There are certain chefs who seem to just get the way we want to eat. Travis Lett at Gjelina, Warren Schwartz at Westside Tavern, Susanne Goin and Andre Guerrero at any of their restaurants all come to mind; and Gary Menes at Marche. Coming back from a late afternoon appointment in Woodland Hills, I decided to forego the trip over the hill to WLA and stopped in on the latest evolution of what once was Max and Max Bistro. The small room has been opened up with the once isolated front patio not part of the proceedings as well as the inclusion of what was a semi private booth and small bar area. Dark woods and amber tones create a warm effect and classic Miles Davis nicely entertains in the background. A friend had warned that the small plate format seemed pricey but for $29 (the price of an entree in most quality houses), I started with an addicting "pig candy" (caramelized maple, brown sugar and bacon) for $4, went on to a nicely composed and satisfying Heirloom tomato and arugula salad for $10 and an absolutely wonderful melt in your mouth pork belly with parsnip puree for $15. A wonderful homemade sourdough dinner roll and sliced Ciabatta like bread complemented the proceedings. And if the image of Jamie Oliver in the back of my mind shouting, "Stop already!" wasn't enough, I finished with an $8 warm chocolate souffle cake with a salted caramel center and vanilla ice cream removing any chance that I might stop at the new Menchie's yogurt shop clogging up the corner traffic. Service from the greeting at the door to the delivery of the bread was about as good as I've found anywhere - professional, caring, on the mark.
13355 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks 91423
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA
10850 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
6731 Fallbrook Ave, West Hills, CA 91307