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Sensi Magazine

Beautiful Bites

Aug 29, 2019 08:21PM ● By Dawn Garcia
Los Angeles might very well have the greatest culinary terrain on the planet. Amid 4,751 square miles, LA is no stranger to cuisine representing nearly every culture and ethnicity, boasting a journey of flavor that rivals much of the global culinary stage. In our sea of tasty eateries, bars, and even food trucks, our love of pretty things is exemplified in many of our chefs’ creations. In all the beautiful food we get to so readily consume in our great city, beauty is not spoon deep. The following restaurants are simply designed, bright and welcoming, and have menus that refuse to take the ingredients for granted. Now, that is beautiful.

HATCH 
700 W. 7th St., Ste. G600 (DTLA) // HATCHYAKITORI.COM
HATCH Yakitori is a neighborhood eatery simply decorated with black tones and rich woods. The distinguishing cuisine, interesting Don’t Get Cocky bar program, and menu devoted to the art of Japanese yakitori offer a unique culinary experience. With seats at the bar and ample indoor and outdoor restaurant seating, HATCH is a refreshing departure from the traditional Japanese cuisine we’re used to. Located inside the Bloc, HATCH’s must order menu items include black karaage chicken made using squid ink and grilled lime; smoky seaweed salad; the eggplant and miso stick; Hamachi with yuzu kosho and ponzu; and anything off of the continually evolving cocktail menu with an emphasis on the Yuzu Sour and Tokyo Drift (which are aces). HATCH also serves a wealth of sakes, wines, and craft beer. The sweet finish: flan-tastic.

Bone Kettle
67 N. Raymond Ave. (Pasadena) // BONEKETTLE.COM
Leading the culinary charge at the family-owned Bone Kettle is chef Erwin Tjahyadi, who was recently named one of Zagat’s “30 Under 30” chefs to watch. After apprenticeships under Wolfgang Puck and Trey Foshee, Tjahyadi has crafted a menu that encompasses his travels throughout Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, and is all about togetherness and stories told through cuisine. A few exceptional items are the fall-off-the-bone beef ribs served with bone marrow just fried onions topped with herbs; gado gado (omit the quail eggs for a vegetarian option); and fried potato ball krokets made with ground beef, carrots, peas, and a pop of sweet pepper Hoisin sauce to give Porto’s famous potato balls a run for the money. The sweet finish: cassava cake with cube ice cream.

Gracias Madres
8905 Melrose Ave. (West Hollywood) // GRACIASMADREWEHO.COM
If you want upscale vegetarian and vegan Mexican food, Gracias Madre is ground zero. Chef Chandra Gilbert believes we are what we eat, and uses only local ingredients from Be Love Farm. The menu is as whimsical as the space itself, offering plant-based twists on Mexican classics. The restaurant serves brunch, lunch, and dinner and has a cocktail program led by Maxwell Reis that serves small batch primo tequilas and mezcals. The dishes are made to appease the appetite and the eyes. Some can’tmiss dishes are sweet corn dusted in pumpkin seed Parmesan; beer-battered portobello tacos with paprika aioli; and enchiladas verde, made with zucchini, avocado, tomatillo, and potato and topped with cashew crema. For cocktails, try the Suffering Madre, El Pastor Old Fashioned, or La Quineañera. The sweet finish: lime avocado mousse.

Ostrich Farm
1525 Sunset Blvd. (Echo Park) // OSTRICHFARMLA.COM
Walking into Ostrich Farm, away from crowded Sunset Boulevard, is like taking a deep breath. The light green hues and white walls set the tone for a relaxing meal. The menu consists of American fare, locally sourced and cooked on a wood-fire grill. While the dishes are mainly vegetarian, Ostrich Farm does serve meat and seafood dishes as well. Highlights include sweet potato, swiss chard, quinoa, grilled halloumi, and chimichurri bowl; warm olives bathing in rosemary and lemon zest; and grilled lamb chops with roasted apricots, crispy chickpeas, and spiced yogurt. Ostrich Farm also has an impressive cocktail program. Try the Rhum Floradora, Autumn Daisy, or Lucinda. The sweet finish: chocolate mousse pie.