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All things Steven Arroyo: The original Cobras & Matadors gets a new menu and a facelift, Potato Chips stays open late, Umami burger nears completion

August 20, 2009 |  6:27 pm


Now that Steven Arroyo's Cobras & Matadors on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Feliz has closed in order to transform into another outpost of Umami Burger (with a bar!), the flagship location on Beverly Boulevard is the only C&M left. However, Arroyo, one of L.A.'s most prolific and restless restaurateurs, wants to shake that up too. So he's teamed up with former Violet chef/owner Jared Simons ("They are like long-lost brothers," says a rep for Arroyo) to remake the menu and redesign the interior.

The new menu strays from the classic tapas offerings the restaurant built its reputation on, not because it was a failing formula but because Arroyo is looking to "evolve it, make it fresher, lighter, more value-oriented." To that end you'll find an array of small plates (some with Spanish influences), including a summer salad with cucumbers, tomato and feta; pan-roasted whitefish with white beans and watercress; and golden beets and watermelon with blue cheese.

Arroyo is redoing the interior and expects to be done with it in a couple of weeks. Changes include "a new subway-tiled bar that seats six around the wood-burning oven, which is being resurfaced with mosaic tile" as well as "new tables and banquettes in the dining room and white walls darkened with vintage textured wallpaper," says a rep for Arroyo.

In other Arroyo-related news, Potato Chips (located next door to Cobras & Matadors) is no longer closing at 6 p.m. It's staying open until 11 p.m. with a menu of tacos and burritos created by Simons.

Finally, the Umami Burger mentioned above (in which Arroyo has a 50-50 partnership with Umami owner Adam Fleischman) is tentatively scheduled for a Sept. 6 opening.

--Jessica Gelt

Photo: Steven Arroyo inside the now-closed Cobras & Matadors on Hollywood Blvd. Credit: Ringo H.W. Chiu / Los Angeles Times