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The Review: Former 'Top Chef' contestant Stefan Richter earns two stars

October 21, 2009 |  1:23 pm

For a "Top Chef" finalist, 36-year-old Stefan Richter comes out like a lamb at his new restaurant, Stefan's at L.A. Farm. He's not out to shock or provoke. He's out to cook food that's squarely within most people's comfort zones.

Good for him. Richter, after all, doesn't have a lot to prove. He's been there, done that as executive sous chef at the Bellagio in Vegas, chef at Enoteca Drago in Beverly Hills and executive chef at Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara. He's no wannabe. He's been around and is more of a pragmatist in his cooking than a showoff. I'm sure he knows how to make a foam, but you won't find one here.

He's going for smart, contemporary cooking that everyone can relate to and flirting only occasionally with the cutting edge. It makes for pleasant but not necessarily exciting dining at this latest reincarnation of L.A. Farm (around since 1989). In this Santa Monica neighborhood, though, and particularly at this price point, that's already an achievement.

To read the rest of S. Irene Virbila's review, click here.

Photo: Sliced pig's head with Champagne-chive vinaigrette, radishes and frisee. Credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times