In Los Angeles, hitting the 40-year mark usually means it's time for a facelift. So when 41-year-old West Hollywood restaurant Mirabelle announced it would be closing for some updates, customers needn't have been shocked.
What could rightfully come as a surprise, though, is the culinary direction the former Californian/Mediterranean restaurant is taking: Owners George and Lenore Gemanides have brought in chef Michael Bryant (Palihouse, Father's Office, Norman's), who will be developing a "seafood charcuterie" menu for the restaurant.
Bryant, most recently at Palihouse, will be applying old-world preservationist techniques to seafood, creating dishes like tuna ham, smoked salmon pastrami, cured swordfish, and smoked trout rillettes. Other noncured dishes Bryant is working on include crab hush puppies, lobster chowder and an Asian-influenced cuttlefish dish with yuzu and chili oil. The plates will be small and meant for sharing.
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As a child, Bryant spent most weekends on fishing trips with his father in North Carolina. "This is actually a new challenge for me. Every restaurant I've been at in L.A., with the exception of Norman's, has always been meat-driven. At Palihouse, my charcuterie program there was with salami, sausages and pates," he says. "But that's the thing about chefs: If we're not constantly being challenged, we're bored."
As for the design of Mirabelle, Gemanides has hired Thomas Schoos, whose previous projects include Koi, Citizen Smith, Wilshire and the Huntley. Aesthetically, he hopes to mix classic Hollywood (think Chateau Marmont) with well-traveled eclecticism (a bit like BoHo). Schoos will utilize skylights and open up the previously covered patio, giving Mirabelle a more airy feel.
"We're opening up to show the blue California sky. I've peeled all the layers of what people did to the place over the years and went back to the original dark woods, stained wooden beams and the old bricks of the patio," says Schoos. "It's not going to be a new contemporary place, which it never has been. It's about bringing back a little bit of the past."
The restaurant had its last night of service April 1, and reopens May 10.