Yesterday Studio City welcomed the second location of the chimerical modern Asian restaurant named Take a Bao (just in case you needed any evidence that food trucks are influencing our restaurant nomenclature), now open on Ventura Boulevard. Take a Bao's market-lead, mutated Eastern cooking shows a spin on just about everything Asian and edible, like its tofu popcorn with cilantro-cashew chutney and drunken tomato tamarind noodles mixing with bao buns rolled flat and stuffed with Muscovy duck leg confit and pork loin and pate in an arrangement of banh mi, in addition to salads, curries, banana-steamed fish, and Thai fried chicken, all bearing inventive ingredients that should strike a chord if the execution is up to L.A.'s standards.
Executive chef Gavin Portsmouth is a New York vet recently returned to Los Angeles several years after a stint as chef de cuisine at Brentwood's Zax (after Brooke Williamson's departure, but still a few years before she would enshroud her talents among the funk of oh-so-many gastrobars).
This new Take a Bao, part of a projected fast-casual chain founded by three business-dudes of European ancestry, was designed by MASS Architecture's Ana Henton, with a very contemporary, streamlined look of glass, concrete, and metal, and an open kitchen for watching the buns in action. Better yet, there's booze and a lot of it, whether in house cocktails, wine, or a small menu of beer floats.
Take a Bao, 11838 Ventura Blvd. Studio City. 818-691-7223.