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April 2008 Archive

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LOS ANGELES RESTAURANT NEWS - APRIL 2008 Archive


OPENINGS

XIV Chef Michael Mina and SBE Group (FoxtailKatsuya and others) have opened XIV. Located in the former Privilege space on Sunset Blvd., the restaurant introduces the concept of "social dining"---guests sample Mina's modern American cuisine in the form of individually portioned dishes, essentially creating their own tasting menu. The décor, designed by Philippe Starck, takes its inspiration from a 17th-century chateau and features traditional European accents contrasted with more modern elements. XIV, 8117 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046, 323-655-8000.
 
Former Patina Group chef Miki Zivkovic, whose intimate Bistro Provence dramatically upgraded the Burbank dining scene, has opened Third & Olive in Burbank in the former Lasher's space. Despite a much larger and more elegant setting than Bistro Provence, entrée prices are below $20. The menu reflects influences from France and the Mediterranean, with starters like fennel-crusted ahi tuna with tapenade and Niçoise salad; crispy thyme gnocchi with blistered tomatoes, spinach and sweet pea coulis; and roasted beet tartare with herbed goat cheese, followed by coq au vin cannelloni; beef Bourguignon; bouillabaisse; and roasted chicken with balsamic onions and fries. Lunch is served Mon.-Fri., Dinner Mon.-Sat. Third & Olive, 250 E. Olive Ave., Burbank, CA 91502, 818-846-3900.
 
Second Story On March 7, the Belamar Hotel debuted Second Story, an all-day restaurant showcasing chef Vania Almeida's contemporary American cuisine. Think lobster spring rolls with mango purée, wasabi cream and spicy rémoulade; horseradish-crusted Alaskan halibut with mushroom risotto, roasted beets and four-citrus sauce; and, for dessert, warm bread pudding with bourbon caramel sauce and pistachio ice cream. Open daily from 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Second Story, 3501 Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach, CA 90266, 310-750-0300.
 
After catering commercial and music video shoots for the past four years, where she was dubbed "The Panini Lady," Ambra Ditonno and husband Mickey debuted I Panini di Ambra in the former home of Spitak Bakery. The Italy native specializes in pressed sandwiches and pizza al taglio ("by the cut"). Panini, made with house-baked bread, are filled with options like Parma ham and fresh mozzarella, smoked salmon and goat cheese and sopressata with smoked provolone and rucola. Rectangular pizza comes topped with ingredients like tomato sauce, oregano and olives; or Italian sausage and peppers. Open Tues.-Sun. from 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. I Panini di Ambra, 5633 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028, 323-463-1200.
 
Since founding the eleven-link Louise's Trattoria chain, Bill Chait has gone on to become managing partner of Spark Woodfire Grill. Now, Chait and Chef John Rivera Sedlar have partnered on Rivera, a modern Latin restaurant expected to open at the base of downtown's Met Lofts in September. Sedlar will prepare small plates with "more variety" and "bigger flavors." Expect a Latin sashimi bar, gourmet tamales, Prime steaks and grilled fish, all of which can be paired with flights of wine, mescal or tequila. Eddie Sotto, former Senior Vice President of Concept Design at Walt Disney Imagineering and designer of Encounter Restaurant & Bar, will create the no doubt dramatic look of the space.
 
Debbie Kim opened David's Chili House in the eastern San Gabriel Valley city of Azusa in December, naming the restaurant for her brother. In addition to chili, the restaurant offers fish and chips, shrimp and chips and teriyaki chicken. Open Mon.-Sat. from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. David's Chili House, 319 S. Azusa Ave., Azusa, CA 91702, 626-969-7888.
 
