It looks like Miss Irene is MIA today as we have no official LAT review to link to. There's a nice "Find" by Linda Burum (Sako Mediterranean Cuisine) but no stars, no "S.", not the usual beat. (What, no fill-in reviews when she's on vacation any more?) Well, fine then. Today we're going to do something we never do on Eater and fill in the gap with a special bonus review/preview of Lot 1 sent to us by our Curbed cohort, Marissa. She checked out Josef Centeno's new Echo Park restaurant last night:
Ok, so the decor looks...hurried like they just wanted to open something quickly. And its WAAAAYYYYYY too bright, they need to lower the lights. Josef seems much more relaxed, baseball cap and facial scruff. Same open kitchen window as Opus, so he looks out on the action as he cooks. About three four-tops outside, no heaters yet; inside seats maybe 20 or 30 max. Almost every table was taken by the time we left around 9:30, so seems to be doing well for the first week. Very convivial atmosphere, everyone asking the table next to them about what they ordered.Sure, we'll even let her talk about the food.
We had the wild arugula salad and yellowtail sashimi for starters. Both beautiful and so delicious. Generous portions. We shared the salad and yellowtail among two and it was plenty for an app. The yellowtail---love the pickled radish and jalapeno, it was complex in terms of flavor, kept changing every few seconds until you reach a slow burn. For entrees, I had the market fish which was albacore; unfortunately, slightly overcooked. Wait---before the entrees, they gave the free popovers, although I think I burned my hand slightly tearing them apart. They come out HOT with a chimichurri sauce. Friend had the prime rib and unfortunately also slightly overcooked and a little fatty, but it is prime rib, after all. We also had the bone marrow toasts, they were a bit much. Not what I was expecting. I had an amazing agua fresca of strawberry and watermelon. No liquor or wine yet. We asked if we could BYOB and they were very polite about asking us not to, because they don't want to jeopardize their license application. They expect to start the tasting menu on Tuesdays at the end of the month. They haven't decided yet on pricing. Service seemed a little nervous but sweet. Good neighborhood place and Echo Park needs them. Parking is easy. Anyway, Josef has my business. (1533 Sunset Blvd., 213.481.8400; Tue-Sun 11:30am-3, 6:30pm-10:30pm; no reservations)ELSEWHERE: Another early look at Lot 1; checking out the new M Café de Chaya in Culver City; a quick look at the new Lemonade; uninspired food at Seven Restaurant & Bar downtown; nice pics of picks at Musha; lunch for one at Akasha; and Michael Ruiz's Ingredients looks to be worth the trip to Montrose.