Littlefork, the newest project from A-Frame and Sunny Spot owner David Reiss, opens to Hollywood tomorrow evening at 5:00 P.M. Overseen by Sean Knibb, the designer behind both of Reiss' Westside restaurants, this is not your typical Walk-of-Fame adjacent glamor tour awaiting its turn on TMZ. The relatively subdued and medium-sized room is more like a deconstruction of a nuclear family's living quarters, hung in vintage floral print wallpaper, a patio wall buzzing in bright blue light like the world's biggest bug zapper. Little Fork heralds a return to the limelight for chef Jason Travi, the Spago vet who made a big impression on L.A. while working alongside Gino Angelini at La Terza and as the opening executive chef of Fraiche in Culver City. Travi spent some time away away from the scene in 2009 to relish his role as a new father, before tackling numerous consulting gigs and special appearances. Tomorrow, he's back with a personal passion project.
Littlefork's menu finds its inspiration in a North-Atlantic route traced from Travi's native New England (chowder, oyster sliders, whoopie pie, the employ of cider) up to Montreal (poutine, steak frites, a whole lot of maple), mostly forgoing esoterica for a tight, often light, selection providing plenty of elbow room for vegetarians, seafood obsessives, and the cult of smoked meats, with de rigueur players like Brussels sprouts, craft cocktails, and kale salad making their appearances on a menu priced between $4-$27.
It begins, as it probably should, on bar snacks to pair with drinks like a Saskatchwan Summer (rye, cardamom, honey, bitters, and Fernet) and Thai Town Mules, including crispy head cheese, clam cakes, and malt vinegar pork rinds, leading into $10 small plates of five salads and a steak tartare with bacon hollandaise. A seafood selection provides cheeky favorites like clams casino and crispy oyster sliders, as well as two takes on mussels and a steamed, halved snow crab dusted in chermoula and served with a charred lime.
Prior to a roster of vegetable plates, including pumpkin soup and sea salt fries, and entrees like Fraiche's monkfish francaise and a salt-crusted sea bass, the menu's mid-section is devoted to Travi's current obsession with smoking his own meats via applewood, featuring smoked sturgeon with handmade Johnny cakes, brisket brined for over a week aside three different dabs of mustard, and maple ham with whiskey apple compote.
As for dessert, Travi's acclaimed pastry chef wife, Miho, (the two met at that legendary chef matchmaker Spago) is also back in action, consulting on regional sweets like whoopie pies, maple pie, and giant, sugar-sprinkled donuts with an apple cider smear.
Take a look at the space, as well as a few of the dishes we encountered at last night's friends and family service, as littlefork prepares to open its doors tomorrow at 5:00 P.M.
littlefork, 1600 Wilcox Ave. Hollywood; 310-465-3675.