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Provecho and Remedy: Here at last

November 21, 2008 |  7:44 pm

Provechomedley In April I wrote a Restaurant Journal for the Food section about a slew of Latin-influenced eateries that were poised to open downtown. Prominent on that list was former Republic chef Gabriel Morales' modern Mexican restaurant, Provecho, featuring both a tequila bar and a ceviche bar.

Seven months later, after more permitting headaches than they'd care to remember, Morales and wife and co-owner Jill Bigelow are ready to show off all their hard work. Restaurant openings are never set in stone, but Morales says he thinks they've "hurdled the worst" of their challenges and that Remedy lounge is ready to open Nov. 28, with Provecho fast on its heels. The latter will open for lunch Dec. 1 and start serving dinner on the 8th.

Provecho and Remedy are adjacent to each other and share restrooms and a kitchen, but both the food and the vibe are quite different. Provecho is more formal, with low-lighting and handmade Italian chandeliers; dark-celadon-green carpeting and chairs; handcrafted tile floors trimmed with reclaimed wood from a bar in Vermont; a state-of-the-art sound system; TVs hidden behind two-way glass at the bar; a long, white ceviche bar that looks through a sheet of glass (which will double as a waterfall) into a large, bustling kitchen; and a tequila bar with more than 96 boutique tequilas. Notable dishes include lobster chiles rellenos, chorizo-crusted day boat scallops and made-to-order ceviche (15 varieties created using sustainably sourced fish)....

Morales has paid close attention to all the details. For example, the well tequila at Provecho is Cazadores. "You don't have to be nervous about having a margarita here because it's all top-shelf," he jokes. Likewise, the wine list includes nearly 90 handpicked wines, mostly from small-lot, boutique producers. Some of the wines are from Morales' personal collection.

"That was painful to get him to open up his wine locker," Bigelow says.

Down the hall, Remedy is an upscale lounge with purple overtones, a rectangular bar in the center of the room surrounded by modern white bar stools and a small upstairs den that looks out into the main bar area. It will serve food from Provecho's kitchen but will also feature its own menu of American bar fare, including burgers, salads and fish and chips. Both places will serve lunch and dinner, with Provecho eventually staying open until 4 a.m. with a special late-night menu for those not wanting to call it a night when the bars close.

Provecho and Remedy, 800 Wilshire Blvd., (213) 489-1406

— Jessica Gelt

Photos: Remedy, top left, and Provecho. Credit: Jessica Gelt

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