I’ve been pining for a taste of Connie & Ted’s ever since the restaurant’s plywood came down and signage went up this past May. Seafood, especially of the New England variety, is totally my jam, not to mention that the chef behind the shiny new WeHo venture, Michael Cimarusti, is one amazing talent.
Named after the grandparents who took him fishing as a kid in Rhode Island, Connie and Ted’s is a tribute to the food of Chef Cimarusti’s childhood.
The consensus among friends who dined at Connie & Ted’s during its opening weeks was that the food and service were fine, with desserts being a highlight, but nowhere near the level where they ought to be considering the talented team in the kitchen.
On the flip side, the city’s critics have been mostly impressed with the “authenticity” of the cooking found here. L.A. Weekly’s Besha Rodell remarked that “Connie & Ted’s does by far the best job of re-creating the pleasures of that other coast” in her three-star review, while the L.A. Times’ Jonathan Gold remained vague but positive in his write up, calling the restaurant “neither a chefly interpretation of a Rhode Island clam shack nor a fantasia on the theme of New England seafood.”
To make a call for ourselves, The Astronomer and I lunched here on a recent Sunday afternoon with our friend Darin and his girlfriend Shirley. We fumbled on the reservation front, but were seated adjacent to the bar not too long after arriving.
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Michael Voltaggio, the former Chef de Cuisine at The Bazaar by José Andrés and Executive Chef at The Dining Room at The Langham, and the winner of season six of Bravo’s Top Chef, opened his highly anticipated first restaurant in 2011 on a stretch of Melrose known more for its fashion than for its fare. Here at Ink, a minimally appointed space painted a shadowy shade of gray, Chef Voltaggio creates “modern Los Angeles cuisine” that marries molecular gastronomy with surprising flavor combinations and highly stylized plating.
Based on my lukewarm meals at both The Bazaar and The Dining Room, I wasn’t expecting the strongest showing at Ink. However, I was downright tickled to find that the food here was playful, beautiful, thoughtful, and very much delicious.
Diners can order family style from the a la carte menu, three to four dishes per person is recommended, or indulge in a four-course tasting plus dessert orchestrated by the kitchen. While the former allows for freedom, the latter features unique dishes not available on the a la carte menu. Since The Astronomer and I had plans for a second dinner later on, we went with the a la carte option.
We sat at the “sushi” counter this evening since we didn’t have advanced reservations, which provided stellar views of the chefs making modernist magic with liquid nitrogen and thermal immersion circulators. I highly recommend snagging a seat along the counter for dinner and a show.
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Stepping into Eveleigh (pronounced “Everly”) last Sunday evening, The Astronomer and I were transported far from the Sunset Strip. With its decidedly rustic vibe and vintage touches, the restaurant felt like it was plucked off a Napa Valley vineyard and plopped down in bustling West Hollywood. The space had a charm about it that just wouldn’t stop.
An invite to Eveleigh’s first ever Sunday Supper was the reason for our visit. Upon arriving at the restaurant and checking in with the hostess, we were led to the back patio, where an expansive communal table was set. With spectacular views overlooking the city and the sun setting in the distance, the scene could not have been any more idyllic.
Windrose Farms, a small family farm located east of Paso Robles, provided all of the produce and proteins for this inaugural event. Bill Spencer, who owns the farm along with his wife Barbara, was on hand to educate diners about everything from biodynamic agriculture to the difference between a lamb and a hogget. The evening’s convivial spirit was reminiscent of the Outstanding in the Field dinner series.
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There’s a lot to love about Salt’s Cure. For starters, the kitchen makes everything from scratch. From the ketchup to the bagels, every little thing is sourced from within. Additionally, all of the produce, meat, cheese, wine, and beer comes solely from California. Salt’s Cure is committed to keeping food miles in check and highlighting the very best of the Golden State. To top it all off, the ambiance is laid back and the chefs crank out some really terrific food.
Owned and operated by chefs Christopher Phelps, Zachary Walters, and Naomi Shim, the restaurant offers a small menu that changes daily. In addition to the blackboard offerings, there’s always a diverse selection of smoked, cured, and pickled meat, fish, and vegetables to be had.
I’ve been wanting to dine at Salt’s Cure ever since I heard about its impressive charcuterie, but didn’t get a chance to do so until a few weeks ago. My friend Lien and I grabbed two seats at the bar facing the open kitchen for maximum chef swoonage. She’s a regular at the place, and we were treated like queens this evening.
To start, we dug into a tremendous plank of cured, smoked, and potted goodness. There was a silky pile of smoked halibut ($14) that Lien and I paired with bagel crisps and chive-flecked sour cream. The tender slices of beef round ($10) were eaten straight up or wrapped with a few sprigs of lightly dressed watercress.
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