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Golden State soft opens, sets this Thursday as official opener

March 2, 2009 |  8:38 am


No need to wait until March 12; the Fairfax District's Golden State has already arrived.  Over the weekend, we stumbled on a lively scene in the former Nova Express space at 426 N. Fairfax, as friends, family and curious pedestrians checked out the new cafe with a California twist at a soft opening.  Locals checked out the menu (everything from various sausages to Scoops gelato), and most approved of the reasonable prices ($6 for the sausage, for example) that are more in-line with nearby Damiano pizza than neighborhood newcomer Animal.

As The Times reported last year, the small restaurant/cafe, managed in part by Jason Bernstein and James Starr, will serve a sampling of what they feel is good from the Golden State.  Think offerings such as a grilled cheese with California farmhouse cheddar from Modesto and beers from Craftsman.  Samir Mohajer, the chef at Cabbage Patch, helped design the menu.  The plan is to reopen Thursday after a few days of additional preparation, with opening hours expected to be announced soon.  Count on a busy weekend in the eatery as neighborhood residents seem eager to check out the nicely redesigned space (a radical departure from the dark, sci-fi-themed Nova Express), which boasts exposed brick, high ceilings, a mustard yellow exterior and large windows which allow unfettered views of Canter's Deli. 

-- Charlie Amter

Photo: The scene inside Golden State on Saturday. Credit: Victoria Smith