Café Telegrama and Ètra
With fresh pastries, brown-butter pancakes and cheffy sandwiches and salads, sunny community-minded Café Telegrama is now open in Melrose Hill, the first of two restaurants from an experienced quartet of owners. In early December Ètra, an adjacent Italian restaurant, is slated to open, with warm wood decor and a casual atmosphere.
“We’ve all worked in fine dining and don’t want the stuffiness of fine dining, but we love the elements,” partner and general manager Andrew Lawson said of the full-service restaurant. “It should be convivial, it should be a dinner party, you should bring your friends and join tables, spilling wine.”
The openings are the result of years of planning from executive chef and partner Evan Algorri, formerly of Marea and Bouley in New York City; Tyler Stonebreaker, a real estate developer who helps steer operations; John Zabawa, a visual artist who served as the chief designer and creative director, and who decorated Café Telegrama with art from his own home; and Lawson, formerly of Flora Bar, Rebelle and Estela in New York City, who’s heading up front of house operations as well as the wine program at Ètra.
In Café Telegrama, Algorri designed a menu of sandwiches primarily on Jyan Isaac bread (such as spicy eggplant with tomato, Pecorino and artichoke cream or the tuna melt with pepperoncini aioli), eggs and salads. A low-and-slow, brown-butter pancake dish took the chef three years to perfect. The menu is inspired by European cafe culture, where the food is simple and light but also intentional.
The coffee program is fueled by beans from Canyon Coffee, while the pastries are baked fresh by nearby cafe Friends & Family. Algorri, who’s traveled in Italy extensively, characterizes the forthcoming Ètra menu as “rooted in Italian,” without any specific focus on regionality.
“It’s just a sleeker, more streamlined, more intense version of things that I’ve either grown up cooking with my parents or that I’ve encountered in Italy,” he said. “I think that we’re aiming to provide a very approachable, refined experience.”
The bavette pasta involves zucchini and poached mussels, a 40-layer lasagna is entirely vegan, a mushroom bolognese will be packed with dried porcini, and a pork rib-eye steak will be grilled over Japanese charcoal. Wines at Ètra will feature French, Italian and a few domestic labels that highlight organic and sustainable processes, while the beer program will focus primarily on L.A.-area brewers.
Each space is roughly 1,400 square feet, with bistro tables and around 30 seats in the all-day cafe, plus a side patio that will switch to evening service seating once Ètra opens. The latter will boast roughly 60 seats in total, and serve as the evening counterpart. Cafe Telegrama is open daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ètra will open Tuesday to Sunday from 5 to 11 p.m.
A nostalgic downtown burger counter is now open for stacked cheeseburgers and fried chicken sandwiches with hints of the chef’s fine dining background. Rita’s Deluxe is the latest restaurant from chef Luke Reyes (formerly of 9th St. Ramen in L.A. and Gitanes in Ottawa) and business partner Collier Ulrich (formerly of Marcona Restaurant and the BLT Truck), who recently took over the Petit Peso and former RiceBar space.
Their casual spot, named for Reyes’ grandmother, boasts a six-seat counter near the grill with a standing counter at the front window and scant tables out front. The menu, much like the space, is concise. The seared, non-smashed burgers feature grass-fed beef from Wisconsin or Impossible patties, and a seasoning blend involving white pepper and shiitake powder, served on a sesame potato bun.
The house sauce features hidden French elements: green peppercorns, confit garlic, cornichons, dijon and more, and while the burgers can be upgraded with pickled cherry peppers, smoked bacon or caramelized onions, this is not a haute affair.
“You can do the whole thing ‘deluxe,’ which is making a fancy,” Reyes said, “but inherently none of this is fancy and that’s kind of a tongue-in-cheek play on things.”
There are also milkshakes featuring Straus Family Creamery dairy; beer-battered cheese curds; beef-tallow-fried crinkle fries; a panko-fried chicken sandwich with chile crisp mayo; and a monthly special: in November, it’s a yuzu kosho tuna melt. Rita’s Deluxe is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., or until they sell out.
