Fall Restaurant Preview: Where and What To Eat

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Obika comes to Century City this fall Photo: Tatiana Arbogast

An exciting three months of restaurant openings lies before L.A., momentarily distracting our mouths from foaming for the promise of Nancy Silverton's burgers, LudoBites 6.0, and closely guarded expansions from Michael Voltaggio, Walter Manzke, Steven Fretz, and Animal. This fall will see SBE jumping deeper into the restaurant game with Cleo at The Redbury, John Rivera Sedlar doubling down on his culinary world tour at R26, Thierry Perez bringing a fat slice of Europe to Culver City with L'Epicerie, Steven Arroyo stripping down to the tortilla at Escuela, breakout efforts from Jordan Kahn's Red Medicine, Jeff Cerciello's FarmShop, and Bryant Eng's Spice Table, plus a completely new concept from Father's Office chef Sang Yoon. Elsewhere, another Top Chef will come to town when Jamie Lauren joins Beechwood, while another rush of imports like Scarpetta, the showy Supper Club, and Obika will plunk down and treat L.A. just like it's Vegas. Southeast Asian flavors and more house-made charcuterie appear to be prominent trends, while the re-imagining of New York's Ratner's Deli promises to pack some unforeseen surprises. Enjoy our guide to L.A.'s fall openings and please report back to us on what you look forward to the most.

SEPTEMBER

Name: Big Bar
Address: 1929 Hillhurst Ave. Los Feliz. 323-644-0100.
Concept: Craft cocktails employing house-made syrups, fresh herbs and fruit, and top shelf bottles aim to make a splash on the ever-swanky concourse of Los Feliz.
Why We're Excited: The latest local embrace of mixology comes attached to Alcove Café, putting the swerve into their already swinging neighborhood bungalow.
Related: Alcove Cafe Planning Big Bar in Los Feliz [Grub Street]

Name: Cleo
Address: 1717 Vine St. Hollywood at The Redbury Hotel.
Concept: Engineered to be a Hollywood hot spot, likely with an Entourage appearance already written into some contract co-signed by Sam Nazarian. Serving lunch, dinner, and late-night menus of mezze, small plates of meat, seafood, and vegetables, with house-made lafa flatbreads, specialty dishes cooked in a stone oven, a raw bar, salads, and vegetarian fare from chef Danny Elmaleh.
Why We're Excited: This is SBE's first original dining concept, having managed operations for The Baazar, Gladstone's, Katsuya, and XIV in the past. Whether you applaud the glossy company's efforts to run on a new playing field or think it reflects the worst aspects of our nightlife culture, watching Cleo thrive or fail should be a perfect thermometer for the state of Hollywood fine dining attempts.
Related: SBE Opening Cleo at The Redbury This [Grub Street]

Name: Escuela
Address: 308 N. Stanley Ave. Hollywood.
Concept: Restaurateur-about-town Steven Arroyo downscales for a simple, high-quality taco shop with aguas frescas, tortas, and daily burrito recipes.
Why We're Excited: The man acknowledges that a taqueria's greatest essential is hand-made tortillas, plus his grilled-on-the-spot meats were excellent during a sneak preview at East L.A. Meets Napa.
Related: Steven Arroyo Going Totally Loco For Tortillas at Esquela [Grub Street]

Name: L'Epicerie
Address: 9900 Culver Blvd. Culver City.
Concept: A combination restaurant, bakery, deli, and gourmet market serving a gamut of European classics (crepes and Belgian waffles for brunch, coq au vin and paella over dinner) from Thierry Perez, formerly of Fraiche and Riva.
Why We're Excited: The market and restaurant will be split by a tasting bar with samples of cheese, wine, and charcuterie.
Related: Thierry Perez Planning L'Epicerie [Grub Street]

Name: Lukson
Address: 8800 Venice Blvd. Culver City at Helms Bakery Complex.
Concept: Sang Yoon opts to bypass another Father's Office for a new restaurant serving a wide spread of Asian dishes, inspired by the chef's travels. Belgian ales will be paired with a short selection of dishes.
Why We're Excited: The man responsible for igniting our craft beer movement and selling a zillion copies of his well-researched ode to the burger will be pushing another one of his passions. Being the perfectionist that he is, the results are bound to be more than just ego-stroking, even if the lines to find out might be unendurable.
Related: Sang Yoon Confirms Lukshon [Grub Street]

Name: Obikà
Address: 10250 Santa Monica Blvd #206. Westfield Century City. 310-556-2452.
Concept: Rome's temple of fresh mozzarella finally adds a SoCal locale for casual Italian indulgence at the Century City mall.
Why We're Excited: Three times a week owner Silvio Ursini will import a special stash of D.O.P. mozzarella di Bufala, hand-made by dairy farmers in Italy's Paestum and Agro Pontino region. Italian beer, antipasti, and salumi will mingle at a 22-seat mozzarella bar.
Related: More Imported Mall Madness is Coming With Obika [Grub Street]

