Girasol, a new 120-seat restaurant in Studio City from Top Chef alum C.J. Jacobson, opens today. Jacobson, who recently returned from an apprenticeship at Noma in Copenhagen, got involved with Girasol because he felt it was a unique addition to the neighborhood. "I get to showcase my take on California cuisine, drawing from SoCal's Mexican roots, ties to the Pacific and bounty of seasonal and fresh ingredients," Jacobson says.
The menu is "rustic-refined." Think California fare inspired by local farmers (sourcing from Santa Monica and Studio City farmers markets). Dishes include octopus salad with long-roasted eggplant, Little Gem, rosemary ash oil, sweet and sour chili and toasted lovage; whole fried red snapper with crispy greens, fermented Fresno chili, sauce of kumquat, sorrel and citrus; and olive oil cake with peaches, crème fraîche and house-made fruit leather.
"I really like the octopus salad with toasted lovage. I first had the idea for this dish during my time at Noma. Toasting the lovage makes it taste less grassy and a bit more earthy, and serves as a good contrast with the sweetness of the chilis in the dish," Jacobson explains. "The sauce that is served with the whole fried red snapper is also a favorite of mine -- we combine house-fermented chili with kumquat and sorrel."
The restaurant is open for dinner from 5-10 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and 5 p.m.-midnight Thursday-Saturday. A cocktail program and weekend brunch will launch later this year.