"I feel like a jack-in-the-box that's somebody's been cranking and cranking, and finally the top just broke," Michael Voltaggio explained with palpable energy yesterday about the frustration he's felt in not being able to open his restaurant ink. sooner. But the usual delays did not slow down the chef's ambition or mind, as he sprang a big surprise on the assembled media: he is opening another restaurant next to ink. called ink.sack, a neighborhood sandwich shop with low prices and very original takes on lunchtime classics (including a sandwich named for Jose Andres). Not only that, he's opening it tomorrow! The Top Chef winner and opening chef de cuisine of The Bazaar gave a tour of both ink.sack and ink. Come take a look at both of the spaces, the sandwiches, and the homemade ice cream that are bound to make this one of the busiest blocks on Melrose in the coming weeks in this slideshow peek at ink. and ink.sack.
Voltaggio's new sandwich shop, opening tomorrow at suite 107 of 8360 Melrose Ave. The restaurant will be open Wednesdays to Sundays, 11:00-5:00 P.M. , to start.
Explains that he gets bored when he gets a big sandwich or steak, so he's keeping his sandwiches at ink.sack smaller and affordable to allow guests to try a variety and avoid palate fatigue.
Voltaggio, the frutero
The chef noted that the food at ink.sack resembles the kind of thing he might do in a food truck, though he can't do what he does on the road. Guests will be served his compressed fruit in a bag, like the kind you buy from street-side fruteros, allowing you to eat your fruit anywhere, since ink.sack is a tiny space without chairs.
Miso-cured albacore with sriracha mayo and wild rice.
Cold Fried Chicken Sandwich
This combination of crispy chicken skin, smooth chicken liver, housemade ranch, and gindos spice was a crowd favorite. L.A.'s number one foodie Jo Maxwell Stougaard of My Last Bite gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up.
As you can see, the short selection of original sandwiches keeps prices between four and six dollars. Everything is made in house by Michael and his crew, except for the ingredients that make up The Jose Andres, aka "The Spanish Godfather," a combination of Serrano, chorizo, lomo, and manchego. Voltaggio, who has the words "HARDWORK" tatted on his hand, also promises that he'll absolutely be at both restaurants, so look for him running around on Melrose all day.
Beef Tongue Reuben
With Russian dressing, kraut, and appenzeller cheese. Voltaggio says he has been collaborating with a local bakery on the bread.
With his construction of pork cheek, chicharonnes, and pickled veggies, Voltaggio has his finger on the pulse of what L.A. eats. We've seen more than a few places charging ten and eleven dollars for sandwiches this size. Let's hope ink.sack puts an end to that.
Sandwiches will come in a bag with your name on it.
Voltaggio assembling ice cream sandwiches. Ice cream is made in house, as are the cookies.
Ice Cream Sandwiches
Putting horchata ice cream together with Mexican chocolate chip cookies.
PB & J
Peanut butter cookies with grape ice cream.
Voltaggio encourages people to write on the walls, as in this piece by his artist friend who has done tattoo work for him. He's told Grub Street in the past how much he loves his adopted hometown and yesterday we were proud to hear him say he feels like he should have lived here all his life.
The chef expresses excitement in his ambitious new restaurant, coming in September.
At 8360 Melrose, Suite 1, a building owned by Michael Ovitz, who is a partner in ink.
The chef explained that ink. was short for incorporated, as he seeks to make this a permanent business. In addition to a possible allusion to his own ink, he also said the restaurant would be a sort of Rorschach test that would make diners analyze their sensory experience.
Ink. is fairly sparse, with the occasional flourish. Voltaggio says more art is due for the walls before September's opening, but that the space will be simple, so as not to distract from the food.
Voltaggio says he has a very respected bartender coming to ink., though he can't tell us yet, as the person's still at their job. Behind the bar, which is still coming together, one can see what will become a chef's table for Voltaggio's omakase-style meals.
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