HOME TO CLEAN & CHOICE CUISINE IN A COMFY SETTING
Amid the hustle and bustle of Melrose Avenue near busy Vine Street, is the calming and comfy confine of The Larchmont—for those seeking refuge with stellar food and drinks. From owners Mathew Cape, Spoon Singh and Robert Kass, along with Chef Cody Diegel (formerly of Magnolia, and Caulfield’s), the newly revamped Larchmont is a two-story craftsmen style restaurant that offers a staple of Californian farm-to-table fare for the refined palate.
Whether you’re seated inside with its charming homey vibe, or outside where you can imagine the sounds of passing cars as waves crashing at the beach, The Larchmont offers a relaxing, light and breezy, yet clean and sophisticated, beach bungalow atmosphere.
“We really want guests to feel at home at The Larchmont,” says founder Mathew Cape. “The area is comprised of so many great neighborhoods and businesses and we are very much looking forward to serving our guests.”
During our recent visit for dinner, we started with cocktails out on the deck. The French Revolution, made with vodka, lemon, orgeat, and blood orange, is a little too sweet for my taste but will probably be spot-on for someone looking for a nice, fresh drink with a sugary finish.
The Bonded Fashioned, however, made with bourbon, cherry, orange and bitters, is a damn good drink right up my stiff-loving alley. This is a great take on the popular Old Fashioned and is the perfect way to start a night out.
If you’re looking for small plates to share or just for a quick bite to go with drinks, the
Kale Salad with pistachios, apples, faro, citrus and parmigiano reggiano is amazing and very clean.
Another favorite is the Mussels a la cagouille with sizzling butter. This is a good sized dish than can serve as your meal or ideal to share, especially with a glass of 2011 Verdicchio, Colle Stefano, Marche, a personal favorite and one that I was happy to see on the wine menu.
The Braised Pork Belly with sweet onions, oyster mushrooms and sherry reduction is also excellent, but it’s gone in two small (yet satisfying) bites.
Time to order entrees, we went for another round of drinks first, and had the Southern Circles, made with rum, lemon, ginger, honey, and orange bitters, which offered a relaxed and fresh taste, and The Mexican Tourist, a fiery mix of mezcal, lime, pineapple, orgeat, and Thai pepper, which was chock full of mezcal goodness. This is a mean drink so be careful, but it is loaded with a wonderful, smoky flavor.
From the Large plates menu, the Moroccan Braised Lamb Shoulder with couscous, chermoula and fried almonds is a winner. The meat is tender and so savory. This would go great with a nice glass of red wine, or even The Bonded Fashioned or Mexican Tourist.
And of course we had to go with the house specialty, a dish that simply ruled over the summer, the Branzino—European seabass. Filleted and stuffed with fresh fennel, sliced garlic and tomato confit, and served pan roasted with crispy skin, the fish is served reassembled with roasted fingerling potatoes, fried heirloom tomatoes, arugula dressed in lemon and extra virgin olive oil and picholine olive tapenade. The presentation is really stellar. This is a must-have order that’s perfect for pescatarians or anyone looking for a healthier option. It’s light and yet very hearty, and goes so well with the aforementioned 2011 Verdicchio. Definitely pair it with the Crispy Brussel Sprouts with gremolata and parmigiano reggiano. Delish!
There aren’t too many fine dining destination spots off the Larchmont Village path, and The Larchmont really does offer a welcome respite from the rat race in a lovely setting that feels like home. The killer drinks and fine fare only makes time spent there better.
The Larchmont is located at 5750 Melrose Ave. Lunch: 11 am to 3 pm, Monday – Friday; Dinner: 6 pm to 11 pm Monday – Saturday; closed Sundays. Call 323-464-4277.
By: Jose Martinez