Name: Red Medicine
Address: 8400 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills.
Concept: Contemporary, family-style Vietnamese from Jordan Kahn (French Laundry, Per Se) plus cocktails and mock-tails like five-spice horchata by co-owner Noah Ellis, both veterans of Michael Mina.
Why We're Excited: Kahn's strange, visionary dessert at L.A.'s StarChefs Gala won him the night's Best Dish and made a few hundred L.A. foodies hungry to follow his next move. Well-thought out, sophisticated Southeast Asian could be a blessing to the Westside and we have a feeling they'll veer off that path for dishes that speak to the city's imagination and appetite.
Related: Jordan Kahn, Noah Ellis, and Umami Don Unite for Red Medicine [Grub Street]

Name: Rolling Stone
Address: Hollywood Blvd. and Highland, Hollywood.
Concept: The famous magazine slithers onto Hollywood Blvd. with its first hospitality venture decked out in black brick and leather and vintage furniture. A menu of "twisted" American cuisine will be served in a room fit for 500 people, in addition to a live music venue and street-level nightclub.
Why We're Excited: It will be interesting to see who takes to the magazine's curious new brand expansion strategy. Will it work? Will it lose its mojo to a new Hard Rock Café coming to the same location with twice the space?
Related: Rolling Stone Plans a Hollywood Restaurant and Club [Grub Street]

Name: Wine Expo Tasting Room
Address: 2933 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica. 310-828-4428.
Concept: Three rooms to sample wine, salumi, and cheese tastings.
Why We're Excited: These serious Italian wine and tequila aficionados have poured their heart into this passion project that should make perfect use of the knowledge and carefully-curated collection that have made them a neighborhood staple long before BevMo! Sunk its hooks into the neighborhood.
Related: Wine Expo Reveals Its Tasting Room [Grub Street]

Name: Mas Malo
Address: 515 W. Seventh St., Downtown.
Concept: Sister restaurant to the Silver Lake fresh Mexican staple.
Why We're Excited: Could bridge the gap between Downtown's super high-end restaurants (Rivera) and the neighborhood's umpteen taco stands. Will more likely provide booze-sponges for Seventh Street's ever growing party zone.

Name: Supper Club
Address: 6675 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood.
Concept: An 800-person capacity restaurant and entertainment venue serving ever-changing four-course menus of locally-driven cuisine. Performances will also morph nightly under the direction of former Cirque du Soleil coordinator Philip Solomon.
Why We're Excited: A full dinner and show for $75 doesn't sound unreasonable, while the improvisation fits L.A.'s growing taste for pop-ups and creative fusion. Plus, the green-thinking goes beyond the menu, with solar panels providing energy to the space, 100% of food-waste composted, and even cleaning products being produced from unused citrus.
Related: Supperclub coming to Hollywood in September [Grub Street]

OCTOBER

Name: Beechwood
Address: 822 Washington Blvd, Venice.
Concept: Top Chef contestant Jamie Lauren will join the kitchen after leaving San Francisco's Absinthe Bar and Brasserie.
Why We're Excited: Lauren is well-regarded, having won "Rising Star" accolades locally and nationally, and she plans to refresh the menu at this locally loved gastro-pub.
Related: Top Chef's Jamie Lauren Named Beechwood's New Exec Chef [Grub Street]

Name: Bru's Wiffle
Address: 2408 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica.
Concept: A waffle joint of ambitious, strange recipes from a native of Turkey.
Why We're Excited: Could curry chicken waffles and meatball-stuffed pizza waffles overtake the popularity of chicken and waffles?
Related: Bru's Wiffle Unleashing Meatball Marinara and Chicken Curry Waffles in September [Grub Street]

Name: Farmshop
Address: 225 26th St. Santa Monica. at Brentwood Country Mart
Concept: A gourmet market, butcher, bakery, larder, and café from Jeff Cerciello, the longtime dining director to Thomas Keller's empire and once an apprentice at El Bulli.
Why We're Excited: Cerciello has a sterling reputation as one of the men behind "The Best Chef in America" and his breakout project will probably reflect as much calculation and expertise as the new Bouchon, as well as some of the same cast, but with farm freshness in place of the pomp. Plus, eat your heart out Thomas, this one has a bakery!
Related: Jeff Cerciello Will Open Brentwood's FarmShop in July [Grub Street]

Name: R26
Address: 7360 Beverly Blvd. West Hollywood.
Concept: Casual small plates restaurant influenced by 26 different regions within Central America, South America, Mexico, the Hispanic Caribbean and Spain.
Why We're Excited: The ambitious Sedlar, who combines art, history, social commentary, and cultural homage among his stunning pan-Latin plates at Rivera, is quite possibly L.A.'s most important chef right now. Plus, more incredible cocktails from Julian Cox.
Related: New Rivera Restaurant Will Be Pan-Latin R-26 [Grub Street]

