New Year’s Eve we decided to stay close to home and walk to the Cadet for our 9:45 reservations.  We invite another couple to our house for a little pre-celebration cocktails and apps to ring in the East coast New Years.  We had brie, boudsin, manchego, a little jamon iberico, coupled with a 2009 Rochioli and a few short rib raviolis I had made over x’mas, we had a great start in the evening, .  With only an egg white scramble for lunch in the morning, I was not waiting until 10 for dinner!

CADET Santa Monica, was packed at 9:45 with people waiting for space at the communal table and bar.  I was so glad we had reservations!  Being sort of a regular there, the bar tender said drinks were taking 20 min and best we order before we get seated.  They changed out their cocktail menu, so I was able to try a few new things.  The best  and most memorable was the French margarita with Mezcal.  I also had an “old dog, new trick” & some mint a bourbon drink. I prefer their old drink menu, which had choices of “classic”, “French” and “Cadet” for each category.  That said it was such a great meal as my last meal of the year. The rabbit balls with potato (Rabbit Boulettes- I was saying BALLS all night :)), were moist and tender covered with a maple cream that made it perfectly balanced.  The little neck clams were flavorful with not enough bread to soup it all up.  Ordering pork 3 ways and grilled seafood for the first time was a pleasant surprised, not as much food as the Bavette steak or Ribeye, but enough to share with the table.   The pork was a wood grilled pork collar & poro toro perfectly cooked with a contrast of the Milk braised loin, which were 3 different textures.  The grilled  shrimp with crunchy heads were consumed whole even by the non asians at the table, octopus was tender and flavorful and monkfish, which I did not get any off but i’m sure it was good, gives me an excuse to go back.  The Sides are the deal here, reasonably priced between $6-9, we had the Pan Fried Pommes Aligot, Braised Endive with Gruyere and Ham and the Farro & Broccoli.  You can’t go wrong with the 3 dishes that had plenty of cheese, flavorful taste profile and fresh veggies from the farmers market.  We finished with the hot apple crumble which i said we were too full to order, but even that disappeared as quickly as it was order.  After we head out for Taco teca, 2 doors over, for the coconut mecal drink and a shot at midnight.  The food is good there too but it is for another post.  Happy New Year.