From Santa Monica to Glendale, the city has no shortage of chefs championing seasonal, sustainable ingredients. Standing high among them is Joseph Gillard in Westwood, the Napa Valley Grille chef who was himself farm-raised in Michigan. Last summer, not long after founding a CSA for the community, Gillard made a run at the neighborhood city council, with the firm belief that influential change is accomplished most easily on the local level. What happened?
Gillard lost in his initial bid, but never flagged in his determination to get a seat on the nineteen-person committee. This month, after two members vacated their posts, Gillard stepped in to claim one of the seats, finally giving him a voice in neighborhood politics. Gillard's dedication is just as apparent in his market-driven menus , which he constantly updates to highlight the best of the season. And what's he cooking this summer?
Gillard puts the essence of the season on his plates, and if an ingredient can be made in-house, one should expect that it will be, paired with gorgeous specimens from the nearest farmers market. Right now his menu features housemade pappardelle for a Shelton Farms turkey bolognese. Sunchokes and fava beans with a rainbow of heirloom carrots for a fava agnolotti. Catalina day boat swordfish and Loch Duart salmon. Asparagus with a throwback green goddess dressing. Flatbread with pancetta from La Quercia and Drake Farm goat cheese or local petite zucchini. A pork chop from Salmon Creek with pork belly hash, killer kale salad, and some seriously kick-ass beef jerky the chef makes himself with star anise and a thorough dusting of hot pepper.
With cooking always his primary passion, we won't lose Gillard to city politics anytime soon. Still, with the hyper-seasonal chef always on the cusp of what's freshest, if anything catches your fancy on his summer menu, you may want to grab it before the next update goes down. See Napa Valley Grille's current menu below.
Napa Valley Grille, 1100 Glendon Ave. Westwood. 310-824-3322.
Summer Corn Soup corn salad 4.00 l 7.00
Pacific Northwest Oysters kusshi WA 3.00 ea | paradise WA 3.00 ea | skookum WA 3.00 ea
Crispy Squash Blossoms herb ricotta cheese, smoky tomato sauce 13.25 CF Farm
Zucchini Flatbread arugula pesto, local petite zucchini, smoked mozzarella, dry black olives 12.75 CF Farm
Pancetta Flatbread la quercia pancetta, charred sweet onion, sautéed summer greens, local goat cheese 13.00 Drake Farm (goat cheese)
Harvest Platter prosciutto, salami, coppa, house pickles, marinated tomatoes, burrata cheese 14.75
Beet Salad watercress, sour orange vinaigrette, avocado yogurt, crumbled feta cheese 10.75
Classic Caesar Salad shaved parmesan 10.75 with grilled chicken, shrimp, or salmon 16.75
Kale Chopped Salad quinoa, toasted almonds, parmesan cheese, golden raisins, lemon vinaigrette 10.75 CF Farm
Asparagus Salad soft poached egg, crispy prosciutto, butter lettuce, green goddess dressing 11.50
Jasper Hill Farm Bayley Hazen Blue raw cow | Central Coast Creamery Seascape goat & cow
Nicasio Valley Nicasio Square organic cow | Nicasio Valley Loma Alta organic cow
Carr Valley Cheese Co. Cave Aged Marissa raw sheep
three 15.00 | five 24.00
Ahi Tuna citrus vinaigrette 21.00
8oz CAB Flat Iron onion marmalade 25.00
16 oz CAB Natural T-Bone onion marmalade 29.00
Catalina Day Boat Swordfish grilled meyer lemon 19.00
Loch Duart Salmon puttanesca sauce 21.00
Local California Seabass citrus vinaigrette 29.00
Roasted Beets and Carrots orange butter 6.00
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes roasted garlic 6.00
Garlic Fries parsley, sea salt 5.00
California Delta Asparagus anchovy butter 6.00
Broccolini garlic, shallots 6.00
Sweet Corn chipotle butter 6.00
NVG Burger natural angus beef, smoked cheddar cheese, house made milk bun, fries 16.75
Fava Bean Agnolotti colorful carrots, roasted sunchoke, fava leaves 10.00 | 19.00
Turkey Bolognese house made pappardelle pasta, shelton farms turkey, grana parmesan 10.50 | 20.00
Wild Alaskan Halibut sweet corn salad succotash, smoked paprika vinaigrette 31.00
Salmon Creek Farm Pork Chop pork belly hash, fingerling potato, roasted sunchoke, peach agro dolce 24.00 Troy Reiger Farm
Wild Diver Scallops local carrot puree, citrus vinaigrette 14.50 | 29.00
BBQ Braised Beef Short Rib creamy grits, sweet corn salad, bbq jus 19.00