"Commander-in-Leaf" Jonathan Rollo hopes to open Greenleaf on May 1, allowing Beverly Hills customers to build their own salads, selecting greens, toppings, dressings and proteins, which are then chopped and served in a wrap or bowl. Composed options include the Calnese Chicken, featuring citrus chicken, candied ginger, mandarin oranges, rice noodles and Asian sesame ginger vinaigrette; Buffalo "Wangs," featuring crisp romaine, chicken strips tossed in spicy chipotle-orange barbeue sauce, crumbled blue cheese, applewood smoked bacon, carrots, celery and ranch dressing; and "The Obvious," including mixed greens, julienne beets, hearts of palm, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and garbanzo beans. Open Mon.-Sat. from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Greenleaf, 9671 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210, 310-246-0756.
 
Former BottleRock principal Adam Fleischman has teamed with Gil Ran and Alex Shteyman of Synergy Café on Vinotèque, a wine bar offering live music in the former Synergy space. Fleischman and fellow sommelier Larry Lanzetta will open any bottle of wine in the house, as long as people order two glasses. Chef Jerry Opong is preparing a menu of Mediterranean small plates, including grilled lamb kefta with homemade pita, grilled spring onions with romesco sauce and Spanish garrotxa cheese. There's just a single dessert–Parmigiano gelato with raisin walnut toast, fruits, nuts and aged balsamic. Make your own cheese plate from a list of 20 artisanal offerings. Ana Henton of Mass Architecture & Design, whose previous design credits include the Century City location of Breadbar and the Silverlake Wine expansion, has integrated a cork ceiling perforated with wine bottle lights. Live nightly music completes the sensory experience. Dinner nightly. Vinotèque, 4437 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230, 310-482-3490.
 
Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood After filming his "Hell's Kitchen" show for many years in the City of Angels, Gordon Ramsay has finally decided to open his own restaurant, Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood, just off Sunset at The London West Hollywood, formerly the Bel Age hotel. In contrast to his eponymous show, the result is rather heavenly---especially in dishes like the honey-and-soy-roasted quail with sautéed foie gras, saffron and pear chutney. Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood, The London West Hollywood, 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069, 310-854-1111.
 
Originally established in 1946, Gus’s Barbecue in South Pasadena has reopened with a new look and revamped menu offering new interpretations of barbecue classics. Brothers Chris and John Bicos remodeled the space to give it a hip, retro feel complete with dark wood floors, tin ceilings, a new bar and a mural depicting blues great Robert Johnson. Signature menu items include Guinness Beer Braised Texas Brisket, St. Louis Spare Ribs and Memphis Style Baby Back Ribs, accompanied by sides like sweet potato fries, pecan rice, and sautéed Southern greens. Gourmet burgers, sandwiches, salads and soups (including a New England Ale Chowder made with Fat Tire Ale, available only on Fridays) round out the menu. Gus’s Barbecue, 808 Fair Oaks Ave., South Pasadena, CA 91030, 626-799-3251.
 
Eve Fouche, whose mother owned Mo' Better Meatty Meat Burgers until 1998, has partnered with Jack Davis, a daytime television writer and former partner in Tempest Supper Club, on Indulge Café. The duo specializes in beef, turkey and veggie burgers, all available with french fries. Lunch & Dinner daily. Indulge Café, 5101 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90019, 323-935-4333.
 
Claudio Blotta, previously a co-owner of La Terza and the general manager/wine director at Campanile, plans to open Barbrix this summer in Silver Lake, partnering with wife Adria. According to Blotta, the wine bar is named for brix, "the scale that wine makers use to measure sugar content in the grape. This helps them know when to pick." Since Blotta has built relationships with smaller wine producers, he expects to offer seldom seen vineyards and varietals. To eat, expect seasonal small bites, artisanal cheeses and sliced cured meats.
 
A second location of the popular burgers and brews spot Father's Office is set to open by the end of April. Time will tell if this Culver City branch, located in the Helms Bakery building, will divert the heavy traffic from the original Santa Monica site. Father's Office, 8800 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90034, no phone available yet.
 