419 W. 7th St., Los Angeles, (310) 564-0843, ritasdeluxe.com
Suá Kitchen & Superette
The anticipated neighborhood store with gourmet bites from the creator of Fly by Jing is open in Larchmont. Suá Kitchen & Superette, from chili-crisp empresaria Jing Gao and beauty influencer Stephanie Liu Hjelmeseth, offers fresh teas and coffees, plus an all-day menu of ready-to-eat items such as mapo tofu, free-range tea eggs, chile-and-cumin beef wraps, chilled sesame soba, Chinese eggplant with chickpea miso, mala-spiced lotus chips, and Meiji tofu chocolate pudding. Jing and Liu Hjelmeseth tapped local prepared-foods and meal-plan company Organic Oren to produce the food items, which marry Sichuan flavor and California produce. A range of home goods are also on offer, primarily from Asian-owned companies, including pantry staples, cookware and, of course, a rainbow of Fly by Jing products. Suá Kitchen & Superette is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
144 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 498-0044, suasuperette.com
Cosette Wine Bar
A verdant wine bar is hiding on the second floor of a boutique plant shop in Studio City. Cosette is located within the Rolling Greens in the Shops at Sportsmen’s Lodge, pouring Old World-leaning wines and serving steak tartare among hanging plants. It’s the first standalone restaurant and wine bar for owner Sasha Hagenlock, Rolling Greens’ retail director and a sommelier and vet of multiple Napa Valley businesses, including Harvest Table and Calistoga Ranch. With more than 30 wines by the bottle and roughly a dozen by the glass, Cosette’s menu focuses on European varietals from France, Austria, Italy and Spain, with a few labels from California as well. The food menu, a foil to the wines’ European focus with California accent, offers calamansi vinegar crudo, chamomile-poached shrimp cocktail, steak tartare laced with Jimmy Nardello oil, and celery salad with golden raisins and candied pepitas. Cosette Wine Bar is open Wednesday and Thursday from 3 to 9 p.m.; Friday from 3 to 10 p.m.; Saturday from noon to 10 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m.
12833 Ventura Blvd., Suite 145, Studio City, cosettewinebar.com
Kismet Rotisserie Culver City
The California rotisserie from the duo behind Kismet recently expanded to Culver City with its largest location yet. Chefs Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson expanded Kismet Rotisserie to Studio City earlier this year, and this month debuted a new outpost at the base of the One Culver complex. The Culver City location is roughly double the size of their original rotisserie at the edge of Los Feliz and East Hollywood and features around 30 seats spread across the interior and patio. The larger kitchen has allowed the team to develop new items, such as bone broth and a new roast-vegetable combo plate, as well as focus on their catering program. “Sarah and I always love to joke about how Kismet rotisserie is a vegetarian restaurant with chicken so we really want people to know just how much we prioritize all kinds of eaters,” Kramer said. “As we grow, it’s meant to become more and more inclusive.” Longtime Kismet pastry chef Meadow Ramsey is now head of the entire local chain’s pastry program, and is also developing new items such as nostalgia-driven ice cream sandwiches. Kismet Rotisserie is open in Culver City daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
10000 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 442 2727, kismetrotisserie.com
Din Tai Fung relocates
After a 2022 announcement of relocation, this week Glendale’s Din Tai Fung moved from its home of roughly a decade in the Americana at Brand to the neighboring Glendale Galleria. The new restaurant is the chain’s largest L.A.-area location, boasting 11,443 square feet, plus ample patio space. The Taiwanese restaurant beloved for its freshly made xiao long bao still features its signature glassed-in kitchen, allowing diners a view of the action, along with a “more elevated” design that involves wood-paneled walls and entryways, which owners feel is more reflective of the original Taiwan location. Singaporean dumpling chain Paradise Dynasty — a challenger to Din Tai Fung’s dumpling empire — is slated to fill the space in the Americana at Brand next year. Din Tai Fung is open in the Glendale Galleria Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
1164 Galleria Way, Glendale, (818) 551-5561, dintaifungusa.com/us
An all-day diner has taken up residency at the base of downtown’s Hoxton Hotel with breakfast quesadillas, burgers, baked brie, salads, dips, sandwiches and shrimp cocktails. Chicago chef Chris Pandel (Cira, Swift & Sons) designed the diner menu with Midwest touches such as mozzarella sticks, sour cream onion dip, Denver omelets and hotcakes, plus modern spins like Cool Ranch-flavored hash browns. Moonlark’s, which operates in the former Café Basque and Sibling Rival space, also serves coffee, house-made pastries and cocktails such as the Harvey Wallbanger, a frozen espresso martini, a customizable bloody Mary and wine, beer and cider. Moonlark’s Dinette is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
1060 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, moonlarksla.com
99 Ranch Westwood
Filling a dearth of Chinese grocers on L.A.’s Westside, beloved chain 99 Ranch Market is now open in Westwood near UCLA. The sprawling two-story grocer stocks thousands of pan-Asian ingredients and products with a specialty in Chinese and Taiwanese items. Fresh-seafood tanks, rows of frozen dumplings, a bakery case, shabu shabu meats and more can now be purchased during the soft opening, while upstairs, a forthcoming food court will offer a range of made-to-order dishes, including hand rolls and barbecued meats.
“Chinese food and groceries are so rare on the Westside that it’s become something of an urban legend,” L.A. Times columnist Frank Shyong wrote of the anticipated opening. He continued: “It might signal a future where the borders of community will not be drawn so rigidly.”
The latest location is the chain’s first on the Westside; most of its L.A. County shops can be found in the San Gabriel Valley. A grand opening celebration is slated for Nov. 29, complete with a ribbon cutting ceremony; 99 Ranch Market is open in Westwood daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
1360 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, 99ranch.com
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