First Look: Veteran Restaurant Duo Reimagines the Steakhouse in Santa Monica

Enjoy dry-aged cuts at FIA Steak from restaurateur Michael Greco and chef Brendan Collins.

Photo by Wonho Frank Lee, courtesy of FIA Steak

An intimate new dining destination arrives in Santa Monica this week courtesy of FIA Steak, which acts as a companion restaurant to acclaimed restaurateur Michael Greco and chef Brendan Collins’ collaborative FIA Restaurant just next door. The nostalgic, dimly-lit leather interiors of FIA Steak are reminiscent of a classic New York-style steakhouse, with Italian-inspired, dry-aged meats serving as its centerpiece. Catering to diners who seek more formal dining options on the Westside, the restaurant differentiates itself from other steakhouse models with a choose-your-own-adventure-style dining experience that brings them face-to-face with the celebrated chef.

bar area
Photo by Wonho Frank Lee, courtesy of FIA Steak

The intimate, 48-seat restaurant was designed by Adam Picker of Morpheus Design, who aimed to craft a space that marries the luxury and intimacy of a private party with the comfort of one’s own home. The result is an atmosphere that borrows influence from contemporary rustic and retro styles, where no detail is overlooked. The exposed brick walls and rustic hardwood floors usher guests into a comfortable, semi-private dining room that’s embellished with framed paintings, picturesque church-stained glass, and draping red velvet curtains. Stark white tablecloths drape over round tables in the booth-style seating area by the bar counter and rectangular ones in the main dining room, and are backed by plush, maroon leather seats. The cozy outdoor patio area instead is perfect for celebrating special occasions, with just ten seats available in the plant-strewn garden.

“We’ve created the essence of an elegant house party,” said Greco, when describing the space. In his vision, the open kitchen—featuring brick, wood-fired grills, a retro wooden butcher counter, and hanging copper pots and pans—acts as the heart of the restaurant and invites guests to have a personal chat with chef Collins as they carefully select from cuts of meat like a prime filet or an Iberico pork shoulder. Meanwhile, Greco envisions the dining room as a more intimate space that gives room for conversation and entertainment, just like a dinner party designed to thrill every guest. “When comparing FIA to FIA Steak, FIA Steak is a more elevated experience,” notes Greco. “It’s bursting with elegance, yet it’s not stuffy.”

Photo by Wonho Frank Lee, courtesy of FIA Steak

Borrowing influence from Italian- and American-style steakhouses, the menu offers a vast selection of prime cuts and styles of meat, ranging from A5 Wagyu tenderloin to 45-day dry-aged bone-in bistecca con l’osso (t-bone steak), and 60-day dry-aged boneless costata di manzo (ribeye). However, there's more to the menu than steak, including fresh pasta dishes like house-made cavatelli with Italian black truffles, and the option to choose the "This and That" combo with a half lobster, a half-pound of King Crab, oysters, and shrimp cocktail.

Photo by Wonho Frank Lee, courtesy of FIA Steak

With a creative mix of raw fish and meat, starters range from a delicate hamachi crudo with ponzu and ginger to a bolder filet of beef tartare with pickle, black truffle, and charred sourdough. For a more exclusive experience, a selection of fresh caviar is available with champagne pairings, from Charles Hideseck to Krug.

The bar program was created to seamlessly follow every course of the meal. While bubbles are the perfect companion to starters, bolder Port reds bridge with the earthier flavors of meat and truffles. To end the meal on a bittersweet note—only in flavor, that is—a list of Italian digestifs and amari are also available, ranging from the very well-known Montenegro to the more niche Nonino.

FIA Steak opens on October 21, 2021 nextdoor to FIA, on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica.
The restaurant is open from 6–10 pm from Wednesday to Sunday.
Reservations are available via their website.

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Serena Tara will have the costata di manzo extra rare, please. Follow her @serenatara.