Café Livre, the popular bistro in Culver City, closed its doors July 1. Two days later, executive chef Farid Zadi and his wife, director of operations Susan Park, reappeared at the Spanish Fly, a new gastropub in Koreatown.
Partnering with owners Gene and David Park, they're revamping the menu of what briefly was the Green Bee Restaurant and Bar.
Switching from bee to fly was Susan Park's idea. "It's a lot sexier than Café Livre," she says. (In case you didn't know, Spanish fly is an aphrodisiac.)
The gastropub occupies a long sleek space in the historic Mercury Building at the corner of Western Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard. Many of Café Livre's specialties are on the new menu, including duck confit, hot and cold tapas, a cheese and salumi selection and Zadi's paella. His tagines may come back later as specials. Plans are to revamp the café's afternoon tea as a tea and pastry bar.
But this is Koreatown, not Culver City, so Korean flavors are being added. Park, who is handling the charcuterie, has devised a kimchi bacon sausage that comes in a sandwich with Persian cucumber "quick-chee" on the side.
There's no bacon in the sausage. Combining chopped, well-fermented kimchi with ground pork butt produces a baconlike aroma, Park explains. The mix includes North African spices, representing Zadi's Algerian background.
Korean fried duck is Park's creation. A whole duck is marinated with a soy sauce-and-soju reduction, then slow-roasted, French-style, for a couple of hours. It's served family-style with tortillas and lettuce for wrapping, the quick-chee and a green papaya salad that's a new take on the Thai version.
Park has also introduced pork confit ssam, or French-Korean pork wraps. Such dishes aren't "super ethnic," Park says, "but authentic enough."
Other sausages she has created include a Thai green curry chicken sausage, a mojo pork sausage, a spicy BBQ beef sausage and a green harissa chicken sausage -- the harissas from Café Livre are another transplant. The sausages come in either pretzel rolls or brioche hot dog buns.
Park also is introducing a chicken liver parfait en cocotte and a pork country pate. "Anything porky is me," she says. Dishes from Zadi include braised lamb shank with cumin carrots and olive oil-braised salmon.
The bar offers craft beers, soju and wines from a short list that will expand with a focus on Spanish wines. The gastropub has happy hours Monday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. Although Koreatown is known for its booming nightlife, the latest Spanish Fly stays open is 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
The soft opening last Saturday, July 14, was so successful that a grand opening has been scheduled for this Saturday July 21, from 6 p.m. to midnight. The full menu will be available, along with a Korean fried chicken and pork confit bossam taco/ssam bar.
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Spanish Fly Gastropub: 3800 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 110F, Los Angeles; (213) 412-2992, spanishflygastropub.com.
Read more from Barbara Hansen at www.EatMx.com, www.TableConversation.com, @foodandwinegal and Facebook. Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.