Local Eccentric: Jason Michaud lands his own place in Silver Lake
Chef Jason Michaud sometimes seems to be involved in half the new restaurants in Los Angeles, diving into each just long enough to install his artfully unpolished brand of Mediterranean cooking. If you’ve had an artichoke croquette, socca cakes, or randomly placed schmears of Cabrales, you have probably experienced his food. With Local, carved out of a Silver Lake antique store Michaud once ran in his spare time, he finally has his own place, and it is almost as quirky as its neighborhood. If there are rules to the restaurant thing, Local is probably breaking them all, plopping tables onto a busy Silver Lake sidewalk, installing a takeout-oriented salad bar (all organic) where you might expect dining room seating, and serving burgers made of turkey, quinoa or pork — but not beef. What seems to be the main dining room is kind of an open-air lean-to, wedged in what I could swear was the spot where my friend Ron Stringer’s malfunctioning computer landed after he threw it off a cliff in 1986. Dogs and children are tolerated at Local; so are people who bring their own wine, if they don’t mind drinking their dolcetto out of water glasses. As a consultant, Michaud was known for his riffs on traditional Spanish tapas cooking. As a proprietor/chef, he seems more involved in the provenance of his ingredients, most of which are grown organically within a few miles of Los Angeles, and with approachable, masculine American food: a school cafeteria–standard Sloppy Joe tricked out with slow-cooked Heritage pork; mac ’n’ cheese; salty, sometimes overcrisp slabs of pork belly served with apples and a wilted-spinach salad; a buttery, quichelike mushroom ricotta tart; and a fillet of California sea bass served on a gooey potato-corn pancake. On weekend mornings, there is a pancake-intensive brunch. The restaurant is new and understaffed, and any touches of refinement are probably several weeks away, but Local may be the earnest, groovy restaurant Silver Lake needs at the moment. 2943 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, (323) 662-4740, www.silverlakelocal.com.
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