Tar & Roses' Wood-Burning Oven Dishes | Santa Monica, Los Angeles

Andrew Kirschner plays with fire at Tar & Roses

You'd expect roasted steak and chicken at a restaurant built around a wood-burning oven.

But roasted English peas? And seared salad?

There are few items on chef Andrew Kirschner's menu at the newly opened Tar & Roses that aren't licked by the fire's flames. Potatoes are wood-roasted and duck eggs wood-fried.

The image of so many cords of oak smoldering away in the kitchen might bring to mind the smoky flavors of barbecue or the oak-fire perfume of Santa Maria. But the cooking at Tar & Roses is more akin to that of the yakitori, where wood is preferred for its white-hot heat, the kind that sears and chars while imparting a whisper of smoke.

Those peas ($7) are served in their pods, looking like a bowl of sunburnt edamame. The quick blast of heat leaves the peas tender and sweet, and when sucked from the pod, you taste the salt, olive oil and mint with which they're dressed.

The duck breast (pictured; $24), served over wilted pea tendrils, was one of our favorite wood-roasted options, but dishes prepared over a gas flame, like lamb belly ($9) with minted apple chutney (click here to see the chutney recipe), shouldn't be ignored.

Tar & Roses, 602 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica; 310-587-0700 or tarandroses.com