Chef Kyle Schutte is trying to walk a fine line. On the one hand, he says, he's been told over and over again that his food is "too intellectual." At his short-lived restaurant V? in Marina Del Rey, and then 54Twenty, guests complained that dishes weren't approachable. "So I thought, 'What's something that people will automatically be comfortable with?' Pizza." The result is the Flats, his flatbread restaurant in Beverly Hills that opened this month in the former Red Medicine space. "But it's also a rebellion," he says. "I'm going against tradition while luring them in with pizza."
His latest rebellion is a new charcuterie program, which includes items such as Spam terrine, candied and burnt fennel finnochiona, and root beer–cured guanciale.
His creative charcuterie passion started when he ran the barbecue spot Roadhouse, and started brining bacon in root beer spices. "It was so great," Schutte says, "and I just thought, 'What else can I do here?'" At the Flats, he's run up against many obstacles familiar to chefs who have wanted to do in-house charcuterie. "I'd speak to the city and they'd tell me I had to speak to the state. It was impossible to figure out how to even get licensed." But eventually he figured it out.
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As of this weekend, you'll be able to try his house-made Spam terrine, an octopus terrine with hibiscus, a pho-cured bresaola, sauerkraut-cured duck ham and duck liver with fernet. Accompaniments include baguette and doughnut crackers, whole grain mustard ice cream and vanilla egg custard.
"I don't actually have the audacity to say I can do a finnochiona better than someone who's been making it for 40 years," Schutte says. "But I can make it different."
The new charcuterie program will be launching this weekend.
The Flats, 8400 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; (310) 909-7549, theflatsrestaurant.com.