PROMISING YOUNG CHEF MIXES RUSTIC WITH MEDITERRANEAN
By Michael Hepworth
Madera Kitchen on Cahuenga Blvd in a slightly unfashionable part of Hollywood should be judged alone on the food and the design of the place which makes it a very promising new spot. Opened in March and with a very talented young chef Kirk Plummer in charge, a quiet Wednesday night meal turned into a veritable feast. The prices are also extremely reasonable for a restaurant of this quality, with the highest menu item being the market fish entrée of the day and the Skirt Steak at $25. There is a very appealing patio area which is a perfect place to eat as well, and overall this is a very comfortable spot.
The 25 year old Plummer learned his skills under chef Ben Ford in Culver City, and he runs the kitchen with a small brigade in tight quarters, and why is it that some of the best food I have tried comes from a smaller kitchen space. One of the other must tries on the menu is the ‘Albacore w/Moroccan olive, mint and pine nut breadcrumbs ($13). Lovely and fresh and the breadcrumbs were a perfect complement to the fish, which can be very succulent to certain tastes. Like a lot of the dishes on the menu it is perfect for sharing.
The Grilled Octopus ($14) comes with a perfectly done charred spring onion, crispy lemon and aioli. I have never had Octopus before so tender, and when it melts in your mouth you know it is good. I also loved the Chitarra Pasta ($14), cleverly served with crispy bacon, black garlic, squash flower and topped off ever so creatively with a soft poached hen egg.
However the chef’s tour de force might well be the Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder ($24), again a course made special by the creative extras. In this case the pork is cooked at 275 degrees for six hours and comes with crispy Brussels sprouts, dates, thyme and balsamic. For somebody who loves food savory minus anything creamy, this is heaven. Next time I go in for the change of the menu I can only expect some of the mentioned items to remain, but I can’t wait to see what the chef does with lamb.
The cocktail menu is equally ambitious and the two choices would be the Blueberry Lavender Martini and the Green Dolphin. The first one contains actual lavender, and the second is a combination of Grey Goose, Hendricks, lemon, basil and cucumber in a refreshing and clean mix for the summer months. One is not enough. Next time I will try the Zacapa Flip, a mixture of Zacapa 23 Rum and ruby port perfected with egg and a pinch of salt.
The Sunday Brunch will feature Sourdough Pancakes with roasted strawberries, candied Pistachios and whipped cream fraiche and other dishes. Beverage specials will include two for one Bloody Mary’s with White Oak Premium Vodka and $15 Bartenura Bottomless Mimosas.
Address: Madera Kitchen-1835 N.Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Valet Parking $7
Hours: 5:00 pm to Midnight
Sunday Brunch: 10.30 am to 4:00 pm