Reservoir of Flavor: Chef Gloria Felix Opens the Newest of Silver Lake's Grown-Up Restaurants
When the takeout shack Netty’s opened in the late 1980s, it was in retrospect the first bowshot in the gentrification of Silver Lake, the first acknowledgment that the community might include residents who knew about things like blackened chicken and pesto. A couple of decades later, fitted into the tiny Netty’s space like a puppet theater into a shoebox, Reservoir, the long-awaited restaurant from Hell’s Kitchen maven Gloria Felix, is the new kind of Silver Lake restaurant, casual but almost painfully stylish; farmers market-driven, although not obnoxiously so, and dedicated to the kind of cooking I’ve come to think of as professionalized dinner-party cuisine — recipes that could have been torn out of last month’s Bon Appetit, hearty to a fault, but prepared with an eye to detail that is likely to evade the average Sunday-night cook: seared scallops, fried Spanish cheese with onion marmalade, fried shrimp rolled into jicama “tacos,” sliced skirt steak buried underneath a slurry of pureed herbs, braised short ribs glazed with pomegranate molasses, rather over-deconstructed lasagne, stodgy pizza.
Echoing an idea originated by Tom Colicchio at the original Craft in New York City, Felix offers each main course with a choice of “setups,” restaurant jargon for the stuff that goes onto a plate that doesn’t happen to be the main slab of meat or seafood or fowl — which means that you can have your miso-marinated black cod on a bed of braised black kale with sweet roasted tomatoes or with a creamy potato gratin with lentils, with pea-speckled polenta or with the nutty Etruscan grain farro cooked with currants, pine nuts and rapini. No reservations are accepted — you’re going to wait for a bit at prime time — and the short wine list has some good bottles on it, but the high prices seem weirdly inappropriate to the informal setting.
Elizabeth Belkind, the wonderful pastry chef originally associated with the restaurant, moved on long ago to the wonders of artisanal Ding Dongs, but the chocolate omnibus here is worth checking into, a plate containing peppermint bark, a molten chocolate cake, a jigger of hot chocolate and a scoop of ice cream among other things. It’s the kind of maximalist dessert that you never want to have directly in front of you, but will do anything to coerce your date to order for him or herself.
Reservoir: 1700 Silver Lake Blvd., Silver Lake, (323) 662-8655 or www.silverlakereservoir.com. Tues.-Sun., 6-10 p.m. Valet parking. Beer and wine. Main courses $16-$32.
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