Sleepy Atwater Village Is Heating Up a Little Bit
Chateau l'Afrique rosé, turnips with pan-roasted ham and pork belly with Monterey squid at Journeymen
Atwater Village recently welcomed two brand-new restaurants in the same week: Good Measure, a wine bar–meets–dining room, and Journeymen, a counter-meets–full-service eatery directly across the street. In a beloved neighborhood that’s seen major transformation over the last decade, it’s no surprise that new and high-end businesses are appearing along Glendale Boulevard. These two restaurants follow the success of All’Acqua, the always-packed Italian place that took over a shuttered Acapulco several years ago. Between the Sunday farmers market, Tacos Villa Corona and the Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts staring each other down from across the boulevard, this walkable stretch of Atwater is a hodge-podge of reliable chains and ardent small businesses. Good Measure and Journeymen grabbed a seat at this very lively table, and here’s what they expect to bring to it.
Good Measure owner and sommelier Matthew Kaner is also the man behind Los Feliz’s Covell, Sherman Oaks’ Augustine and Palm Springs’ Dead or Alive. His newest venture serves an entirely different by-the-bottle wine list from his other two L.A. spots, with a larger food menu and a wine bar. It’s also catty-corner from family-owned wine shop and bar Oeno Vino, and just a few steps away from Wanderlust Creamery and Club Tee Gee, a recipe for one hell of a night (or afternoon).
“Good Measure is basically a synthesis of what we've done at Covell and Augustine. It's a restaurant with wine bar tendencies,” Kaner says. “One of the big things I've learned in my years is that people want to have the assurance that they will have a table, so we built a spot that can handle reservations as well as walk-ins.”
The menu, curated by former BLD and Mohawk Bend chef Mike Garber, offers such wine-bar staples as charcuterie, grilled bread and olives, and adds substantial entrees including a burger with “soft melty cheese” and lamb belly with polenta. Brunch also offers charcuterie, along with morning and early afternoon mainstays such as avocado toast with pickled chilies, eggs any style and a brunch burger with tomato jam and cheddar.
As for the wine, Kaner says Good Measure has fewer by-the-glass options than Covell or Augustine, and by fewer he means 35 versus 150, which will rotate every three to four weeks. The 150-plus bottle menu will turn over weekly, and can be discussed at length at the "somm bar."
“The somm bar is a five-seat bar I imagined the second I first walked into the space, where our sommelier gives you a guided experience much more akin to the way we do our service at Covell,” Kaner explains. “This is where you'll want to get a seat to ask a bunch of questions, get that Instagram photo and taste things you had never heard of before.”
3224 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village; (323) 426-9461, goodmeasurela.com.
Turnips, pan-roasted ham, pickled mustard seeds at Journeymen
David Wilcox and Guy Tabibian, both formerly of Venice’s Gjelina, are experimenting with a unique business model in the former Canelé space. They’ve adopted the gratuity-free concept and roll tax into their pricing. Their cross-training policy means staff don’t stay in their own lanes; they’re trained in all aspects of the business. The service structure employs counter ordering, table service and dim sum–style chits.
“We've been studying and melding various successful models from counter service to full service. The model has been developed based on our bigger-picture goals. I wouldn't be the one to know if this model exists anywhere else; however, I do believe most things have been done,” Wilcox says. “The idea comes from wanting to run an ethical business across the board with transparency. That means training our staff to understand and operate the business holistically. The name Journeymen implies apprenticeship and the stages of learning we are all engrossed in.”
As for the food, customers can expect a rotating menu based on locally farmed vegetables and proteins such as a rabbit and pork terrine, hanger steak with blue cheese, roasted oyster mushrooms and grilled okra. Brunch is planned for the near future and libations are beer and wine only, with a focus on natural wines.
“We bake our bread here. We make our charcuterie. We ferment. We have lots of vegetables but not necessarily vegetarian,” Wilcox adds. “We source our ingredients using the relationships I've made with farmers, ranchers and purveyors in the eight years I have lived in California.”
The three-part service flow is a bit off the beaten path, like three restaurant styles rolled into one. It goes something like this: Order at the counter, take a seat, receive traditional table service, order additional items using a dim sum chit.
“Guests are greeted by a maître d' and guided to the counter where they order,” Wilcox explains. “Beyond the full menu, there are nightly pintxos (small bites) that can be ordered. I tend to be the initial kitchen interaction along with the order taker. Guests can order initially some or all. We use a dim sum–style chit to mark their orders and add on as desired, and they settle at the table with us using a mobile device. Cooks also interact and run food along with a designated runner. This will develop further as we continue to cross-train our staff.”
3219 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village; (323) 284-8879, journeymenla.com.
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