Chef Daniel Elmaleh and his wife, Justine, opened contemporary Moroccan restaurant Mizlala in the space that once held his dad's eponymous Simon's Cafe. The elder Elmaleh's warm hospitality and love of cooking great food is much in evidence in Daniel's new restaurant (translated from the Hebrew vernacular, mizlala roughly means “eatery”). There's an open kitchen with roughly a dozen high-backed counter seats to view the action. The sound system is primarily tuned to Israeli pop music. Dinner may begin with a variety of freshly made salads, such as root vegetable slaw, sauced with rich tahini and apple cider vinaigrette, but the house-made merguez steals the show. The menu describes it as “Simon's Famous.” Simon himself, though retired, still makes these beef and lamb sausages for his son's restaurant. The links are coarsely ground, with a hint of chili. One order is never enough. Justine, Simon's daughter-in-law, divulged that they simply could not leave the merguez off the Mizlala menu. The San Fernando Valley dining scene is rapidly evolving, and Mizlala is part of the new guard.
Credit: Kayvan Gabbay