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A new restaurant upstairs at Gjelina: Just don't call it vegetarian

July 15, 2009 |  5:01 pm


Gjelina chef Travis Lett is working on a new project -- a vegetable-based restaurant above the Venice favorite that he's planning on opening in a couple months. "I'm not a vegetarian," Lett says. "It's a place where any carnivore would enjoy eating, but it just happens to be a vegetable-based menu. I don't want to label it as vegetarian.

"It's rustic and earthy and wholesome, the same way cooking at Gjelina is," he adds.

Lett describes the intimate upstairs space (a 20- to 25-seater) as "very tranquil and airy, a nice change from downstairs, where it's more like a bustling bistro." 

There's no name yet, and the entrance may be through Gjelina or via a side door.

Meanwhile, Lett has been working on his rooftop garden. "We buy everything at the farmers market for Gjelina.... I'm trying to go the next step and grow our own vegetables. Lately, I'm more inspired by a piece of cauliflower than a lobe of foie gras or pile of truffles." 

-- Betty Hallock

Photo of Travis Lett at Gjelina by Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times