04 Dec Brilliantshine Santa Monica
As cocktail bars continue to open across Los Angeles at an alarming speed, it seems that the majority are centered around Downtown and Hollywood. But, luckily Santa Monica has Brilliantshine. Located on 5th and Wilshire Blvd, just a few blocks away from the 3rd Street Promenade but far enough away to appeal to locals, Brilliantshine took over the old Renee’s Courtyard. A converted house with several rooms, Brilliantshine has a casual neighborhood feel. After all, it’s in Santa Monica.
Julian Cox and Josh Goldman are the stars behind Brilliantshine. They have made their mark on a number of places around Los Angeles – Bestia, Acabar, Picca, Sotto, Petty Cash, to name a few. Now Julian and Josh, the Soigne team, bring more craft cocktails to the Westside.
I started with an Autumn Sour No. 2 (Laird’s Apple Brandy, Massenez Peche, lime, cinnamon, egg white) as I love anything with Apple Brandy. The sweet spices with the peach aromas as the frothy finish make this drink live up to its name. My friend ordered the 5th and Adams (Mezcal, ginger, pineapple, lemon, peychaud’s). The smokiness of the mezcal was really well-balanced with the bright citrus flavors and spicy ginger.
Once our drinks were served, it was time to order food. Before coming to Brilliantshine, I had thought it was just a cocktail bar. But, it is actually a full restaurant (and the bar is just a small area). Chef Richie Lopez, the former executive chef of Paiche, runs the kitchen and has created a comfort-food menu with Peruvian and Asian touches.
Agnolotti with kabucha squash, shimeji mushrooms, chocio, pumpkin, roasted pistachios. While the kabucha squash and pumpkin are on the sweeter side, the mushrooms and pistachios added an earthiness to the perfectly tender agnolotti.
Lola Rosa lettuce with goat cheese fritters, pear and beets – a simple salad but full of flavor.
Moules Frites – black mussels, house made chorizo, pork jus, french fries – the perfect upscale bar food.
For the next round of drinks, I went with a Jack Rose (Laird’s Apple Brandy, grenadine, lime) and stayed within my apple brandy theme. My friend ordered the classic tiki cocktail Jungle Bird (Cruzan black strap rum, Campari, pineapple juice, lemon juice, simple syrup).
For the last drink of the night, we ordered a Bartender’s Choice. Lucky for us, Julian Cox was behind the bar that night and made a Them Apples (Bourbon, Apple Jack and cinnamon), which was like drinking a Fall day…warm, spicy with notes of crisp apple.
We had to finish out the night with dessert and went with the S’more (house made graham crackers, chocolate, marshmallow). And, it comes out smoking so that the chocolate and marshmallows are still melting and there is the faint smell of sitting in front of a campfire.
I look forward to many more visits to Brilliantshine as this is a place that will not lose its shine for a long time to come.
522 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401