The former Dhaba, owned by Manhar and Margaret Patel for an incredible fifty 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, formerly on EP and LP and Eveleigh running the show. The older Patels had an impressive run that served South Asian favorites like tandoori chicken tikka and lots of vegetable-oriented Indian food, but closed temporarily due to the pandemic. Now there is a fully updated and honestly impressive decor with mismatched furniture, charming floral wallpapers and antique grandma-style plates.
Mueller, who has Polynesian roots and comes from New Zealand and Australia, brings the Southeast Asian mentality he helped execute on EP and LP (which has since gone to a more American menu) and had done on Cobi’s Curries on West Third Street ( which has since closed). Cobi’s at Dhaba is a rebirth of the popular Southeast Asian restaurant that had gained traction before the pandemic, with a menu inspired by Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, as well as some nodding to the space’s past life as Dhaba.
Highlights include a dry-aged grilled branzino with yellow curry and mint, beef ribs with chili and tamarind dressing, jungle curry, butter chicken and gado gado. A raw bar features kanpachi with finger lime, green chili and coconut dressing, while bluefin tuna is sprinkled on citrus with shrimp chips. Snack on grilled shrimp with ginger and yellow bean sauce or green papaya salad before hitting larger dishes like the devil’s chicken curry, which has legit spice from ghost pepper vinegar. A grilled gai yang chicken will feel picked right out of a Thai street cart. There’s also a fun $ 55 person omakase that just lets the kitchen decide what you want to eat that night. And there’s a $ 50 wine pairing to follow. For dessert, there is a Thai tea pudding with boba pearls, vanilla salted caramel sundae and shaved ice cream to help finish the meal.
The wine situation sticks to the au courant’s natural and funky perspective, with a skin contact sauvingnon blanc from the Scholium Project called La Severita di Bruto. Pét nat rosé is a Languedoc from 2020 that mixes grenache and mourvèdre, while a Schaller Chablis should go well with the spiceful, sour street dishes. Most of the bottles range from $ 55 to $ 80, making this a solid place for natural wine fans. And anyone who takes wine to go gets 40 percent off the menu price, a handy thing for pick-up 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 – bright, green, modern shabby charm that suits this part of Main Street Santa Monica. Cobi’s is open Sunday through Wednesday, 5 to 10 pm and Thursday through Sunday until 11 pm Book tables here at Resy.