Stellar Steakhouse by Chef Brendan Collins | Fia Steak, Santa Monica, CA
Santa Monica, CA, November 2022
• GAYOT’s Rating: 15/20
• Cuisine: Steakhouse
• Open: Dinner Tues.-Sat. 6 p.m.-10 p.m.
• Fia Steak is on GAYOT’s:
– 10 Best Steakhouses in the U.S.A.
– Best Los Angeles Steakhouses
– Best Los Angeles Restaurants with the Best Décor
– Best Santa Monica & Malibu Romantic Restaurants
There are some chefs who whatever they put their hands on, it’s a win. I met chef Brendan Collins for the first time in 2009 when he was working in the kitchen of a West Hollywood, CA, restaurant with celebrity (and charming) chef Curtis Stone. Then came Collins’ own restaurant, Waterloo & City, in Culver City, CA — I still remember the dinner. After this British food concept, he opened Birch in Hollywood, serving California dishes. In 2019, he moved to modern Italian cuisine with Fia in Santa Monica.
But Collins could not stop there. And, very conveniently for the chef, who has trained under chef Marco Pierre White at Quo Vadis in London, the Fia space is large with many different rooms and corners. There was born the idea to transform one of the private rooms and open a steakhouse. You might say to yourself, “Another steakhouse?“… Oh, but wait, when Collins sharpens his knives into it, it is not just “another” steakhouse, it is one that we wish all were like.
The dinner starts with an unusual bread basket: a red pepper fougasse, olive bread sticks, house cultured butter and a beef jelly, on a thick butcher board (see video below). Skip the butter and go straight to the beef jelly. But, at some point, put an end to it for what is to follow.
Caviar tasting is the first thing you see on the menu, but honestly, Collins is such a good chef that I strongly recommend the creation that includes the luxurious produce, Deviled Eggs with Caviar. Continue with the Hamachi Crudo. Its coconut dressing will leave you half-way to culinary ecstasy. The Dungeness Crab Cocktail will complete the other half of the voyage. The evening I went, the special was pasta with white truffles. I could not resist ordering it, and seeing the petals of truffle slowly covering the fettucine little by little (see video below).
Then came the pièce de resistance: a twenty-ounce Prime Bone-in Ribeye. It was cooked to perfection, medium rare at will, and elegantly seared and crisp on the outside, giving so much taste to the meat. The tableside carving is also enjoyable (see video below). The must-have side is the Dauphinoise Potatoes, double cream, seasoned with thyme, rosemary and chives.
End with the Chocolate Soufflé accompanied by a Grand Marnier crème anglaise. You will, with no trouble, find the wine(s) to make the experience even better from the sixteen-page wine list.
Of course, I cannot finish my article without giving (more) kudos to Collins about the décor. We find some of the “usual” steakhouse decorative elements: red leather banquettes, black tablecloths, brick walls and photos on the wall. But the ceiling, the style of the celebrities’ pictures and the stained-glass of Saint Fiacre bring modernity, and a vibrant showcase for Collins’ cuisine that has garnered Fia Steak a place on GAYOT’s 10 Best Steakhouses in the U.S.A.