This Tasty Brunch Includes Hash Brown Eggs Benedict With Housemade English Muffins
Written By: Jody Miller
Photographed By: Joe Nardello M Street Kitchen
Comfort Food. These words alone summon sensations of everything we love about food. To some, it invokes warm recollections of family gathered in the kitchen preparing a holiday feast. To others, it’s a rich and creamy pastry relished in solitude. They are foods that transcend fads and the passing of time, even as we become more adventurous culinary connoisseurs. But as a city obsessed with staying fit, healthy and avoiding gluten like public enemy number one, comforting classics have been replaced by vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and sometimes even taste free. Not so at M Street Kitchen in Santa Monica, where bold flavors and uncompromising freshness harmoniously co-exist in a space that seamlessly blends coastal casual and urban chic.
The table setting reflects M Street’s core philosophy of refined simplicity, the bountiful portions of organically sourced food is the centerpiece. Accented by rustic burlap napkin holders and sprigs of tiny flowers, the brunch table was filled with M Street customer favorites: housemade cinnamon and almond granola, Huevos Rancheros topped with charred salsa mix and cumin rice, and classic eggs Benedict with their renowned homemade English muffin. Nothing says comfort like hash browns, so it comes as no surprise that their Hash Brown Eggs Benedict (poached egg sandwiched between two hash brown slices) is a long-standing favorite. Wash it all down with a sparkling Mimosa, Bellini or spicy Mezcal Mary.
Under the direction of Chef and Partner Jeff Mahin, M Street Kitchen has not only redefined the concept of comfort fare, he has helped create one of Santa Monica’s most enduringly popular dining destinations.
Q&A With Chef and Partner Jeff Mahin
Q: How has your science education influenced your culinary style and skill?
Jeff Mahin: I attribute a lot of my inquisitive nature to my upbringing. I grew up trying to understand how things worked, and more importantly, why they didn’t work. I love the process of creating. Thinking about a dish, going over it in my head, moving parts and flavors around and envisioning each step of the process.
Q: You’ve accomplished so much at a relatively young age, what motivated you to become such an entrepreneurial chef?
JM: Well, I got a bit of a head start. I started working in restaurants when I was 15 years old and have never really left. I became addicted to restaurants and to cooking. Every day was different and filled with chaos and creativity. I am truly proud of what we do, the food we serve and how we work as a team.
Q: Why has there been such a surge in the demand and popularity of “comfort food?”
JM: I think there has been a tilt shift in talent across America. When I grew up in the industry, my main focus was fine dining. Though, as I started to learn more and mature, I realized that it wasn’t the fancy styling of a dish or the price tag of a meal that made it amazing. It was the care you put into a dish that made it special. I think a lot of very talented chefs have left fine dining and started to use their talents on “comfort foods.” They have elevated the casual food world and guests have grown with them.
Q: Which foods give you comfort?
JM: My comfort food is hot and sour soup. When I was sick, my dad typically turned to phoning in a takeout order, which always included this amazing hot and sour soup. Ice cream comes in a close second.
Q: You have been involved with many types of projects, from donuts to haute cuisine, where does M Street Kitchen fit in?
JM: M Street Kitchen is a very special place for many reasons, but I think one that always stands out is the guest. I am still amazed how many regulars we have every day. I love being part of a community and really love Santa Monica. As for the food, I like that there is an option for everyone and that it is nice enough to bring a first date and casual enough to spend an afternoon eating and drinking with friends and family.
Q: You seem to love Santa Monica, any chance of additional locations or new ventures in other California cities?
JM: Santa Monica is very much my home, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. With that said, I have restaurants all over the country, so opening a new restaurant in California is very likely to happen.
Q: You are involved with some wonderful charity work. How is Chef Cycle combating hunger in America?
JM: I am truly lucky to be in a place in my life where I can give back. This cause is very important to me. Chef’s Cycle is a subsection of NKH and involves chefs from across the country riding 300 [miles] to raise money and awareness to help end childhood hunger.
Q: Will we be seeing more of you on Food Network or any other network?
JM: I really enjoy working with the Food Network. We are talking about a few new ideas, though nothing is set in stone. As for other networks, I always have a few irons in the fire.
Homemade Goodness: M Street’s sourdough English muffins are made in-house in small batches so they are incredibly fresh upon hitting your plate.
The Happiest Hour: Yes, M Street’s breakfast is a must, but you also must come back for their daily happy hours 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., which feature $2 tacos and $3 beers!
M Street Kitchen
2000 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Brunch Anyone? M Street Kitchen Has You Covered