UPDATE: This restaurant has permanently closed.
Matthew Kenney is a legend in the raw foods world as he is one of the innovators of living cuisine. As the founder of the Matthew Kenney Academy, a school that has produced some of the top raw foods chefs in the world, his latest venture, M.A.K.E. promises to be a success as well.
Amongst the shops and restaurants in the open-air Santa Monica Place mall, there lies the upscale raw foods cafe. M.A.K.E. is beautiful with its brown wood walls, exposed ductwork, and white lamps. I took a seat at a table against the wall. There appeared to be only a few servers working on this weekday afternoon and the cafe was fairly busy.
To start, you have your choice of juices, smoothies, and boosts. I was somewhat surprised to see honey and bee pollen in some of the drinks, but that seems to be the trend at these "bee-gan" restaurants. I will note that the cafe would be fully vegan if it weren't for those items. I wasn't in the mood for a smoothie so I started with the Spice-C. This spicy, citrusy juice was made with orange, pineapple, cilantro, and jalapeno. Yum!
I wasn't too hungry, but I wanted to try at least two things. My first course was the California Kale salad. It sounded like a simple kale salad, but turned out to be so much more. This lacinato kale salad had quite the twist as it was complemented by sweet valencia oranges, sun-dried olives, wild dulse seaweed and almonds and was topped with fresh sunflower sprouts. Oh, how I love sunflower sprouts! The dulse and olives really made this dish. And I absolutely adored the salty dressing. Pure perfection.
For my main course, I saw an item on the menu that brought back memories of the famous raw restaurant in New York -- Pure Food and Wine. So I ordered the Market Tomato Lasagna. To my surprise, it looked very much like the one served at Pure Food and Wine. A copy? Maybe so. Thinly sliced zucchini took the place of noodles with layers of nutty pesto, macadamia milk cheese, and tomatoes. But, unfortunately, the lasagna was a bit dry and not nearly as good as the one in New York. The unfortunate part of this is that had I not had the one in New York, I probably would have loved this dish, but it paled in comparison to Pure Food and Wine's. I think a finishing of basil oil would have made a world of difference in this dish. But, it was still pretty good.
That entree was incredibly filling so I didn't have room for a full dessert. I did, however, have room for one of their goji macaroons from the take-out section of this restaurant, which was delicious.
Afterwards, they showed me the school which turned out to just be a room filled with aspiring chefs next to the cafe. It was a fairly small space filled with state-of-the-art raw foods preparation tools.
In sum, I really enjoyed the food at M.A.K.E., but it was very pricey and the service was extremely slow. The lunch cost $35, which is pretty high for a weekday lunch for one. But, I will say that salad was delectable. I'll definitely be back in the future. And I also aspire to attend their school one day.
395 Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica, CA 90401