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December 2010 Archive

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LOS ANGELES RESTAURANT NEWS - DECEMBER 2010 Archive


OPENINGS

Brentwood's upscale restaurant Toscana has opened a chic little sister lounge next door, Bar Toscana, offering fresh spins on Italian classic cocktails and stuzzicini (small Italian plates). Chef Luca Cretanelli's dishes range from Sardinian flatbread, vitello tonnato and venison carpaccio to lobster salad and Gorgonzola fondue with black truffles. Lunch Mon.-Sat., Dinner Nightly. Bar Toscana, 11633 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood, CA 90049, 310-826-0028.
 
Jeffrey Cerciello, lately the culinary director of Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, has opened the restaurant/market FarmShop on 26th Street. Now serving breakfast, lunch and brunch, (with family-style dinner coming in January) expect dishes like deviled eggs with smoked Idaho trout and tarragon, frittata with grilled Hobb's bacon, fried oysters, pickled chiles and rye toast, crispy artichokes with burrata, and warm Dungeness crab salad. The market opens in the spring, and will offer artisan charcuterie and cheeses. FarmShop, 225 26th St., Santa Monica, CA 90402, 310-566-2400.
 
Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena has introduced its new upscale restaurant, Technique Restaurant, in a space facing Colorado Boulevard. It replaces Bistro 561, which was located in the same complex at a Green Street address. The restaurant, whose cooks are comprised of culinary students under supervision from instructors, offers a moderately priced modern American menu in an airy, contemporary dining room. Representative dishes include lobster endive salad; spinach salad with beets, apples, pecans and poached egg with pancetta dressing; and roasted chicken with dumplings. Technique serves lunch and dinner Monday through Friday. Technique Restaurant, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, 525 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91101, 626-229-1377.
 
La Monarca Bakery, a highly regarded Mexican panadería with locations in City of Commerce and Huntington Park, has opened its first Westside location in Santa Monica. Specialties include items like guava-filled taquitos and Mexican wedding cookies called galletitas de boda, as well as many other traditional Mexican cakes, pastries and breads. Organic Oaxacan coffee is served with pan dulce in the morning, and at lunch savory snacks like cazuelas, poblano mole and chipotle machaca are offered. Overseeing this and the other two La Monarca bakeries is French-born chef Alain Bour, who lived in Mexico for 35 years. The brightly colored, 1,300-square foot spaced designed by architect José Antonio González features an exhibition kitchen and both indoor and outdoor seating. Open daily. La Monarca Bakery, 1300 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403, 310-451-1114.
 
Monopole Wine, a combination wine bar and retailer, has opened next door to Elements Kitchen, the Pasadena Playhouse-adjacent restaurant. Housed in a historic building, the distinctive space features a soaring ceiling, vintage chandeliers and stained glass. Sommelier-owners Peter Nelson and Hiro Tamaki stock a Euro-centric inventory, but with ample New World vintages as well. The wine bar opens at 4 p.m. daily. Monopole Wine, 21 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101, 626-577-9463.
 
The interior of Hostaria Del Piccolo in Santa Monica Venice's well-loved Piccolo Ristorante has opened a more casual little sister spot in Santa Monica at Broadway and Sixth called Hostaria Del Piccolo. Expect antipasti, salads, pastas, meat and fish in addition to calzones and nearly two dozen gourmet wood-fired pizzas ranging from the valtell---mozzarella, robiola, bresaola and celery---to the tonno, replete with mozzarella, pizzaiola cruda, ahi tuna and caramelized cipollini. Hostaria Del Piccolo, 606 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401, 310-393-6633.
 
Tarzana is no longer a slouch in the gourmet cupcake department, thanks to the Diana Sproveri Designer Bake Shop on Ventura Boulevard. Think raspberry coulis-soaked Madagascar bourbon vanilla cupcake with lime-zested icing and lime sugar, or Valrhona chocolate cupcake with caramel sauce, whipped ganache and sea salt. Diana's unique Lollibakes are cute and sumptuous little cakes on a stick covered in chocolate. Diana Sproveri Designer Bake Shop, 18641 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, CA 91356, 818-344-4900.
 
Umami Burger's Adam Fleischman and Michael Mina pastry chef Jordan Kahn have turned the former Hokusai space into a chic Vietnamese-inspired "canteen" Red Medicine. Dinner runs Tuesday through Sunday, but the bar serves food nightly until 2 a.m. You won't find the ubiquitous pho beef noodle soup, but instead artsy upscale Asian dishes like banh mi with foie gras and pate de campagne, calve's tongue with quince, daikon, young walnut, and mustard seeds, and fluke cured with lime leaf, radishes, charred cucumber and pine needle. Handcrafted cocktails are equally gastronomically ambitious---the Russian Standard is concocted of chili-anise shrub, lime, grapefruit, Peychaud's bitters, Thai basil, and ginger beer. Red Medicine, 8400 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211, 323-651-5500.
 
