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FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Is This Santa Monica or Cape Cod?

July 18, 1993|LAURIE OCHOA

From your window seat at the new beachside restaurant 1 Pico, part of the new hotel Shutters on the Beach, you can watch the sun set over the Pacific, the silvery silhouettes of a few stray Rollerbladers, spandex-wrapped joggers unmistakably Southern Californian. But look around the dining room, at the high rafters, at the tasteful Ralph Lauren-ish decor, at the massive stone fireplace, which even on this hot July night is gas-lit with a roaring fire (though the ashes and glowing embers are fake), even at the preppily dressed customers who seem to have been instinctively drawn to this place. More grand Cape Cod inn than Santa Monica hotel, 1 Pico can make you think for a moment that you've suddenly switched coasts.

The Chardonnay-heavy wine list is familiarly Californian, and so is the menu: a little salad (Caesar with a crisp Parmesan roll-up, seared ahi tuna with greens), a little pasta (wide ribbon noodles with snap peas and shredded bits of duck, linguine with spicy shrimp and tomatoes), a little fish (applewood-smoked salmon with barely creamed spinach, roasted sea bass with a black bean sauce), some chicken (both rotisserie-cooked and grilled) and, of course, some meat (grilled sirloin and grilled veal chop).

* 1 Pico at Shutters on the Beach, 1 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 458-0030. Entrees $11.50 - $26.

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