Since I moved to West Hollywood I seldom venture back to Santa Monica, or to the rest of the (dreaded) Westside as it is known east of Beverly Glen. However after dining at Brilliantshine Restaurant I may have to start making more trips west. Julian Cox and Josh Goldman of the Soigne Group are the mixology masters and restaurant manager gurus who are responsible for Brilliantshine. Known for their innovating bars Circa in Manhattan Beach, Belcampo in Santa Monica, and Acabar in Hollywood, both Cox and Goldman are well known and highly acclaimed in the So-Cal beverage scene.
Both Cox and Goldman have crafted Brilliantshine‘s bar and specialty cocktail menu to boast intricate tastes of bourbon, scotch, and whiskey by small batch distilleries to their drinkers and diners with complex and aromatic cocktails that will have many wanting more than they should drink. Cox is not new to the mixology movement having designed bar menus for restaurants such as Bestia, Test Kitchen, and Petty Cash, he has been nominated several times for the James Beard Award; and to say the least he is exceptional at making great cocktails. Cox has utilized concepts and designs from his experience & travels to create the ultimate “coastal modern saloon” in Santa Monica. If that weren’t enough experience, partner, Josh Goldman has managed some of Los Angeles’s biggest restaurants of the last decade such as Bastide, Ink, and Church & State. In addition, Goldman is an expert sommelier, consistently sought after to judge wine competitions around the country, and currently is a part of the advisory board of the Museum of the American Cocktail. Last but not least, their kitchen is run by Richie Lopez, former executive chef of Paiche. The Peruvian chef found his love for cooking when he was young while preparing meals for his family. It was when he arrived in Los Angeles 10 years ago when he truly became a master of his craft, assisting with the creation of menus for great restaurants such as Sotto, Mo-Chica, Test Kitchen, and Picca. Brilliantshine will be Chef Lopez’s first opportunity to create his own menu to support mixologist Julian Cox’s bar program at Soigné Group’s flagship establishment.
BrilliantShine resides in the old Renee’s Courtyard, a laid back neighborhood bar that I remembered visiting a few nights when I I lived on the westside. Located on Wilshire Blvd, behind Tinga Restaurant, Brilliantshine is accessible from the street by a walk through a small corridor, on the other side of which you are greeted by a friendly host, two old west saloon doors makeup the entryway, and a blazing “BrilliantShine” sign welcomes you as you enter. The old courtyard has been broken up into sections, and decorated with a rustic reclaimed craftsman design – the dining room presents itself first, with a second interior dining room, and a hidden bar area where most of the action is at the back. Throughout the bar creates a very welcoming and warmhearted atmosphere to enjoy their fantastic cocktails.
My experience at Brilliantshine was perfect. I attended on a Friday with a group of girlfriends. As I arrived- I was politely greeted, and asked to wait for the rest of my party while waiting at the bar. This was perfect, because it gave me a chance to look over the cocktail menu and figure out exactly what my first drink would be. I decided on the “Country Life No. 2” but more on that later. The vibe at the bar area was lively- I noticed that Cox and his team were mobbed by Brilliantshine bar-goers. Drinks were being served, and each drinker seemed to be in heaven after their first sip. As my party arrived we were seated in the open air dining area. The lighting throughout assisted our mood, as it exuded a very sincere feeling. As we ordered our first round of cocktails- there were giggles at the titles of some concoctions, and enthusiasm for the components that make up the libations. So back to the “Country Life No. 2” which consisted of Bourbon, Jamaican rum, sweet vermouth, and angostura,. I would almost describe this cocktail as refreshing, it was strong and complex without tasting too boozy. Now to the food menu- talk about Sophie’s Choice, it all sounded incredible, in the end we ordered 9 dishes out of the 17 that were offered on the menu and no one was disappointed by any of them. Its clear that the food menu was just as meticulously crafted as the bar menu and they are both designed to compliment each other well. Not only was every dish close to perfection, packed with flavor, and seasonally selected, but the portions are good and the prices are reasonable for a new upmarket bar/restaurant. In the end, we stayed at Brilliantshine drinking eating, and laughing until midnight, and how could we not- the food was flawless, the drinks were delicious, and they were playing the best music!
BrilliantShine it is more than a must- plan your Friday night on the Westside there now.
522 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica,
Here is what we ate:
- Crudo striped bass, white soy sauce, peaches
- Lola Rosa Lettuce goat cheese fritters, peaches, beets
- Bok Choy soy sauce, tomato, cauliflower, red onion
- Moules Frites black mussels, house-made chorizo, French fries, pork jus
- Shrimp Fried Rice, duck egg, sambai-uni aioli
- Maharrones Niman Ranch pork belly, cherry tomatoes, chimichurri, egg
- Squid Ink Tagliatelle clams, rocoto butter, lamb sausage, bottarga
- Short Rib Sandwich cheese sauce, focaccia, salsa criolla
- Shrimp Ceviche citrus sauce, cancha, chips
Crudo striped bass, white soy sauce, peaches
Bok Choy soy sauce, tomato, cauliflower, red onion
Moules Frites black mussels, house-made chorizo, French fries, pork jus
Shrimp Fried Rice, duck egg, sambai-uni aioli
Maharrones Niman Ranch pork belly, cherry tomatoes, chimichurri, egg
Squid Ink Tagliatelle clams, rocoto butter, lamb sausage, bottarga