Courting crowds since its grand opening is West Hollywood’s Fig & Olive, which branched out from New York where it has four locations (the original in the Meatpacking District, Upper East Side, Midtown East and Scarsdale). The 8,000-square foot, split-level space accommodates 300 diners and features a Champagne lounge upstairs. Executive chef Pascal Lorange offers artfully plated tasting dishes and shareable plates (e.g. fig-Gorgonzola tartlet, zucchini carpaccio) at a 50-foot marble bar and communal table, paired with wines from the South of France, Spain and Italy. In a contemporary-styled dining room anchored by a large olive tree, guests can enjoy dinner entrées like seared sea scallops and truffle artichoke tapenade, mushrooms, arugula and pine nuts with aged balsamic; ravioli with Gorgonzola, ricotta, fig and celery root, topped with Manchego and jamón ibérico; and rosemary-marinated Provençal lamb chops. Plans are already in the works to open a second Fig & Olive in Brentwood, as well as an international location. Fig & Olive, 8490 Melrose Place, West Hollywood, CA 90069, 310-360-9100.
 
Paolo Cesaro and Antonio Muré (Ado) transformed the former Caché Restaurant & Lounge space into 31 Ten, a lounge that opened in December. The eclectic fare ranges from braised duck wontons to tacos to wood-fired pizzas. 31 Ten, 3110 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90405, 310-450-5522.
 
Food blogger Matthew Kang has taken the torch from his gourmet ice cream mentor Tai Kim and opened a second location of Scoops in Palms, called Scoops Westside, where he also serves pour-over Intelligentsia coffee. Eight ice cream and gelato flavors rotate weekly (all made still by Kim)---expect the signature brown bread as well as pumpkin eggnog, pistachio fig, maple coffee, almond nutmeg honey and even wasabi. Lunch & Dinner Mon.-Sat. Scoops Westside, 3400 Overland Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90034, 323-405-7055.
 
Chef Carrie Cusack has opened the simplethings sandwich & pie shop. Despite the moniker, the menu's fairly expansive. Breakfast features French toast filled with mascarpone, chicken quiche, and sausage Benedict. For lunch and dinner, there's lighter fare like an albacore tuna salad. And then there's ambitious comfort food like steak and lager pot pie, and a Prime rib sandwich. Did we mention pie? There's a daily schedule---check the website---for Key lime, Missouri mud, coconut cream, cherry, apple and salted caramel. simplethings sandwich & pie shop , 8310 West Third St., Los Angeles, CA 90048, 323-592-3390.
 
Taking the space of the former M Café de Chaya in Culver City is Native Foods, the seventh outpost in a successful chain of vegan eateries founded by chef Tanya Petrovna. A Californian global menu offers fresh vegan cuisine like sweet potato fries with sea salt, broccoli curry crunch salad, the OC raw chopper salad, Portobello and seitan sausage burger, and a Saigon wrap with braised lemongrass tofu. Lunch & Dinner daily. Native Foods, 9343 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232, 310-559-3601.
 
L.A.'s newest luxe food truck is the bright red Lobsta Truck, featuring everyone's favorite divine concoction, the lobster roll. This Maine lobster shack on wheels imports fresh New England rolls and live lobster weekly. Also dished up are fresh crab rolls, New England clam chowder, Cape Cod potato chips and fresh-squeezed lemonade. Find out where they're at on www.lobstatruck.com, or twitter.com/lobstatruck. Lobsta Truck, various locations, Los Angeles, CA n/a, no phone.
 
Roy Choi---of Kogi truck and Chego fame---has opened A-Frame in Culver City in a stylishly redone IHOP.  His Asian-influenced menu features spicy Korean Buffalo wings, green curry lemongrass clam chowder, blue crab cake with sesame mustard and citrus, and a crackling "beer can" chicken. A dozen fancy microbrews are found on tap, and handcrafted cocktails boast ingredients like house-made fig bitters and Vietnamese mint. Dinner nightly. A-Frame, 12565 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90066, 310-398-7700.
 
The former stylish Korean spot Jian has been moderately revamped to become Bao Dim Sum House. Dim sum items---by way of table service---include steamed shrimp dumplings, barbecue pork buns, stuffed eggplant, and leaf-wrapped sticky rice prepared by Hong Kong trained chefs. There's also a full bar. Lunch & Dinner daily. Bao Dim Sum House, 8256 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, 323-655-6556.
 
Epicurean restaurateur Thierry Perez, former owner of Fraiche and Riva, has opened L'Epicerie, a French-inspired gourmet market, wine bar and café in Culver City. Chef Daniel Carating offers a menu of smaller and larger plates, take-out dishes, sandwiches, pâtés, rillettes, charcuterie, cheeses and pastries. Dinner items include braised turkey wing stuffed with chicken liver, beef Bourguignon with mashed potatoes, and cassoulet with duck confit, pork belly and Toulouse sausage. The wine bar features 200 bottles from California, France, Italy and Spain. Catering is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner and features all items on the L'Epicerie menu, as well as custom dishes. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily. L'Epicerie, 9900 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90323, 310-815-1600.
 
Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, Hollywood Billiards is reborn again, this time as a sleek hipster pool joint named Spot 5750. Sporty fans will still find 16 high-end pool tables and 50 flat screen TVs in the newly refurbished space, but a new menu has gone gastropub casual; dishes include watermelon barbecue spare ribs, Kobe beef sliders, and beer-baked mac n' cheese, as well as bar standards---hot wings, nachos, pizzas, salads and burgers. Dinner Nightly; Brunch Sat.-Sun. Spot 5750, 5750 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028, 323-465-0115.
 

NEWS BYTES

New Breakfast at Lola’s
Lola's is now serving breakfast on Sundays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Breakfast items range from chorizo and eggs to traditional New York steak & eggs, while the bar will be serving up drinks like a peach and pear Bellini, Caesar Mary's with Clamato, and the famous apple martini. The restaurant will also be sponsoring a once-a-month pet adoption service, held in the parking lot, and not limited to cats and dogs ... so exotic animal lovers unite! Lola's, 945 N. Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood, CA 90046, 323-654-5652.
 
New Oyster Bar Menu at District in Hollywood
In Hollywood, District on Sunset has debuted an oyster bar menu Tuesdays through Sundays, featuring three to four types of fresh-shucked oysters, as well as fried oysters, grilled oysters and fried oyster sandwiches. Oysterphobes can also enjoy peel-and-eat shrimp. District on Sunset, 6600 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028, 323-962-8200.
 
La Cachette Bistro's New French-Inspired Small Plates Menu
La Cachette Bistro's Jean-François Meteigner will be introducing a new more casual "petite plates" concept, which will kick-off New Year's Eve. A French-inspired tapas menu will range from $4-$13 for appetizers, and main courses from $13-$24. Pitchers of sangria, margaritas and mojitos will be $24 per pitcher. Dishes include foie gras terrine with fig chutney, green lentil salad with duck liver and duck confit, pepper-cured tuna cubes piperade with Harissa sauce, and veal sweetbread skewers with candied chestnuts. A chef's choice "ten petite-plate dinner" will be available for $70. La Cachette Bistro, 1733 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401, 310-434-9509.
 
The Peninsula Beverly Hills Launches Holiday Supper Club
Beginning December 1, from 8 p.m.-midnight, Tuesdays through Saturdays, The Peninsula Beverly Hills will transform its elegant Living Room into a "holiday supper club," where guests can enjoy holiday music and Broadway classics played by resident pianist Antonio Castillo de la Gala. In addition to ordering after-dinner drinks, light fare and desserts, guests can choose from a special three-course menu including oysters Overbaugh, truffled macaroni and cheese, slow-roasted Loch Duart salmon, Prime filet mignon, and traditional Bûche de Noël. The price for the three-course menu is $39 per person or $49 per person with a glass of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne. Reservations can be made by calling 310-975-2736 or by e-mail: pbhdining@peninsula.com. The Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel, The Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel, 9882 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212, 310-975-2736 .
 

CHEF SHUFFLE

Chef Gary Menes has left the stoves at The Hall at Palihouse to open his own restaurant with business partner François Renaud in a yet undetermined location on the Eastside. The Hall at Palihouse, Palihouse Holloway, 8465 Holloway Dr., West Hollywood, CA 90069, 323-656-4100.
 
Café del Rey's new executive chef, Daniel Roberts (formerly of Asia de Cuba and Baleen), has created an all new Mediterranean-inspired menu with a focus on fresh local fish. The restaurant has also updated its décor with Mediterranean accents including olive trees, ocean blue walls and abstract Italian-inspired art. Café del Rey, 4451 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292, 310-823-6395.
 
Chef Laurent Quenioux, the molecular gastronomist who owns Bistro LQ on Beverly Boulevard, returns to his Pasadena roots. He has taken the reins at Vertical Wine Bistro in Old Pasadena, which has had difficulty establishing a groove in the kitchen. He will serve as executive chef while still running the show at the more ambitious Bistro LQ. Featured on his new menu in Pasadena, a combination of small plates and main courses, will be Comte grilled cheese with zucchini flowers and tortilla soup; diver scallops with lobster-fennel oatmeal and cinnamon; duck two ways (leg confit and seared breast) with pomegranate glaze yuzu curd, shishito pepper purée and miso jus; and roast chicken with braised cabbage, chestnut purée and huckleberries. Vertical Wine Bistro, 70 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103, 626-795-3999.
 

CLOSINGS

Hollywood's scenester haunt Citizen Smith has closed its doors for good. Citizen Smith, 1600 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028, no phone.
 
Test Kitchen served its last dinner on December 13. This forum for chefs to try out experimental and upcoming menus will re-open in a new space in early 2011. Test Kitchen, 9575 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035, no phone.
 

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