It's hard to have a stealth opening with wraparound windows, but look closely and you should see Echo Park's Red Hill opening in the next few days, possibly as soon as tomorrow.
When we first reported on Red Hill back in April, it was one of two restaurants Jason Michaud (owner of Local) was planning to open. Chimú, a terrific Peruvian takeout eatery next to the Grand Central Market has come and gone, replaced by Local Express.
Michaud thinks Chimú failed because of price-point and location: "I think we were a little too expensive for the neighborhood. I think we should have brought the prices down a couple of dollars. And I think if we'd had a different location where could serve beer and wine and dinner, I think we would have had a chance," he says. These days, he's focusing on Red Hill. [Photo gallery after the jump.]
Michaud had originally planned to turn over Red Hill's kitchen to chef Mario Alberto, his partner in Chimu, but says Alberto is too busy these days, so Michaud himself will be overseeing the menu and manning the stoves. Michaud is still finalizing the menu but it will be small and heavily vegetarian. Look for various pickled vegetables (done in-house) and several housemada pastas, possibly a red wine risotto, butternut squash agnolotti with sage butter sauce and papardelle with a rabbit ragu. Michaud, one of the few vegetarian chefs who cooks meat, also does a roasted Jidori chicken and has been experimenting with braised oxtail and venison sausage.
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Michaud is still staffing up, but Red Hill will open first for dinner followed a few days or a week later for lunch and then for breakfast (with coffee from Cafecito Organico). There will be plenty of housemade baked goods including a doughnut of the week. Savvy locals should pop around the back to see what baked goods Red Hill may be selling.
The idea is to make Red Hill a restaurant for Echo Park locals, not a destination restaurant, says Michaud. "I just want to serve good, $10 plates of pasta. I want this place to be laid-back and welcoming with good food and a hint of style."
Elina Shatkin is a staff writer at LA Weekly. Follow her at @elinashatkin or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.