Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan have struck gold with their new Santa Monica wine bar, Esters! The creators of Huckleberry, which is right up the street on Wilshire, have opened a new wine bar on 7th street and Arizona. The restaurant is perfect for a quick glass of Chardonnay in between meetings, picking up a bottle for a birthday, or catching up with some friends. A beverage menu perfect for the sophisticated drinker matched with a few small plates, this place will surely win you over after one sip.
Of course, I decided to go on Wednesday. Everyone needs a pick-me-up on hump day! I walked in a quarter ’til 6 and found the place flowing with great energy. The patio was filled with people bundled up under the heaters and the inside “U-Shaped” bar had no more than two seats open. I grabbed a seat at one of their two communal tables and picked my poison.
I like it all. White wine, Red, Bubbles, Beer, you name it and I’ll drink it! On this particular night, I chose to go with bubbles and ordered a glass of their Brut. My friend, who has also been dying to try the new wine bar as well, went with a nice Gruner. Clearly, I have been living off Cooks for too long, because this glass of Champagne was perfection! The bubbles that filled my mouth with every sip slowly melted away the stressful day.
As we sipped our delicious drinks and talked about upcoming holiday plans, we gazed over the small plates and decided on hummus and a few cheeses. The menu is perfect for sharing a small plate or two, just depends on how hungry you are. Our hummus plate was by far the most beautiful hummus plate I have ever seen! The vegetables, (peppers, tomatoes, carrots, and more) were bright in color and extremely fresh. The hummus, not too thick in texture and having the perfect amount of lemon, was a wonderful dipping sauce. I later learned from the extremely helpful staff that all food options were seasonal and locally sourced. Love that!
Cheese and charcuterie take over half the menu. Which is a good thing, considering wine and cheese go together like a PB&J… at least in my book. When my friend and I expressed we wanted to order three cheeses, our waiter went above and beyond to find us the perfect trio. He offered cheeses that would compliment both of our drinks, making sure to include an assortment of flavors and textures. We ended up with Pipers Pyramid (goat cheese), Ewephoria (sheep) and Camembert di Bufala (buffalo), served alongside fresh, soft bread slices, honey and jam. The Pipers Pyramid and Camembert di Bufalo were creamy and rich. Similar to a Brie, these two were easy to spread on the bread and had a clean flavor, I would describe like butter. The Ewephoria can be described as a harder cheese and was extremely sweet. It was a perfect after work wind-down.
Esters, in my eye, has successfully nailed being the neighborhood spot to go and relax. Sit on the patio, inside or at the bar to enjoy yourself. Don’t have time to relax? The lounge includes a handful of specialty products to take home and enjoy, making holiday shopping a breeze this year. Shelves of wine line the back wall, as well as a section of chilled wine and beer. It’s the perfect date spot before heading to the ice rink that just opened up. Hint, hint!
If you love wine as much as I do, be sure to sign up for their newsletter. They offer once a month wine tasting and pairing. Esters is open Monday- Sunday at 11am. Hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?