Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Restaurant Opening

FigOly to open July 27 in downtown's Luxe Hotel

The patio at FigOly, which opens July 27
FigOly, a sleek new modern Italian restaurant from "Top Chef" alum Alex Reznik (La Seine), is ready for its close-up in the newly renovated Luxe Hotel across from L.A. Live, with an opening date set for July 27.

Featuring three distinct dining areas, including a large outdoor patio overlooking the hustle and bustle of the corner of Figueroa and Olympic (from which the restaurant derives its name), FigOly also has recruited barman Matthew Biancaniello, who has made a name for himself with his verdant brand of mixology featuring farmers market produce at the Library Bar in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

The space is ritzy, with a VIP patio and dining room that is accessible through the kitchen and a bar that glows a variety of flashy colors.

FigOly recruited Matthew Biancaniello for the barThe menu includes warm buffalo mozzarella topped with macerated strawberries and black pepper ($11); Piemontese pasta tossed with porcini and hen of the woods mushrooms, ricotta salata, cherry tomatoes and Marsala ($16); beef cheeks and oxtail paired with gorgonzola polenta, shallots and sotto aceti ($27).

Drinks include the Mamma Mia (tequila and muddled red bell pepper, scallion, cilantro, lime, agave syrup, and applewood-smoked salt) and Easter Island (vodka, cucumber, Peruvian mint sprigs, and lime with ginger-spiked champagne).

Reservations for opening week are being accepted only via Twitter, which involves a clever marketing ploy that requires people publicly Tweet @FigOly along with the number in their party and the date and time of the desired reservation. Management will then confirm via direct message.

FigOly at Luxe City Center Hotel, 1020 S. Figueroa St., L.A. (213) 743-7600; www.figoly.com.

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Photos: Top, the patio at FigOly; bottom, Matthew Biancaniello pours a drink. Jessica Gelt / Los Angeles Times

New in North Hollywood: Bow & Truss restaurant and lounge

Bow&truss

Bow & Truss has opened in North Hollywood, and Times blog L.A. at Home checks out the design: 

The restaurant, scheduled to have its grand opening Friday, has a stunning showpiece: a richly patterned bar that's actually just formaldehyde-free medium density fiberboard, or MDF, finished with paint that’s low in volatile organic compounds. The pattern, inspired by the jali screenwork common in Islamic design, was cut with a router by hand, then set on sanded plexiglass backed with dimmable LEDs. This particular pattern may be intricate, but the concept and simple materials could be deployed as an accent wall, adding ambient light to a stairwell or entryway. At Bow & Truss, the geometric cuts of the MDF are meant to blend with the restaurant's Spanish bent and with Southern California's architectural traditions.

Click here to read more about Bow & Truss's design elements.

11122 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, (818) 985-8787, www.bowandtruss.com.

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New in Pasadena: Trattoria Neapolis

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Photo credit: Alen Lin

New in Pasadena: Trattoria Neapolis Italian restaurant and bar

Trattoria Neapolis new to Pasadena

Trattoria Neapolis Italian restaurant and bar has opened in the middle of one of Pasadena's popular shopping districts on South Lake Avenue. Sandwiched between an Anthropologie clothing store and an Aaron Brothers, first-time restaurateur Perry Vidalakis' new spot is bringing the style and flare of an Italian piazza to the suburb.

Chef Bryant Wigger (Four Seasons Los Angeles) is turning out a mixed menu of traditional Italian and California market-driven cuisine featuring items such as the bistecca, a Wagyu flatiron steak with porcini BBQ sauce, roasted garlic gnocchi and smoked pork shoulder, and Wigger's take on tiramisu, made with house ladyfingers, mascarpone crema, roasted summer peaches and caramel. The kitchen houses a 7,000-pound Neapolitan wood-burning oven, used for making Neapolitan-style pizzas. 

Roasted garlic gnocchiThe bar program boasts a curated list of cocktails by mixologist Vincenzo Marianella (Copa d'Oro) and a beer list by sommelier Christina Perozzi. The wine list is a mix of 50 bottles of wine from California and Italy, with nothing priced more than $50.

The restaurant space, designed by Hatch Design Group, is divided into two levels and various dining spaces. At the entrance is a light-filled garden room. The main dining room on the first floor consists of the bar and roomy booths, and at the back of the dining room are smaller tables, near the kitchen. On the second floor there is a balcony area that overlooks the first floor and a private wine room.

The restaurant is now serving dinner nightly from 5 p.m. but has a few plans in store for the coming months including a late-night menu at the bar until 2 a.m., lunch service beginning at 11 a.m., a to-go counter and a bottega.

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Photos, from top: View of the restaurant and bar from the balcony; the roasted garlic gnocchi. Credit: Frank Noack

New in WeHo: Laurel Hardware, plus lunch starts this week

Laurel hardware 1
Laurel Hardware has opened on Santa Monica Boulevard in the heart of West Hollywood, a newcomer already drawing the locals in droves. Think New American in an old hardware store (complete with vintage facade). 

