Restaurateur Michael McCarty of Michael’s Santa Monica fame has been a larger-than-life fixture on the local dining scene (Manhattan, too) since 1979. He is a legendary discoverer of youthful culinary talent. In the summer of 2016 Michael reinvented Michael’s Santa Monica once again with the arrival of a hot young chef, Miles Thompson.
When Chef & Restaurateur Michael McCarty opened the landmark Michael’s in Santa Monica back in 1979 I’m not sure he even suspected that he would become one of the pioneers of what is known as California cuisine along with Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck. He pioneered having museum quality art on the restaurant’s wall with not a hint of pretention. A Michael’s in New York came on the scene about a decade later serving breakfast, lunch & dinner to the media elite.
McCarty still can be seen at The Santa Monica Farmers Market on Wednesday mornings with his culinary team. When he’s home in Santa Monica he’s at the restaurant nightly still touching tables and welcoming guests.
We’ll chat with Michael about the diminishing influence of high-profile restaurant critics over the years as well as Chef Miles’ new Winter Happy Hour menu. (Think pork ribs with Calabrian chili red hot and a daily cocktail special for $1.79.) How valuable is restaurant criticism to an established restaurant?