|Chef Bryan Au on right with Tobey Maguire|
The AKFF Editor recently met Chef Bryan Au from new restaurant, Raw Star Cafe in Santa Monica at the Green Drink Mixer at Keetsa, the new eco-friendly mattress store on Abbot Kinney Blvd. He invited us to check out Raw Star Cafe, located at 306 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica CA 90405, just three blocks from the beach, between 3rd and 4th streets, (the former location of Flying Saucer Cafe.)
Chef Bryan is known for Raw Star Recipes, his #1 Vegetarian Cookbook in the USA Award 2012 by The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Celebrities have gotten word about his culinary talents, including actor Tobey Maguire, who dined there recently.
The cafe is changed up with upgraded decor including gold paint on one wall, orchids in a zen garden on tables and a very upgraded garden patio, yet still has a casual atmosphere, where friends stopped in to say hello and/or order a bite to eat. One diner told us he loves the tostadas there.
|Warm Mac ‘N Cheez with mixed green salad|
First, let’s get to the raw food part for the uninitiated; in a nutshell (bad pun intended) it’s all about fresh fruits and veggies that are uncooked, yet can be heated to below 180 degrees and an emphasis on gluten free. This reviewer has experienced raw food at a number of private, catered events, namely in Santa Monica and Venice and a couple restaurants to date.
Let’s get to the main course, which is the food. Chef Bryan served us a plate of comfort food, perfect for the night we had dinner there – actually a giant plate of Warm Mac ‘N Cheez, made from kelp, that both of us split since it was a large portion. It was good and cheesy although the taste of brewers yeast was a tad strong for both of us. It looked like an egg dish complemented with mixed greens on the side that were very fresh and delicious.
Next came two large bowls of Broccoli Soup. While broccoli is not one of my faves, this soup was simply delicious! A light, creamy broth, not too thin with micro greens sprinkled on top that made for a good accent to the soup. This could be a meal by itself, if you’re coming in for lunch. I also tried a rice dish appetizer named Thai Basil, which is sprouted forbidden black coconut rice subtly flavored with teriyaki onions; the coconut rice has a slightly sweet taste to it and was reminiscent of quinoa. This dish could be mixed with a veggie dish for more flavor diversity, which is something worth trying on another visit.
|Sweet Potato Pie|
Then came the pièce de résistance, the Sweet Potato Pie, which looked and tasted like a pumpkin pie, slightly less sweet, on a crunchy and yummy graham cracker crust, with the plate drizzled in honey and sprinkled with fresh goji berries. Wow!
There are some other dishes on the menu such as the Raw Organic Vegan Gluten Free BBQ Cheeseburger with almond onion bun the “burger” is walnuts, sprouted forbidden black rice, herbs, quinoa, etc and the French Onion Soup, Spicy Mongolian Beef, made from eggplant and forbidden rice, plus a selection of smoothies and juices. Raw Star Cafe is open everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 11am – 9pm. They also have a food truck and cater private events and have a delivery service.
Raw Star Cafe
306 Pico Blvd. (between 3rd & 4th, next to Vidiots)
Santa Monica, CA 90405
424-238-5138 Hours are 11am – 9pm