Onda Collaboration Fails…

A highly anticipated foodie collaboration recently debuted in Santa Monica.

Jessica Koslow of innovative, hip daytime cafe Squirl located in East Los Angeles and Mexico City’s renown Contramar chef, Gabriela Camara, have opened Onda.

Located next to the trendy new Proper Hotel, Onda is an attractive 120-seat newcomer.

We reserved a table because it is a difficult reservation to acquire.

When we arrived the table next to us was occupied by LA’s finest douchey canoodlers.

Burrowed into the narrow communal bench space was a 40-something couple who were enjoying foreplay.

He was basically occupying my seat and wouldn’t move to allow me to sit.

Additionally, his designer clad feet were thrown under our table and to add insult to injury one of them was wearing musk oil which is more heinous then scented Summer’s Eve.

We fled.

We ended up at the bar which, in all honesty, I prefer to a table.

Erin, the engaging effervescent Onda manager, immediately approached apologizing for the situation and freely poured a fabulous glass of the sparkling Italian white wine, Castel Noarna.

We settled in and definitely needed guidance from the affable bartender, Eli as well as Erin.

We ordered the tangy, salted, popular Fish Hiding Under Kelp which is a lightly fried piece of kelp dotted with anchovies that are culled locally and weather permitting a diver searches for the tiny anchovies daily ($16).

The Bury Caesar was a favorite with a unique dressing, comprised of crunchy romaine, anchovies, Spanish goat cheese and breadcrumbs. It is a well-balanced dish ($16).

The Crab Tostada was a huge disappointment. A small scoop of tasteless crabmeat on a very hard corn tortilla was a waste. I left it to languish on the plate ($16).

The Koji-Marinated Satsuma Sweet Potato with salsa macha, house made crema and heirloom corn tortillas was tasty, but overpriced and if you are not a fan of spicy ask for a side of crema to douse the spicy sweet potato ($26).

The Molten Chocolate Cake was unique and again small. The unusual texture left me cold ($14).

Onda is interesting, not memorable and just too much smoky enhancement in most dishes.

I probably would never go back because their attempt at dynamic, creative Mexican mostly falls short on taste.

After dining in Mexico City, Onda does not compare with that city’s memorable cuisine.

Onda Wilshire Boulevard Santa Monica, California. Open Monday-Sunday 5-10pm. Reservations on OpenTable.com. Metered street parking and valet parking at the Proper Hotel ($16.50 for 3 hours).

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