Laurel hardware 3Chef Mario Alberto (Gjelina, Lazy Ox, Chimu) is turning out a focused menu of share plates (confit pork belly with green barley, tomatoes with shiso and honey, grilled peaches with burrata) and a handful of pizzas (including one over the weekend with hatch chiles and anchovies). The bar seats a couple of dozen, and there's a roster of cocktails that go nicely with the view through floor-to-ceiling bay windows that look onto an alluring back patio. (There isn't service on the patio -- yet -- but diners can wander out there with their drinks.) 

The 3,500-square-foot space, designed by Sam Marshall, is divided into several areas. The front, with windows facing the blur of Santa Monica Boulevard, is bright and airy. In the back, the bar is flanked by communal tables. Elevated booths line one wall, and sofas and armchairs with cocktail tables are along the bay windows.

Lunch starts this week, Alberto says, with a menu of sandwiches (including the LH Burger), salads and pizzas. In a couple of weeks, there will be brunch: egg scrambles (such as with maitake mushrooms, pea tendrils and creme fraiche), oysters and fried chicken with biscuits or hanger steak with 64-degree egg.

7984 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 656-6070, www.laurelhardware.com.

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Photo credit: Betty Hallock

Joseph Mahon turns up in Fullerton to open Early Bird

MahonEver wondered what happened to Joseph Mahon? He is the onetime chef at the celebrated Bastide restaurant in West Hollywood, the guy who took it California casual (and earned good reviews while doing it). He's popped back up again, this time in his old stomping grounds of Orange County.

Mahon's been running a semi-permanent burger pop-up Wednesday through Saturday nights at the Rialto restaurant in Fullerton (his burger was a big seller at Bastide). And now Mahon, who has also worked with Daniel Boulud and David Myers, is opening a breakfast and lunch spot appropriately called Early Bird in Fullerton.

The place is scheduled to open July 16 with Jonathan Moulton as chef de cuisine. Moulton has worked with Rafael Lunetta and Josiah Citrin at Lemon Moon in Santa Monica and with James Boyce at Studio at the Montage in Laguna Beach.

The menu is sketchy at this point, but, according to press materials, will include dishes such as brioche French toast with almonds, toad-in-the-hole with grilled asparagus and smoked salmon, and a morning pizza with puff pastry, tomato compote and eggs for breakfast. Lunch items include coconut-curry soup, fried chicken salad, grilled cheese and penne arrabiata.

Early Bird,1000 B E. Bastanchury Road, Fullerton.

-- Russ Parsons

Photo: Mahon at Bastide. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times

Golden State teams with Bludso's, takes over Tar Pit space

Bludsos

Jason Bernstein and James Starr, owners of the Golden State on Fairfax, are taking over the former Tar Pit location on La Brea Avenue to open a restaurant with Kevin Bludso, of Bludso's BBQ in Compton. Yes, the duo behind L.A.'s favorite upstart craft beer/beer float/burger joint is teaming with the man behind L.A.'s favorite Texas-meets-Compton barbecue. And on top of that, there will be cocktails.

What sounds like a dream come true for beer-and-barbecue fans was born of the friendship between Bernstein, Starr and Bludso and the idea that "it would be be amazing if we all collaborated on a place," Starr says. The idea was further spurred by a recent trip to Texas for Bludso's grandmother's 90th birthday. "We got real insight into where Kevin came from and what inspired him to open his place," Starr says. Bludso is a Compton native but worked for his grandmother during summers at her barbecue stand in Corsicana, Texas. "It turned out to be a research trip that reinvigorated us to make this a reality."

Bernstein says there's no name yet, "but 'Bludso's' will be in there." The trio, along with manager Noah Galuten, hope to open by the end of the year. The kitchen will be outfitted with a smoker, of course. And presumably the Tar Pit's Art Deco-inspired dining room will get a makeover. 

"We're trying to focus all our attention on trying to create a beer list and a cocktail list that go well with barbecue," Bernstein says. "We're really trying to examine what that would be. The goal is to have everything really curated and not have a kitchen sink cocktail list of 30 things. Just a handful of really simple, well done cocktails."

The menu "in its soul will be the same menu as Bludso's," says Starr. That means Bludso's brisket, ribs, chicken and hot links. "And a few more items," Starr adds. Galuten says that there also will be pie. And hopefully the new Bludso's-on-La-Brea will play some of the same hits as the Bludso's-on-Long-Beach-Boulevard. Such as from Cameo and Natural Four. 

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Photo: The mural inside Bludso's. Credit: Betty Hallock.

Jason Neroni previews Superba Snack Bar

Pasta

Jason Neroni is in the middle of construction of his new restaurant Superba Snack Bar, the Venice spot he's opening with partner and Pitfire Pizza co-founder Paul Hibler. He'll be focusing on pastas, but "no tagliatelle, no pappardelle, no angel's hair." Neroni says he has discovered some pasta dies with unusual shapes, such as for creste di galli -- or "cockscomb," because the macaroni-shaped pasta has a frill that looks like one. 

