When people say “Wally's,” it's likely you think of wine, and perhaps cheese, and that's probably it. The famed store, which is the largest independent wine retailer on the West Coast, has long been known as a place for serious collectors and casual drinkers alike. Until recently, the food component has mainly been the cheese shop that sits adjacent to the shop — it serves sandwiches and the like as well as selling cheese and other gourmet foodstuffs. But late last year, Wally's opened Wally's Beverly Hills, a full scale restaurant, on Canon Drive.
The original chef is no longer there. In August Wally's scored a coup, hiring chef David Feau, who has a stunning résumé. The French native has worked with great chefs in France (including Guy Savoy) before moving to New York to take over the kitchen at Lutèce. Since then, he's opened Lutèce in Las Vegas, and worked as Corporate Executive Chef of Patina Restaurant Group here in L.A.
Now, he's out of the corporate chef world and back in the kitchen every night, serving the kinds of luxurious goods you'd expect from Wally's (truffles, caviar and foie gras all make appearances), but also burgers, fries, and lots of creative salads and entrees that fall somewhere in between.
Feau, who lives in Highland Park but eats throughout the city, was kind enough to tell us his favorite places to eat with his family when he's not in that kitchen. Here are his ten favorites.
10. Tacos El Pelon
“When looking to pick up something quick, we come to this local Highland Park spot. They have great handmade tortillas, and they are known for their mulitas. I love their tacos de lengua and tripas. My family and I also enjoy their traditional el pastor.” 52 Ave York Blvd., Highland Park.
9. The Oyster Gourmet at Grand Central Market
“I have known owner Christophe Happillon for years, and he has always been my go-to guy for oysters. He is so knowledgeable about his product and I know his oysters are always going to be fresh. I love to sit at the his little stand and talk to him for hours while I wash down oysters with some crisp rosé.” 317 S. Broadway, downtown. theoystergourmet.com
8. Terroni DTLA
“Their handmade pastas are some of the best in LA. I love the selection of cured meats that come on their pizzas, and they are all perfectly matched with a great selection of Italian wine by Max Stefano.” 802 S Spring St., downtown. (323) 954-0300. terroni.com.
7. Factory Kitchen
“The tradizionale focaccia with crescenza, arugula and ligurian olive oil is so simple, yet so flavorful. And the rabbit coniglio is a hearty stew that no one else replicates in L.A. It reminds me of what I grew up eating in France.” 1300 Factory Place, downtown. (213) 996-6000. thefactorykitchen.com
6. Cacao Mexicatessen
“Not far from where I live is a great little Mexican spot. They have a special menu with duck confit sopes — I go early because it sells out quickly.” 1576 Colorado Blvd., Highland Park. (323) 478-2791. cacaodeli.com.
5. Din Tai Fung in Glendale
“This place is world-renowned for their dim sum. My family and I love the shu mai and soup dumplings. Inevitably, there is going to be a wait, but it is worth it.” 177 Caruso Avenue, Glendale. (818) 551-5561. dintaifungusa.com.
4. Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong
“There are so many Korean BBQ places in L.A,, but I can't resist their beef and pork combos for barbecue. Great quality.” 3465 W 6th St., Koreatown. (213) 384-9678.
3. Sushi Gen
“The chef omakase. Enough said.” 422 E 2nd St., downtown. (213) 617-0552. sushigen-dtla.com
2. Honda Ya
“This is by far our favorite family restaurant. They serve tasty Japanese-style offal skewers and, when in season, my kids love the monk fish liver.” 333 Alameda St Suite 314, downtown. (213) 625-1184. izakayahondaya.com.
1. Connie & Ted's
“Quite recently, there has been an influx of East Coast seafood restaurants in L.A. In my opinion, Connie and Ted's lobster roll is still the best. With good clarified butter, of course.” 8171 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood. (323) 848-2722. connieandteds.com.