The most interesting food to arrive in Koreatown this year is, obviously (and again), not Korean. It’s Berber-French grub.
Years ago, I took some photos for Ruby Table, the prodecessor to Green Bee which just turned into the Spanish Fly last week. This large space was a Pinkberry-ish bar space (read: Korean modern chic design, think: Cafe Bleu, S Bar, Palm Tree) that never fulfilled its party potential due to… awkward parking, storefront, menu, ad nausea. One must wonder aloud why Chef Zadi suddenly 86ed his Culver City Cafe Livre and decided to throw his name behind an unfortunate bug located in a mix-use goliath so far away from the wealthy studio folks? He says its because of bad plumbing, dangerous wiring, etc. Despite a thorough investigative piece on LA Weekly, we still don’t know the full story. All we know is Zadi is
the Stig still manning the stoves, though there is a Korea sous busying himself with the other Korean fusiony creation.
While there are plenty of Berbers in Spain, the naming of the restaurant clearly denoted the severe changes in the operational/financial backing from Livre to Fly. Did the French cuisine disappear only to be replaced by more Korean burgers and sausages. Not at all. Look pass the sexy gastropub menu columns and there is hummus, olives, duck confit, Frenchy wieners, gazpacho and pate. Upon pre-ordering, paella can still be had, and the Chef himself promises another cous cous festival to be held at the new location.
The shrimp gambas, carried over from the Cafe Livre menu, was a buttery, garlicky, and herbal plate jammed with big tender prawns appearing nearly translucent; it was possibly the finest shrimp prep encountered all year. Equally well sourced were the moules, said to be from Santa Monica Seafood. With the filling portions, 4 shared plates would be enough, and no fried dough is even necessary to complete the meal. Start with a soup and dip (or charcuterie), share 2 hot plates, and a 2 top can leave satiated for about $60.
The weakest food items during the soft opening? The rather unlocal beer taps (Fat Tire being the most interesting) and the extremely limp thick-cut fries which accompanied the sausage plate (or was it the moules marinieres). Surely both will be rectified by grand opening on July 21. The duck fat fries are probably funtastic, but given the opportunity and budget, charcuterie trumps potatoes every time.
After a brief search, I came upon this € 27 “season menu” at La Machonnerie in Lyon, a restaurant at which the Chef apprenticed/worked probably decades ago.
The English translation (thank you Google) reads roughly something like:
The Label Rouge Scottish salmon smoked by us
The Cake Tomato and Basil Cream Cheese
Cream Peas Smoked Bacon and Croutons
The Cake Chicken Liver with old,
tomato coulis financial
The Grilled fish depending on availability
Côte de Cochon fried with Tarragon
Cold Strawberry Soup
Floating Island to St. Genix Pralines
The Cheese and the bertha cream
So that’s a 3 course seasonal menu for roughly $33, tax and tip INCLUDED, bread service excluded. Can we all clamor loudly enough so one man will bring more of Southern France straight into the epicenter of Ktown? One can only hope, as even the hipsters won’t be able to stomach much more of the current nouveau Asian kitchen invasion.
3800 Wilshire Blvd Ste 110
Los Angeles, CA 90010
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