As expected, Benjamin Bailly's cooking at Cliff's Edge was tight, shifting the Silver Lake restaurant from an atmospheric neighborhood haunt to a dining destination we'd drive across town for, just to eat his lavender pistachio beets and update on raie au beurre noir. For whatever reason (you can take your pick from Eater's comments about the young chef's temperament), Bailly was not long to be at the restaurant and was recently replaced by Vartan Abgaryan, the 30-year-old chef who got his start at Andre Soltner's legendary New York restaurant Lutece then toiled under Tim Goodell as the chef at Red Pearl Kitchen, then later left Newport's A Restaurant, to rejoin Goodell as executive chef at Hollywood's Public Kitchen and Bar. Abgaryan just finalized his first new menu for Cliff's Edge, a selection of winter-inspired recipes that we have below for your first look.
"My main focus on this first menu change was on seasonal and thoughtful dishes," the chef says. "As time goes on, I feel I can slowly fine tune and refine the menu, which will be strongly responsive to the seasons and the market."
Retaining a few of Public's heartier influences (the restaurant is always content to put an egg on everything and widely embraces offal), Abgaryan's ingredient-specific approach also makes room for distinct Mediterranean influences and flirtations with Californian love affairs, using local ingredients to accent unique meat, robust vegetarian, and bright seafood plates.
Intriguing dishes include rabbit rillettes with cranberry and cardamom-spiced water, duck egg with a crumb crust and maple braised bacon, oxtail galette with spicy pickled squash, gnudi with Jersey ricotta, chestnut, parsnips, nutmeg and brown butter, za'atar chicken with salsify, roasted venison loin with huckleberries, and roasted ras el hanout cauliflower with dates and preserved lemons. The chef is also updating some of Bailly's contributions, as in his own take on skate wing in vadouvan, with cilantro and lime.
Check out Abgaryan's full new winter menu at Cliff's Edge, below.
AMERICAN CHEESES selection of 3 | fruit and nut bread | honey
CURED MEATS selection of 3 | pickled things | mustard | table bread
POTATO FRITTERS 3 cheeses | tarragon | lemon aioli
BRUSSELS SPROUTS fried | hazelnuts | saba | horseradish | lemon | yogurt
CHICKEN LIVER TERRINE candied kumquat | grainy mustard | table bread
RABBIT rillettes | cranberry | mustard | cardamom spiced wafer
LITTLE GEM LETTUCES salad | endive | pistachio | candied kumquat
BLACK KALE salad | almonds | pickled raisins | parmesan | breadcrumbs
BUTTERNUT SQUASH roasted | sheep’s milk ricotta | crisp rapini leaves | honey
ARTICHOKE grilled | preserved tomato | lemon | manchego | coriander
HAMACHI raw | persimmon | meyer lemon | fresno chile | mustard seeds
OCTOPUS charred | fennel | grapefruit | smoked paprika
DUCK EGG crispy | capshell mushroom | arugula | maple braised bacon
OXTAIL galette | fried egg | horseradish cream | spicy pickled squash
GNUDI bellwether farm’s jersey ricotta | parsnip | chestnut | nutmeg | brown butter
CAULIFLOWER roasted | ras el hanout | dates | preserved lemon | spiced granola
BAY SCALLOP poached | smoked ham broth | sunchoke | sweet garlic | scallion
MUSSELS steamed | riesling | shallots | garlic | lemongrass | crème fraiche
SKATE WING roasted | cauliflower | vadouvan | cilantro | lime
MONKFISH roasted | chorizo | squash risotto | baby leek
CHICKEN roasted | za’atar | mantequilla olives | salsify | sweet potato
LAMB sausage | ancient grains | pomegranate | lemon | parsley | lebni
VENISON roasted | loin | beets | black peppercorn | huckleberry
FLAT IRON STEAK grilled | bone marrow butter | french fries