Margot’s location—high on the rooftop of Culver City’s Platform complex—may be the restaurant’s main draw, but it’s pleasing to see that one can get a pretty decent meal here, too.
Chef Michael Williams’s menu doesn’t exactly reach for the stars in terms of ambition, but with a few exceptions, it’s suitably targeted at its trendy clientele and mostly succeeds in providing well-executed and well-sourced dishes to sizeable crowds.
Of our two visits, brunch proved to be the most enjoyable; I can’t think of many better spots in town for spending a few pleasant hours day-drinking with friends. But the food is good, too. A crudo of kampachi with pickled mustard seed, horseradish and dill ($19) was balanced with enough accompaniments to complement, rather than overpower, the fattiness of the fish. The wild arugula salad with hazelnut vinaigrette, baby beets, citrus and manchego ($16) was a highlight, with the pepperiness of the arugula working well with the texture of the hazelnuts and the saltiness of the Spanish sheep’s cheese.
The larger brunch courses more or less center around the classics, but show a care and attention that often gets missed in this underrated meal: Fried chicken with Calabrian honey ($24) had a perfect coating and demanded to be dipped into the small dish of heat-and-sweet honey. Porchetta Benedict ($17) was a fun play on a traditional dish, but I wish the pork had retained a bit of cracklin’ to give texture to what was otherwise an all-soft dish. The American-wagyu steak and eggs ($32) was notable not only for the on-point cooking of the steak or the two glistening yolks of perfectly prepared eggs, but also for an addictive side of crisp roasted fingerling potatoes good enough to send anyone’s Keto diet to hell in a handbasket. They also serve these separately as patatas bravas ($13), where they’d be perfect with a cocktail.
In the evening the menu gets a little more serious, with the addition of a range of pastas and more ambitious entrées and appetizers, many of which leaned toward Spanish cuisine. Stuffed piquillo peppers ($10) came filled with Idiazabal cheese, transportive of being in a Madrileño bar. A smoked eggplant and salty feta cheese dish made for a great combination in the eggplant caponata toast ($14), and the grilled blue prawns with chili marinade, herbs and lime ($28) had been cooked till the flesh retained a snap when bitten, while the sauce provided some very enjoyable shrimp-head sucking action.
Oddly, Margot offered only one meat-based main, an American-wagyu dish at a hefty $60. So instead, we chose the Einkorn-wheat pappardelle in bolognese ($30). This proved a mistake—the dish turned out to be the weakest on either of our visits: The pasta had been significantly overcooked, and the sauce noticeably over salted. Unfortunately, things didn’t return to form for our dessert, and a chocolate torte ($12) proved to be both flourless and flavorless, so we abandoned it after a couple of unenthusiastic bites.
I was disappointed that our last dishes flopped, because to that point, Margot had offered dependable—if hardly groundbreaking—food served in a great space by an enthusiastic and charming staff.
I’m prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt, and if you visit during brunch on any given weekend and see a bald man with big ears who looks like he’s had too many gin and tonics, that’ll probably be me. I apologize in advance.
WHERE TO SIT
The patio is the place to be at Margot, particularly if you visit for a weekend brunch. If you do sit inside, my choice would be to drink and dine at the bar rather than the tables—however there is so much natural light in the restaurant that there are very few bleak spaces.
WHAT TO EAT
Our extended group enjoyed pretty much everything from the brunch menu. Salads were well put together, particularly the wild arugula salad. Even an order of sometimes-yawn-inducing avocado toast was one of the better ones I’ve tasted. Other dishes to get particular mention above the hubbub of conversation were the fried chicken, the porchetta Benedict and the American Wagyu steak and eggs. During the evening meal, both the eggplant caponata and the grilled blue prawns were a win.
WHAT TO DRINK
Drinks are a serious business at Margot. The terrific wine list is worthy of examination and includes an impressive selection of grower champagnes as well as a bottle list that’s dominated by wines from France and Italy but complemented by a small selection of Spanish, Portuguese and domestic wines. Cocktails from Marcos Pulido are noticeably well prepared: Everything we sampled got a definite thumbs up; the list of gin and tonics alone ($13) could get me in serious trouble.