Backpacking through Latin America, the Mediterranean, and Asia in his twenties, Scott Cooper’s passion for international flavors and hospitality was established, in particular after a visit to a taverna in Greece where he savored “the best meal of my life.”
Cooper’s nomadic lifestyle introduced him to “food that was fun and made me feel welcome.” Now, self-trained chef Cooper has brought his love for global cuisine to his latest restaurant. Opened last month in El Segundo, Nomad Eatery offers a beautifully curated menu of bright flavors from around the globe in a relaxing, light-filled space.
Cooper’s favorite cuisines are those of Greece, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Israel. As he told me, “‘Is it authentic?’ is always the big question.” A Lebanese chef helped to develop the skewers and wraps. In total, Cooper collaborated with four consulting chefs from a variety of culinary backgrounds to ensure that the dishes he serves are not merely delicious, but also the genuine article.
Standout starters include steamed mussels (fragrant with coconut milk, lemongrass, and shallots); scallop aguachile (with avocado, cucumber, lime, serrano pepper, and cilantro); turmeric-dusted cauliflower, roasted and served on a bed of tahini sauce; and coconut jumbo shrimp with mango-peach chutney.
Sweet and Sour Pineapple Pork is a light, atypical version of the dish. There is no batter in sight, but lots of lean meat, sweet peppers, onion, and chunks of pineapple. Crispy Whole Branzino, marinated in lime, is served with pickled daikon and carrots. The Shellfish Soup is a comforting melange of clams, mussels, and shrimp in a broth of turmeric, curry, and saffron.
I loved the coconut rice pudding, made with coconut milk, jasmine rice, cardamom, shredded orange peel, and toasted pistachio. Even more indulgent is Warm Chocolate Heaven, a souffle based on a recipe in Gaston Lenotre’s famed dessert cookbook.
If you love a good cocktail, don’t miss these libations. Oliver, Nomad Eatery’s Beverage Director, has helped open bars at Petty Cash, The Line Hotel in K-Town, the Santa Monica Proper Hotel, and Angler. He goes above and beyond with the small details, including making his own orgeat and grenadine, and told me he looks at drink making “from a culinary perspective.”
Both drinks I had were unique, balanced, and worthy of savoring. The Raised by Wolves cocktail, topped with a preserved lime slice and crumbled pistachio, merges mezcal, amontillado sherry, pistachio orgeat, and orange blossom water. Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf is a hearty mix of Rittenhouse rye, banana du Brasil, and cardamom.
A welcoming restaurant offering light, bright global flavors at reasonable prices, Nomad Eatery is located at 2041 Rosecrans Avenue in El Segundo. The phone number is 310-606-5500.