Last month I went to a birthday party at Violet in Santa Monica. Chef Jared Simons is a friend of the birthday girl and offered a varied tasting menu including baked macaroni (Serrano ham, leeks, gruyere cheese),carrot soup with scallops, tuna tartare, creamy risotto and mini root beer floats (amongst other items). The wine flowed endlessly and the food was excellent.
I looked at the menu to see what else Jared offers (venison meatballs, Gimaud Farms duck breast) and for the affordable prices, Violet looks like a great restaurant. However, I haven't heard that much buzz from friends/foodies. My friend Melissa was unimpressed after her visit. A non-tasting menu dinner there is on the agenda.