While I caught a peek of the new Marina del Rey restaurant’s interior and fare through one of the Best New Chef reunion dinners brought to Paiche by Food GPS (Portland’s Naomi Pomeroy was guest chef), last night was the first time I got a real taste of Ricardo Zarate’s new menu, taking center stage, thanks to a lucky invite to Friends & Family night.
While I love living in Hollywood, sometimes you have to acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of living in a town that’s the notorious destination for clubs, live acts, theatre and just plain drinking. And as a resident, I’m so glad that David Reiss’ (A-Frame, Sunny Spot) new place featuring the wares of Jason Travi (Spago, Fraiche, La Terza) is here. Littlefork is a clear selection that sits under the “positives of Hollywood” column. (If you’ve ever eaten at the former Korean BBQ spot, which happens to lie spitting distance from arguably the best concentration of Korean food in the world, I’ll try not to judge you.)
One of my strategies toÂ eating around New York on an indispensible budgetÂ is to do lunch well – especially if the dinner entrees of a desired restaurantÂ tend to hit a higher price point. Lincoln, however, was not to fall under that game plan. Sam Kim said, “It’s THE opening of Fall .” So I secured a reservation three weeks prior to opening and four before I boarded for JFK. It is a special place that, upon approach and even closer look, was designed to seamlessly blend into Lincoln Center. It is successful, indeed – etymologically and aesthetically, inside and out. It’s a masterpieceÂ complete with a sloped,Â grass-coveredÂ roof that doubles as a lawn.
I had two dinner companions, and we all agreed that the feel of the space was uniquely pleasant. Beautiful.Â “It’s like how an airport is supposed to feel,” my friend Robbie said. The pristine, glass-encased kitchen highlighted the excellent service we received all night in an impeccably casual, yet elegant,Â ambiance. Through theÂ glass walls,Â I admired Jonathan Benno – previously Chef de CuisineÂ at Per Se forÂ 6 years – as he sent out each dish. The servers’ pace was expedient but never hurried.
We were artfully presented with thin crisps – seasoned with things delightful and elusive to my memory – before a perfect selection of three varieties of bread. The butter, made with 83% Vermont buttercream, was some of the best I have ever had. Our appetizer, a perfectly seared sea scallop with almonds and sunchoke smear, was a delicious departure and made me excited for more.