Claud Beltran has been around for a long time. The Pasadena chef, who trained under Thomas Keller, has over 25 years of experience in L.A., holding jobs from caterer, to executive chef of numerous restaurants, to running the executive dining room at Warner Bros. With his latest project, you get the feeling that Beltran is doing just exactly what he wants, without the constraints of a traditional restaurant.
The Eatery on Allen sits on an odd corner of Allen Ave. in Pasadena, surrounded on the other three corners of the intersection by gas stations and an automotive center. Originally, Beltran took over the building as a catering kitchen and event space. “But then I said, we might as well do a restaurant,” Beltran says. “But we wanted to do something different, so we do a new themed menu every month.”
]That was nine months ago. In that time, Beltran and crew have done a pork-themed menu, Asian fusion, German, Italian, a “Mad Men-era high end country club” month, and a month dedicated to the food of Provence. This month they tackle the food of Mexico. February, the menu will turn to the Mediterranean. With each new menu the wine also changes to reflect the culture and go with the food.
“I think if we had 80 seats, it wouldn't be possible,” Beltran says. At only 40 seats, the restaurant is small, and the open kitchen makes it feel like a dinner party. “It's still hard, but the 40 seats makes it more doable.”
The Eatery is only open four nights a week, from Tues.-Fri. Weekends are reserved for private parties, as well as the catering business Beltran still counts as a large part of his business. Some weekend nights see Beltran throwing wine dinners or other special events.
Beltran says the changing menus encourage people to come back every month, as well as keep him and his staff interested. When asked if he's worried about running out of themes he says, “No way. There are so many other things we can do.”