Earlier this week Neroni staged a mini Superba Snack Bar pop-up at the Pitfire Pizza in West Hollywood, where he served chicken liver mousse and lardo with balsamic cherries; Eclectic Acres greens with Superba ricotta and pickled jalapeño dressing; pizza with pureed ramps, Taleggio and smoked bone marrow; and rye rigatoni with lamb Bolognese, black garlic and smoked ricotta salata. For dessert: black pepper panna cotta with strawberries, anise hyssop and vin cotto

Neroni says he won't be making pizzas at Superba, but do look for the sandwiches that he'll be serving at lunch, such as his porchetta with wild arugula, preserved lemon and garlic confit on a springy roll. "This is delicious," said one diner. To which Neroni replied: "It's porchetta!" 

Superba Snack Bar is scheduled to open at the end of June.    

533 Rose Ave., Venice.

Pizza

Chicken liver
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Mo-Chica to open May 30

-- Betty Hallock

Photos: Pasta, top; pizza; and chicken liver. Credits: Betty Hallock

Mo-Chica to open May 30: Here's the menu

Mochica

Ricardo Zarate says he's looking forward to grilling paiche, an Amazonian river fish that can weigh up to 500 pounds, in his new kitchen at downtown Mo-Chica, set to open May 30. The original Mo-Chica located in the Mercado de Paloma closed on Thursday, and its new incarnation on 7th Street is a more extensive vision of Zarate's take on traditional Peruvian dishes and ingredients.

"I want to cook with ingredients that are meaningful to me," he says. Expect alpaca stew and an alpaca-lamb burger, and sometime in the not-too-distant future, guinea pig. "Maybe with a peanut sauce." 

Pan con atun is a take on a traditional Peruvian breakfast dish -- grilled bread with tuna. "I remember eating it [as a kid] before going to school," Zarate says. "There are a lot of traditional dishes that I try to modernize just a little to introduce them to an American audience." So far, the new menu is twice as big as the original Mo-Chica menu (click on the jump for the full list.)

Meanwhile, Brian Summers and Deysi Alvarez have created a concise drinks list of cocktails with names that riff on pop songs: Papa Don't Peach with peach-infused Calvados, rum, lemon juice and peach syrup; Oaxacalifornia Love with mezcal, blanco tequila, Alvarez's house-made pineapple-rocoto gomme syrup and lime juice; and Tha Doggfather, their version of a Pisco sour. 

514 W. 7th St., Los Angeles, (213) 622-3744, www.mo-chica.com.

Mochica cocktail

Mochica1

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Continue reading »

Eat.Drink.Americano debuts downtown

EatDrink2
The former Cafe Metropole on 3rd Street in downtown L.A.'s increasingly bustling Arts District has received a new lease on life in the form of a new gastropub named Eat.Drink.Americano. (The periods are theirs, not ours.)

The place is decked out downtown-industrial style with lots of exposed brick, rustic wooden chairs and tables, candles in Mason jars, a chandelier made of wine bottles, and a giant chalkboard wall with all kinds of tasty foodie things written on it including, "Duck & Pickles."

Speaking of duck and pickles, that savory duo is on the menu. Duck terrine comes in a jar, coated with a satisfying layer of fat and accompanied by chunks of housemade pickled cucumbers, carrots and onions alongside small rounds of toasted bread.

EatDrink3Other menu items include tomato and albacore tartare; black cod tempura and classic tomato sauce; king crab cannelloni and cauliflower foam; oxtail burgers; red Alaskan salmon cream cheese and poached egg flatbread; and steak tartare served with mustard ice cream.

Chef Juan Pablo Torre has also put together a nice list of charcuterie and cheese, and is devoted to locally sourcing everything that he can.

Booze is beer-and-wine only, with craft brews and small-batch reds and whites leading the list.

Next time you're in a forever line at the supernaturally busy Wurstkuche down the street, you now have a nice new option to retreat to for the holy duo of meat and beer.

Eat.Drink.Americano, 923 E. 3rd St., L.A.

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Photos: Bar area, top, duck and pickles, bottom. Credit: Jessica Gelt / Los Angeles Times

What's up with the new Señor Fish in Echo Park?

SenorFishWhat's up with the new Señor Fish in Echo Park? Seriously. Have you walked or driven by it? (It's located on the corner of Logan and Sunset Boulevard in what was once a depressing fluorescent-lighted Pescado Mojado.) Anyway, the restaurant looks like it was opened in the middle of the night by two rambunctious 9-year-olds equipped with poster board and crayons.

Don't get me wrong, most people are thrilled to have a Señor Fish on the block. In fact, many people I know have a devotion to Señor Fish that borders on fanatical. My best friend swears by the shrimp and scallop burrito and has a musician friend who will meet her only at a Señor Fish when they decide to go out to lunch.

It's just that I keep hearing people make jokes about how the restaurant looks -- kind of like a half-finished set piece in a post-modern high school theater production of "Waiting for Godot." (That's the outside, the inside looks substantially better, but still unfinished, as you can see in this post about it by the Eastsider.)

"Did they just forget to finish building it?" one friend asked.

"Is it really open?" asked another.

The concerns about aesthetics immediately become drowned in lip-smacking as these same people wolf down juicy fish tacos and gargantuan burritos. But still, a little TLC wouldn't hurt.

1701 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles.

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Photo: Emily Wilder

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.