This morning we got a shout from chef Adam Horton, who recently departed Saddle Peak Lodge after nine years and just got back from a month in Thailand where he says he ate his "way north to south." Tomorrow, Horton officially starts his new gig as the executive chef at Studio City's Raphael. Horton is bringing some of the kitchen talent from Saddle Peak to his new job, such as pastry chef Kasra Ajdari, the maker of that chicken skin dessert at Test Kitchen, along with his sous chef, Heather Bogue, who recently left to open The Cosmopolitan in Vegas but has returned to L.A. At first, the chef will get organized while executing the current offerings here, but he promises that come April, he will start making "aggressive menu changes" to compliment the restaurant's new liquor license and interior renovations.
Right now, Horton foresees an upscale, but "very casual" lunch and late-night dinner menu served seven days a week, along with a fine-dining dinner that keeps prices affordable. The chef explains that his menu will be "somewhat progressive American," meaning it will demonstrate American cooking with many of the international influences our country is lucky to have, along with world techniques and influences that stay true to Raphael's original international concept. Horton says, "You will likely see many dishes which borrow techniques from across the globe and come together cohesively. My plan is to make it pretty expansive."
Now that a full liquor license is in place, the restaurant has also expanded to 100 seats from 60. With the well-known Horton in place, Raphael faces a new, second birth of sorts, one likely to have many more eyes on its reinvention and cuisine. Expect Horton to begin tomorrow and a new menu to surface sometime in April.
Raphael, 11616 Ventura Blvd. Studio City. 818-505-3337.
Earlier: Adam Horton Landing at An Expanded Raphael in Studio City [Grub Street]
Chris Kufek Assuming Adam Horton's Position at Saddle Peak Lodge [Grub Street]