Scratch|Bar, is opening on Restaurant Row in Beverly Hills today. Expect the menus to be informed by the collective experiences of chef-owner Phillip Lee and his team.
"We go to the market every morning. The menu is constantly evolving. All the cooks in the kitchen, we all come from very high-end fine dining. We're trying to take that approach to a more casual setting," says Lee. "I don't know if there is a specific genre that we currently fall into. We kind of made up our own."
"We're calling it 'rustique nouveau'," Lee says with a laugh, explaining that they're offering classic fine dining, albeit in more accessible way. On the most current menu, this means lemon Parmesan kale chips and honey fried olive-stuffed olives for bites; a sea urchin and pork belly cobb salad for a dinner starter; and a dark chocolate and cayenne pepper candy bar for dessert.
There will be tasting menus and items à la carte for lunch and dinner. Lunch is more truncated, with two bites, a starter, a main and dessert at $25. Diners will find a three-course prix-fixe style option -- choose your own starter, main, and dessert in addition to bites on the menu -- and a seven-course vegetarian tasting available for dinner. Expect the menu to be adapted often, sometimes week-to-week. "My cooks wish it was seasonal. I'll walk in on a Saturday afternoon and say, 'Alright this is what we're doing tonight'."
Lee is currently working through city regulations to bring a five-seat tasting bar into the restaurant. "We're going to call it the scratch|BAR. We're going to knock down the wall between the dining room and the kitchen, and build a bar up to the stovetop where I'm going to be cooking and palting everything. It will be omakase-style." Once set up, two seatings with two tasting menus will be available, with nine courses at 6:30 p.m. and 12-15 courses at 8:30 p.m.
Before opening Scratch | Bar, Lee was executive chef at Wolf Cuisine and D'Cache Restaurant in Toluca Lake. He's also held lengthy stints as sous chef at Hatfield's and Stefan's at L.A. Farm, as well as The Park Grill in Chicago. Joining Lee are chef de cuisine Joel David Miller, recently chef de cuisine at Cleo; sous chef Ryan Duval, lately at Animal; and pastry chef (and Lee's wife) Margarita Lee, who was in the pastry kitchen at Wolf Cuisine and D'Cache Restaurant. The bar is overseen by Dave Fernie, previously at Pour Vous in Hollywood.
Almost everything is made in-house, including the bread, cheese and ginger beers -- hence the name -- with the exception of craft beer, wine and meads. Lee is seeking permits for the latter.
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