The beautiful Southeast Asian restaurant Cobi’s Surprise opens in Santa Monica

The former Dhaba, owned by Manhar and Margaret Patel for an incredible 50 years, reopened on October 7th as a modernized Southeast Asian street food restaurant along Main Street Santa Monica called Cobi’s. Cobi Marsh from Cobi’s Curries and Lance Mueller, previously on EP and LP, and Eveleigh are running the show. The senior patels had a formidable run serving South Asian favorites like tandoori chicken tikka and plenty of vegetable-centric Indian dishes, but temporarily closed due to the pandemic. Now there’s a completely updated decor with mismatched furniture, charming floral wallpaper, and antique grandma-style plates.

Mueller, who has Polynesian roots and is from New Zealand and Australia, brings the Southeast Asian mentality with him, which he has with EP and LP (which has since evolved into a more American menu) and Cobi’s Curries on West Third Street (which is now closed). Cobi’s at Dhaba is a rebirth of the popular Southeast Asian restaurant that had gained traction before the pandemic, with a menu inspired by Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam, plus some nods to the area’s previous life as Dhaba.

The highlights include a dry-aged grilled branzino with yellow curry and mint, beef ribs with chili and tamarind dressing, jungle curry, butter chicken and gado gado. A raw bar offers Kanpachi with finger lime, green chilli, and coconut dressing, while bluefin tuna sprinkles on citrus with shrimp chips. Snack on grilled prawns with ginger and yellow bean sauce or green papaya salad before trying larger dishes like devil chicken curry, which is flavored with ghost pepper vinegar. A grilled gai yang chicken feels right out of a Thai street cart. There’s also a fun $ 55 granny case where the kitchen lets the kitchen decide what to eat that night. And there’s a $ 50 wine pairing to go with it. For dessert there is a Thai tea pudding with Boba pearls, a vanilla, salt and caramel sundae and shaved ice to round off the meal.

The wine situation adheres to the au courant natural and funky perspective, with a Sauvignon Blanc with skin contact from Scholium Project called La Severita di Bruto. Pét nat rosé is a 2020 Languedoc that combines Grenache and Mourvèdre, while a Schaller Chablis should go well with the spicy, acidic street food dishes. Most bottles cost between $ 55 and $ 80, which makes this a solid place for natural wine fans. And those who take wine to take away receive a 40 percent discount on the menu price, which is practical for orders to take away.

The indoor and outdoor seating has 78 seats with a lush, covered terrace that feels like a backyard. Inside, it’s more like the same – light, green, modern, shabby charm that parallels this part of Main Street Santa Monica. Cobi’s is open Sunday to Wednesday from 5pm to 10pm and Thursday to Sunday until 11pm. Book tables here on Resy.

Raw Kanpachi at Cobi’s.Katrina Frederick Studios

Butter chicken at Cobi.

Butter Chicken at Cobi’s.Katrina Frederick Studios

Pork and shiitake mushrooms with a chilli crunch at Cobi's.

Pork and shiitake mushrooms with chilli crunch at Cobi’s.Katrina Frederick Studios

Grilled fish with fresh herbs on a colorful shabby chic plate.

Dry-Aged Branzino at Cobi’s, Katrina Frederick Studios

Dining room at Cobi's in Santa Monica with mismatched wooden chairs, brightly colored pink floral wallpaper, and hanging plants.

Dining room at Cobi’s in Santa Monica.Katrina Frederick Studios

Outside deck with hanging lamps, lush greenery in the background and garden style tables.

Outside deck at Cobi’s.Katrina Frederick Studios

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