Name: Scarpetta
Address: 225 North Cannon Dr. Beverly Hills. 310-860-7970.
Concept: Star chef Scott Conant brings his refined, acclaimed seasonal Italian restaurant from Manhattan to The Montage at Beverly Hills.
Why We're Excited: We're dying to try his signature roasted goat with rapini, panchetta, and potatoes that helped score the restaurant three stars in New York Magazine, a dish Adam Platt called "tender as ever."
Related: Scarpetta Coming to Montage Beverly Hills [Grub Street]

Name: Wonderland Bakery
Address: The Grove
Concept: Newport's trippy, tooth-achingly saccharine cookie and cake maker construct its own Candyland in an L.A. mall, this one at four times the size of the original. Planned as a massive destination for tea parties and custom desserts.
Why We're Excited: Looks to be a fun place to bring the kids, Disney-freaks, or anyone else who still might refer to themselves as a princess on occasion. A pre-tween Royal/T perhaps? Owner Allyson Ames started the mega-empire-in-the-making before she was in her teens and we admire hustle.
Related: Allyson Ames Bringing Wonderland to The Grove [Grub Street]

NOVEMBER And Beyond

Name: Brooklyn Water Bagel Co.
Address: 262 South Beverly Dr. Beverly Hills.
Concept: A breakfast concept from Florida seeking to appeal to those New Yorkers who constantly complain they can't get good bagels in L.A. The chain claims to "Brooklynize" its water in a 14-part treatment.
Why We're Excited: It will be another place to pin down partner Larry King in the morning and might shut some of those whiny transplants up if it's any good.
Related: Larry King Turns Beverly Hills Bagel King [Grub Street]

Name: L.A. Creamery
Address: 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd. Suite #1044. Canoga Park. 323-782-9800.
Concept: Twelve rotating flavors of artisan ice-cream from former BLT Steak and Café Del Rey pastry chef Jessica Goryl.
Why We're Excited: Adults-only, booze-spiked flavors like milk chocolate Guinness.
Related: L.A. Creamery Planned in Canoga Park and Glendale [Grub Street]

Name: Larry's on Windward
Address: 22 Windward Way Venice.
Concept: A casual, take-out focused restaurant named after artist Larry Bell with "hang-space" on a patio just steps from the beach owned by the team behind Hotel Erwin.
Why We're Excited: The beach city's affluent transformation has primarily stuck to Abbot-Kinney, but a Spacecraft design bodes for a Hollywood-style takeover of the proudly ragtag boardwalk. Will locals flock or frown?
Related: Spacecraft Eyes Venice With "Windward" [Grub Street]
Spacecraft Designing Larry's on Windward in Venice [Eater]

Name: Ratner's
Address: 8480 West 3rd Street. West Hollywood.
Concept: The Los Angeles translation of New York's now shuttered 100-year-old Lower East Side delicatessen. The project of sports agent and San Luis Obispo native Will Ratner (Beso, Kitchen 24), it promises a clever, reinvented take on Jewish deli classics for a late-night crowd.
Why We're Excited: A celebrity chef is promised in the kitchen. Probably won't be Michael Voltaggio, but maybe it will be Saul Cooperstein, an associate of Voltaggio's who combined gastronomic whimsy with deli favorites at BreadBar for a recent night.
Related: What's new and Coming to Third Street? [Grub Street]

Name: Spice Table
Address: 114 S. Central Ave. Downtown.
Concept: Southeast Asian sandwiches for lunch, with all elements made in-house. A stress on the recipes of Singapore plus satays, curries, stews, and noodles for dinner.
Why We're Excited: The breakout restaurant of chef Bryant Ng, a Daniel-vet and the chef de cuisine at Pizzeria Mozza when it opened. The L.A. native's passion is heightened by a wood-burning hearth.
Related: Mozza/Daniel Vet Opening Singaporean Spice Table [Grub Street]

Name: Sweet Lady Jane
Address: 1631 Montana Ave. Santa Monica
Concept: After twenty-plus years, the West Hollywood bakery is building a Westside store.
Why We're Excited: It never hurts to have more high-quality sweet-stuff spread throughout our streets.
Related: Sweet Lady Jane Expanding West After 22 Years [Grub Street]

Name: Villeta
Address: 246 26th St. Santa Monica.
Concept: Southern Italian cuisine and cocktails distributed amongst two houses and a gorgeous courtyard.
Why We're Excited: Chez Mimi is headed to another space, leaving behind a stunning spread for New York chef Pippa Calland (Li Madri, Poetessa) to move in and compete on the Italian-heavy battleground of Brentwood.
Earlier: Southern Italian Villetta Coming to Former Chez Mimi Space This Fall [Grub Street]