Sustainable Food & Love…


I do not know if it was the intoxicating concept of date night after a long absence or the fact that Crudo e Nudo is just that good.

A week ago we ventured out for dinner to a place I was anxious to visit.

The talented duo of Chef Brian Bornemann and Leena Culhane have introduced the westside of LA to an incredible diminutive gift.

Good things do come in small packages.

Their combined talents and dedication to sustainability have created an amazing culinary experience.

Granted the bells and whistles are eliminated, but the concept and personality shine brightly.

The restaurant/marketplace  is very cozy.

Chef Brian Bornemann and musician, artist Leena Culhane only met last year, but they are already making beautiful music.

They bonded over their love of surfing, sustainability and straightforward, honest food.

Bornemann was formerly the Executive Chef at the distinguished Michael’s in Santa Monica as well as Venice’s standout restaurant, The Tasting Kitchen.

They have brought their talents together to create Crudo e Nudo, an Italian-inspired raw bar.  

While sourcing local fish from sustainable purveyors and dynamic ingredients from local farmers markets, the two began the journey by hosting vibrant, Covid safe, pop up evenings from Venice to Echo Park.

We sat at a socially distanced table on the patio and soaked in the local Main Street color, awaiting our bounty.

Leena is beyond charming and we chatted in between her addressing  to the needs of other patrons.

Small world…It turns out that I actually did press for her former piano teacher, the talented musician and singer, Bonnie Hayes.

We kicked things off with an amazing Daily Crudo. We were instructed to drag the fish through the Meyer Lemon citrus oil…incredibly fresh and delicious (oil available for purchase).

This gem was followed by embellished fresh oysters with pink peppercorn limoncello mignonette that were briny and ice cold…as they should be served (1/2 dozen $21).

Another special was served. I am a Uni (Sea Urchin) addict and the presentation was fantastic…still channeling the exciting combination of flavors with a bit of a kick.

The Hook and Line Tuna Toast stable was off the charts amazing. It is comprised of the sweetest fresh tuna tartare on seeded Gjusta bread, new onion confit, shrimp stock and black sesame. Do a drive by just for this dish ($15).

Leena surprised us with Dips on Chips…masago ikura and bottarga, creme fraiche, house Calabrian sauce, chives served over Torres potato chips ($14).

It gives the pedestrian chips and dip concept a deliciously exciting new profile.

The chilled, super crisp Vegan Caesar was abundantly tangy with kombucha (seaweed), croutons, furikake (Japanese seasoning) and avocado ($18).

Leena’s specialty other than music is desserts and she graced us with an epic treat, decorated with flowers from her garden. The chocolate was so rich that you are delightfully forced to lick your fingers and that is not store bought Skippy adorning the inside of this outstanding dessert.

If you decide on takeout from Crudo e Nudo enjoy your delectable food at home and I suggest listening to Leena’s new album, Sleepwalker.

The soothing tracks will enhance the meal accompanied by enticing wines which they sell in the marketplace.

Crudo e Nudo is a must.

You can be rest assured that the dynamic duo will meet your COVID and culinary needs and are so appealing doing it.

Crudo e Nudo 2724 Main Street Santa Monica, California. Reservations available through Resy. Initial hours will be 11-6pm, Wednesday to Sunday, with coffee served 8-11am via Lenny’s. Street and lot parking available.

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