Yet beneath that ease lurked a culinary understanding that remains considerable. Ask about any wine, and it will be described in immense detail. Ask about any dish, and you can taste the words. And those dishes were - and are - built around what's fresh at the nearby Santa Monica farmers market, with produce from Maryann, Zuckerman, Weiser and Valdivia farms.
There's a new spring menu at Michael's, prepared by chef John-Carlos Kuramoto (a 30 Under 30 honoree). And perhaps the most memorable dish is the wild Alaskan halibut ($40) - a buttery preparation that reminds us why we love halibut so much, served with carrot purée, roasted tomatoes, pea tendrils, haricots verts and a lemon-caper vinaigrette. Call it New French, New American, Californian, whatever. It's Michael's cuisine (310-451-0943).