The Charleston Hires Chef de Cuisine, Launches New Menu

The Charleston
The Charleston

Jet Tila is refreshing his Santa Monica restaurant The Charleston, hiring a new chef and launching a different dinner menu from the one produced for its opening back in March. Elyse Lain is now serving as Tila’s chef de cuisine, collaborating with the former Wazuzu chef on a new menu that skews more towards comfort than the internationally-fused bar dishes found earlier, though they’re keeping the Korean tacos and Sriracha wings in place. Lain had her start at Disneyland Resort, and founded her own catering company, The Girl with a Pan after a stint in the Armed Forces, and more recently was on the opening team at Plan Check.

Broken into six sections like “Sharing is Caring,” “The Lighter Side,” and “From the Pizza Oven,” the menu’s promise is that no dish will go over $15, be it fries served with a chocolate mousse dipping sauce, a four cheese sandwich grilled with Wonder Bread, fried chicken with cornbread waffles, plantain sundaes, or something called a “cheese, cheese, and cheese” pizza. Wait, did Honey Boo Boo also have some input on this thing?

The four-strong grilled cheese sandwich also appears to has a street name, as it’s also known as “The Big Ass Grilled Cheese,” which not only marks the second idiocratic appearance of “ass” on a local menu, and the second thing Tila appears to be ganking from Roy Choi, considering the short ribs tacos.

In any case, lighter and slightly more sophisticated fare includes a pear and blue cheese frisee salad, a plate of African olives, and agave-marinated salmon. Check out The Charleston’s full new menu below.


Togarashi Edamame $7
togarashi, olive oil

“Frosty & Fries” $7
mint and salt fries, chocolate mousse dipping sauce

Spicy Corn Dogs $10
spicy beef sausage, honey corn dog batter, ketchup, mustard

Soft Pretzels $7
mustard & horseradish dipping sauce

Olive Plate $5
african olive mix, warm baguette

Pickle Plate $7
house made pickled green tomatoes & cucumbers

Sharing is Caring

Short Rib Tacos $12
braised short rib, brussel sprouts, korean salsa

Sweet and Spicy Wings $8
siracha & sweet chili sauce

The Grand Fromage $9
Aka Big Ass Grilled Cheese
muenster, american, monterey jack, wonder bread, cup of creamy tomato basil soup

Mac & Cheese $9
3 cheese Sauce, elbow macaroni, bread crumbs

Sweet Potato Fries $7
rosemary bleu cheese dipping sauce

Straight Cut Fries $6
salt & parsley

From the Pizza Oven

Pepperoni & Basil $12
mozzarella & marinara

Sausage & Fennel $13
crumbled sausage, shaved fennel, arugula

Margharita $11
tomato, marinara, mozzarella, basil

Cheese & Cheese & Cheese $12
mozzarella, sharp cheddar, cheddar, marinara

The Main Event

The Charleston Burger $13
cheddar, grilled onion, butter lettuce, fresh tomato aioli, salt & cracked pepper bun, fries

Pulled Pork Sandwich $13
Carolina bbq sauce, cole slaw, housemade pickle slice, fries

Chicken & Waffles $14
butter milk brined fried chicken, spicy braised kale, cornbread waffle, honey nutmeg butter, maple syrup

“It’s What’s for Dinner” $15
flat iron steak, pesto, straight cut fries

Lighter Side

Classic Caesar Salad $11
romaine, brioche croutons, parmesan

Pear & Bleu Cheese Frisée $12
honey glazed walnuts, champagne vinaigrette, balsamic reduction

House Salad $11
bacon, egg, capers, mozzarella, tomato, cucumber, chickpeas, ranch and champagne vinaigrette
add chicken to any salad $+3
add salmon to any salad $+4

Grilled Chicken $15
seasonal vegetable, couscous salad, balsamic reduction

Agave Marinated Salmon $14
agave marinated salmon, cold champagne & citrus couscous salad

Plantain Sundae $7

crispy plantain, vanilla ice cream and candied nuts
Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding $7

brioche, chocolate chip and crème anglaise
Vanilla Ice Cream $3
Download Menu as PDF

The Charleston Hires Chef de Cuisine, Launches New Menu