Big news on the Spanish food front: Smoke.oil.salt has just announced that Perfecto Rocher, chef since opening, is no longer with the restaurant. Ownership has brought on Ricardo Zarate as consulting chef, effective immediately.
Smoke.oil.salt opened to generally positive reviews (including one from us) in April of last year. Owned by AdVantage Restaurant Partners and producer Stephen Gelber, the restaurant quickly became well known for its Spanish food and quirky wine list.
“Looking forward, Smoke.oil.salt. will continue to provide our patrons with a consistent and authentic dining experience, serving excellent regional cuisine featuring many of the favorite dishes of our menu while adding some Spanish world classics,” Gelber said in a press release. “We are grateful to Perfecto Rocher for his role in helping to establish smoke.oil.salt. as a top Los Angeles culinary destination, and we wish him well as we move ahead and expand our offerings with more accessible dishes perfectly suited to a neighborhood vinoteca, such as those on the boulevards of Barcelona.”
Zarate was the chef at acclaimed Peruvian restaurant Mo-Chica, as well as Picca and Paiche, before an acrimonious split with investors had him leave all three of his restaurants. Mo-Chica and Paiche have closed, while Picca continues without Zarate's involvement.
Reps for the restaurant emphasize that Zarate will be acting in a consulting role rather than as their new, on-site chef, and it sounds as though the menu won't change much or take on any of Zarate's signature Peruvian influence. “Smoke.oil.salt. will continue to serve its signature wood-fired fish, seafood and meats, high-quality hams and cheeses, vegetarian selections and bomba rice dishes.”
The wine program, run by Gelber, will remain unchanged.