of Korean influence. Only the chef who conceived it, Jason Park, could curate such an innovative dining experience.
An LA native, Park grew up surrounded by the culinary influences of his mother and grandmother, which include a rich blend of Korean and Japanese techniques. Originally a biology major at UCLA, Park also entered its culinary arts program and developed both classic French technique and a passion for cooking. Park went on to stage at Ka Gai Ro, a Kaiseki restaurant in Osaka, where he learned Japanese techniques, further adding to his repertoire. Park combines all of his gastronomic experience and heritage at Maru, creating a multifaceted restaurant with a traditional, yet modern, menu that changes seasonally.
The stunning omakase program—where guests leave their choices to the chef—features fresh ike-jime fish (ike-jime refers to the method of quality preservation) flown in overnight from Japan, guaranteeing guests the freshest, most excellent product. Nigiri and sashimi offerings include Uni, Tako (living octopus) and Hon Maguro (Bluefin tuna).
For more traditional diners, the Alaskan Black Cod is pan-roasted and sautéed with haricot vert in a Meyer lemon broth, while a Curry Lamb loin is roasted and served over a crispy-shitake rice cake with Japanese curry.
Another interesting element that sets Maru apart from most Asian restaurants is its high-end steakhouse component. Steakhouse highlights include a massive Rib-eye, ranging from 42 to 55 ounces; a 30-day wet-aged or 45-day dry-aged New York; or an approachable 10-ounce filet served with garlic-shitake mash and brandy glaze.
Last but not least, diners can enjoy Park’s desserts, which include Strawberry Shortcake and Chocolate Bread Pudding made by an in-house pastry chef. Similar to dinner, the lunch experience also includes full-service dining, an omakase experience and fresh-baked pastries. From a design perspective, Maru is as striking as it is inviting. Cathedral ceilings and a rich juniper wood bar combine to create a warm dining room adjacent to its 17-seat sushi bar.
Park’s original Maru opened in Valencia in 2001 and generated a cult following and rave reviews. He closed its doors in 2012 to focus on relocating and refreshing the concept in Santa Monica, where, if history repeats itself, will recruit more Westside diners eager to join the cult of Park’s creation.
12400 Wilshire Boulevard #150
Los Angeles, CA 90025
424.832.7118 | MaruSantaMonica.com