Old Dhaba, owned by Manhar and Margaret Patel for an incredible 50 years, reopened as an updated Southeast Asian street food restaurant on October 7 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 directing the show. Older Patels had an impressive run serving South Asian favorites like tandoori chicken tikka and lots of veggie-oriented Indian food, but they were temporarily closed due to the pandemic. Now there’s a completely updated decor with mismatched furnishings, lovely floral wallpaper, and grandma-style antique dishes.
Mueller, who has Polynesian roots and hails from New Zealand and Australia, brings the Southeast Asian mindset that he helped run on EP and LP (which has since switched to a more American menu) and had been making at Cobi’s Curries in West Third Street (which has since closed). Cobi’s at Dhaba is a revival of the popular Southeast Asian restaurant, which had gained some traction before the pandemic, with a menu inspired by Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam, as well as some nods to the former life of space as Dhaba.
Highlights include a dry-aged grilled branzino with yellow and mint curry, prime rib with chili and tamarind dressing, jungle curry, butter chicken, and gado gado. A raw bar features kanpachi with lime, green chili, and coconut dressing, while the bluefin tuna sprinkles citrus with crispy shrimp. Eat grilled prawns with a ginger-yellow bean sauce or green papaya salad before trying larger dishes like chicken curry to the devil, which has legitimate spices from the ghost pepper vinegar. A grilled gai yang chicken will feel like it’s been pulled from a Thai street cart. There’s also a fun omakase for $ 55 per person that lets the kitchen decide what you’ll eat that night. And there’s a $ 50 wine pairing to go with that. For dessert, there’s a boba pearl Thai tea pudding, a salted caramel ice cream with vanilla, and shaved ice to help finish the meal.
The wine situation adheres to the natural and funky au courant perspective, with a skin-contact sauvignon blanc 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 pair very well with acidic and spicy street food dishes. Most bottles cost between $ 55 and $ 80, making this a solid spot for fans of natural wine. And anyone who brings wine to go will get a 40 percent discount off the menu price, which is very useful for take-out orders.
The indoor-outdoor space has 78 seats with a lush covered patio that will feel like someone’s backyard. Inside it’s more of the same – a modern, green, bright, shabby charm that suits this part of Main Street Santa Monica. Cobi’s is open Sunday through Wednesday, 5-10 p.m. M. And from Thursday to Sunday until 11 p.m. M. Reserve tables here at Resy.