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Coming soonish: Chimu in Grand Central Market and Red Hill in Echo Park

January 12, 2011 | 10:04 am

MarioOrellana

Something delicious this way comes.

Mario Orellana (Lazy Ox Canteen sous chef/former Mo-Chica chef and partner) and Jason Michaud -- whose sustainable Silver Lake restaurant Local packs diners in at all hours -- have teamed up to open two new restaurants.

The first is a Peruvian takeout restaurant called Chimu, tentatively scheduled to open on Feb. 15 and located on the Hill Street side of Grand Central Market in a courtyard-facing stall next to La Cita. The second, which Orellana says will likely open this summer (perhaps sooner), is a "neo-American diner" called Red Hill, serving "urban American" fare and located in the long-shuttered Phoenix Bakery on Echo Park Avenue, across the street from the Allston Yacht Club in Echo Park.

(The Red Hill name refers to the fact that Echo Park was nicknamed Red Hill during the middle of the 20th century because a large population of political radicals -- communists, socialists, progressives -- lived in the neighborhood.)

Chimu is to specialize in traditional Peruvian food inspired by a recent trip that Orellana took to Peru and the time he spent in the Amazon there. Specialties include pollo a la brasa (delectable roasted chicken), ceviche, lomo saltado (marinated sirloin with spices), Peruvian tamales and aguadito de pollo (Peruvian chicken noodle soup with vegetables).

The restaurant will operate out of a takeout window, and diners can sit in the back courtyard at Grand Central Market, watching Angel's Flight make its mini-journey up the steep hill across the street.

Red Hill is still a work in progress, but Orellana says the menu will be based on the rich mix of cultural flavors found in Los Angeles.

"I hate the word fusion," he said. "In L.A. you're starting to see a lot of people identify with flavors from different cultures because it's just part of our upbringing."

The restaurant is to have a dining room and a large counter looking in on an open kitchen. The idea is to create a sense of levity and space. Craft beers are to be served alongside an eclectic wine list, and plans include serving breakfast, brunch and lunch with a brief respite before the restaurant reopens for dinner.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Chefs, left to right, Ricardo Zarate and Mario Orellana cook lunch at Mo-Chica. Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times 

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