Jun 2013

Jonathan Gold’s Scouting Report #1: AltaEats

Altaeats - Altadena

Chef Paul Ragan’s cookin’ up a little somethin’ somethin’ in the foothills of Altadena and it’s got a whole lotta soul. Filing my first Scouting Report, “At AltaEats, seafood paella and a duck egg for your duck hash,” on the Los Angeles Times‘ Daily Dish. Bon appetit.

Name of restaurant: AltaEats

The chef: Paul Ragan—a French Culinary Institute grad who held a string of cheffing gigs in New York City (Asia de Cuba, L’Orange Bleue, Miracle Grill, Keens Steakhouse) before owning and operating  Toma in Madrid for half a decade. Most recently in Los Angeles, he worked as a private chef, a would-be food truck proprietor, and a healthy-school-lunch advocate at Revolution Foods.  He currently resides around the corner from the restaurant along with his wife and AltaEats co-owner Angela Visca.

What dish represents the restaurant, and why?
Duck Hash with Apricot-Chili Jam and Sous-Vide Duck Egg ($15). Classic French technique meets modernist cookery, creating a dish that’s comforting yet fresh. The carefully cooked 64 degree egg from City Farm in Glassell Park boasts the kind of custardy body that’s perfect for saucing.

Runner up: Seafood Paella ($30). Made with lobster stock, chorizo, hericot verts, and well-sourced seafood (lobster, prawns, squid, mussels), there’s enough saffron-laced rice to feed two or more. Don’t forget to scrape the burnt bits from the bottom of the pan—it’s the best part.

A low-key neighborhood spot with an ambitious but accessible menu.

Who’s at the next table?
The who’s who of The Verdugos—a mix of suburbanites, their offspring, and their aging parents. Most live one to two miles away. Some walk from their homes.

Appropriate for:
Neighboring residents who can appreciate high-quality ingredients prepared with global influences and flair.

No booze, beer, or wine…yet.

Perky, friendly, female.

What are you drinking?
Water. And coveting thy neighbor’s Cava.

Info: 1860 North Allen Avenue, Altadena, CA 91104, (626) 794-1162, http://altaeats.com/

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