There is a lot of talk going around town now about Saint Martha, the new dining destination in Koreatown. Saint Martha is an intimate, 38 seat restaurant, located two blocks from the historic Wiltern Theater. On Tuesday, July 29, Saint Martha will partner with the Koreatown Youth and Community Center to celebrate the annual Feast of Saint Martha. The restaurant features an exposed kitchen and original artwork as well as repurposed paintings from the Rose Bowl Flea Market.
Mary Thompson, General Manager and Sommelier at Saint Martha, explained a little about the restaurant and it’s dedication to the community.”We’re a new restaurant in the heart of Koreatown and it would really be self-centered of us not to consider our community and look to do outreach. In the spirit of Saint Martha, we wanted to honor her feast day, and not just have a party, but have a menu with a purpose. For us to give back to the Korean Youth and Community Center really made a lot of sense. They reach out to youths, families; they have tons of programs and they are right in our backyard. for us, it was a no-brainer, we really want to reach out and be a part of that”.
The Feast of Saint Martha will be a prix-fixe dinner, with a portion of the proceeds from each dinner donated to the Korean Youth Community Center. Mary said, “The Korean Youth and Community Center is not only geographically close to us, but we identify with what they were founded to do. It’s multi-service, right in Koreatown and it’s all about children, families and things that really matter to most people. Health, education, housing, finances; so for us it made a lot of sense. Looking into their mission, it really contacted our beliefs”.
Dishes to be served at the Feast include a French-influenced chicken liver mousse with mushrooms, hazelnut praline, pickled blueberries and toast. The Asian influence brings dishes such as octopus with Koshihikari rice, sauce nero, lardo and espelette. Mary talked about the Pecan-smoked brisket, one of the third course choices for the dinner. “Korean-influenced dishes happen within our menu whether we want to or not. Our chef is heavily influenced by things he tastes and sees. Specifically, our brisket is 100% influenced by Koreatown. It’s a dish that combines all of the really great ingredients that would be a Koreatown hand taco. You have the brisket, which would be very traditional in Texas that it is fourteen hour smoked, but the accompaniments really speak to Koreatown. You have baby lettuces, shaved radish, carrots, a chili-hoisin sauce that really just speaks to the neighborhood and you’ll find that from him in many of his dishes. A little bit of an Asian influence or even a direct influence by our neighborhood”.
Other choices for the various courses include littleneck clams with morcilla sausage, sunchoke and egg as well as crispy chicken thigh with steelcut oats, carrots, pickled dates and Moorish spices. The menu has been designed by Executive Chef Nick Erven. Both the Chef and Mary, who devised the optional wine pairings for the Feast, feel strongly about Saint Martha and the traditions they are honoring. According to Mary, “Saint Martha is the patron saint of cooks and servants. I know that she is mentioned in the Bible as being the one that was kind of in the kitchen when everyone else was sitting at His feet. she has become the patron of all things cooks and servants and for us it just made sense to give a little homage to Old World traditions, because especially with the chef and myself, we are rooted and our backgrounds are very European traditional. I worked in many conservative French restaurants over the years and that’s where the chef’s training is, obviously rooted in the French tradition, so we wanted to make sure an honor something that is a little bit bigger than us and beyond us”.
Mary has devised an optional wine pairing menu for the feast, with choices from her extensive list of over fifty wines. Mary explained, “We do feature soju and sake, but my wine list is all over the map. It’s about under-appreciated regions and things that are obscure. I think that right now, of the fifty offerings that I have, there’s probably only three are from California, but there’s Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovenia, Virginia, and New York. I really want to reach out and find things for guests that they don’t see very often and hopefully they can experience something that is a little outside their box, but is just as delicious as something that they may have tried at another restaurant”.
The dessert choices promise to be spectacular too. Roasted Reiger peaches with almond genoise and wild flower honey ice cream provide one choice. Alternatively, guests can enjoy a peanut butter ganache with roasted grape ice cream, griddled pound cake and a chocolate feuilletine.
Mary summed up the evening by saying, “We’re doing the Feast all evening on the night of the 29th and we’re very excited. For us, we’d like to see it be a big success, because for every guest that comes in, a portion of every dollar that’s spent really finds its way to the people who need it most. You know, it’s easy to lose sight when you’re dealing fine dining of the reality of the world, that we can do something bigger to help the people around us”.
For more information about the Feast of Saint Martha dinner, please call the restaurant at (213) 387-2300. Reservations for the Feast can be made at SeatMe.com. The four course, prix-fixe dinner is $65, with an optional wine pairing for $27. There is a complimentary parking lot next to the restaurant, as well as street parking and paid parking at the nearby Ralph’s supermarket.
740 S. Western Avenue #116 (between 7th and 8th)
Los Angeles, CA, 90005