NEWS BYTES

Neal Fraser of Grace Grace Celebrates Anniversary with $55 Tasting Menu
Grace is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a five-course tasting menu featuring co-owner/executive chef Neal Fraser's favorite dishes. The menu offers Dungeness crab salad with English peas, mint and Meyer lemon vinaigrette; sautéed skate with roasted cauliflower and raisin caper emulsion; bacon wrapped saddle of rabbit with polenta, pea tendrils, and game stock reduction; and grilled leg of lamb with vegetable tian and mustard sauce. For dessert, sample "A Study in Doughnuts"---strawberry filled, "The Elvis," and butterscotch filled. The cost is $55, with wine pairings an additional $35---the same price as the tasting menu Grace offered when it first opened. The menu will be available throughout 2008. Grace, 7360 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036, 323-934-4400.
 
Brunch at Rustic Canyon
Rustic Canyon Wine Bar & Seasonal Cuisine is now offering a casual brunch Saturday mornings from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Pastry chef Zoe Nathan bakes an ever-changing assortment of breakfast pastries like maple bacon scones, pistachio tea cake, and sour cream coffee cake. Savory options may include a grilled cheese sandwich with fontina, ramps and bacon. Diners order at the counter and take their brunch bounty, and maybe a Mimosa or two, back to the table. Rustic Canyon Wine Bar & Seasonal Cuisine, 1119 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401, 310-393-7050.
 
Spring Special at Marty D's
Through Memorial Day, Marty D's is offering the "2008 Springing Into Spring Special," giving away a complimentary side of Coney Island fries with every Marty D's Deluxe All-Beef Dog or Sandy D's Deluxe Chicken Sausage. Fry foes can opt for a different side dish for no extra charge. Marty D's, 230 S. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212, 310-273-7771.
 

CHEF SHUFFLE

Chef Evan Funke is taking over the executive chef duties at Rustic Canyon Wine Bar & Seasonal Cuisine. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, Funke worked as a line cook and then sous chef under Spago Beverly Hills' Lee Hefter, later serving as chef de cuisine at the Avalon Hotel. Funke will continue Rustic Canyon's focus on seasonal ingredients while also incorporating some homemade pastas into the menu. These new dishes may include baby zucchini and ricotta agnolotti with marjoram and Parmesan Reggiano, and black olive pappardelle with braised rabbit ragu. Rustic Canyon Wine Bar & Seasonal Cuisine, 1119 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401, 310-393-7050.
 
Samir Mohajer, the executive chef at Rustic Canyon Wine Bar & Seasonal Cuisine, is leaving at the end of April. He will be teaming up with Paul Shoemaker, former chef de cuisine at Providence, to open a restaurant with a concept that's yet to be determined.
 
Gonpachi in Beverly Hills Building on experience that includes stints at Café del Rey, West Channel Bar and Grill and Bistango in Irvine, Katsuo "Naga" Nagasawa has been named executive chef of Gonpachi in Beverly Hills, an 11,000-square-foot Japanese restaurant on La Cienega's Restaurant Row. His revamped menu includes charcoal-grilled Prime beef filet with wasabi mashed potatoes and port wine-yuzu pepper sauce; broiled black cod marinated in saikyo miso and a Kobe-style beef shabu-shabu served with yuzu, ponzu and goma dipping sauces. Naga's kitchen staff includes executive sushi chef Masa Yamamoto, previously with Gonpachi in Tokyo, and soba master Yasu Kusano. Gonpachi, 134 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211, 310-659-8887.
 
To help transform jer-ne restaurant + bar, from an Asian-fusion restaurant to a steakhouse, Chad Minton, previously with The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, and The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta, has been named chef de cuisine. The restaurant in The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey, is dedicating itself to using local ingredients whenever possible. As a result, Chef Minton has partnered with Niman Ranch and The Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Program to serve 100% natural meats and aquaculture seafood from the Pacific. jer-ne restaurant + bar, The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey, 4375 Admiralty Wy., Marina del Rey, CA 90292, 310-823-1700.
 

CLOSINGS

Anastasia Israel and Kelly Gleason have closed Abode Restaurant & Lounge after just under a year. No word yet on what will fill the space on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica.
 

CULINARY EVENTS
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