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Great Decor, Good Dishes, But Inconsistency at Girasol

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<a href="http://www.elizabethdanielsphotography.com">Elizabeth Daniels 7/13</a>
Elizabeth Daniels 7/13
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Girasol opened in July to a warm reception from Studio City denizens starved of high quality eats. Top Chef alum CJ Jacobson, fresh off a few consulting gigs and a stage at Noma, infused seasonal produce with a modern approach served in a beautifully designed space by Gulla Jonsdottir. Below, critics, Yelpers, and bloggers chime in on Studio City's new flower.

The (2-Star) Word from Besha Rodell: "So the gorgeous "beets and berries" appetizer consists of florets of leaves and herbs placed artfully in a base of whipped goat cheese along with beets and various berries. It looks like a masterpiece, yet it's a beet-and–goat cheese salad, albeit an intensely aromatic and enjoyable version....Blunders in actual cooking seem strange, given some of this food's careful complexity, yet they're not uncommon. A piece of sockeye salmon, which we were assured would be cooked medium rare, came out dry and extremely well-done. I can imagine how the summery corn, Champagne grapes, kale puree and tomato water on the plate might meld with that rich, buttery fish if there were any yield or fat left in it — as it was, the textures seemed discordant: sparse salad under parched flesh." [LA Weekly]

The Different Textures News: "A heavy emphasis on texture (the toasted macadamia nuts in the hamachi with preserved grapefruit added a welcome, if unnecessary, crunch) and blending fruit into nearly everything (the grapefruit in that hamachi dish, grilled wagyu steak with watermelon, ultra-tender roasted chicken with a citrus jus). He eschews that tendency in the very satisfying (and obviously popular) fried whole red snapper." [NY Times]

The Word from KevinEats: "The pork satay was another winner, the meat coming out tender, juicy, and wonderfully savory, with a fantastic countervailing char bitterness. The tinge of sourness from the lemon was much appreciated as well, and the sweetness of the onion coming through on the back end was pretty neat, too. My favorite component here, though, was the fennel pollen, which lent some wonderful aromatics to the course that just tied things together beautifully....The food's mostly successful, and you can see flashes of Jacobson's pan-ethnic influences and Noma training. Given Girasol's locale, I understand the need to make some of the plates more approachable, but I'd also like to see the Chef push things a bit more, to show us more of his progressive leanings." [KevinEats]

The Stunning Steak News: "The biggest stunner, though, almost went overlooked. A humble plate of grilled flat iron steak decorated with avocado, watermelon, cherry tomato and pickled watermelon rind vinaigrette ($15) tasted as if it hailed from the greatest backyard cookout in existence." [Tasting Table]

The Familiar versus Challenging Dish News: "The resulting menu is somewhat restrained in that it seems to split the difference between Jacobsen's cooking experiences, offering some very familiar dishes and others relatively more challenging...No matter what side of the menu you''re on, though, there are a few missteps: Undercooked carrots and potatoes accompanied the chicken, and an appetizer of beets and berries ($13) sounded great in theory, but, as no one ingredient was stellar on its own, it was a somewhat disparate and unbalanced overall." [Time Out]

The Donuts and Chocolate Torte News: "All the food was good but perhaps because it was served last dessert left a lasting impression. The fresh, warm doughnut holes served with sliced strawberries and creme fraiche gelato must be ordered and devoured by your party! The salted caramel gelato and chocolate torte is delicious too, albeit heavier." [Yelp]

The Excellent Octopus News: "The exact opposite was true of the octopus salad. This dish was nothing short of outstanding on all levels. The octopus was firm, but not overcooked. It had a nice char and retained its moisture. It was not rubbery at all. Roasted eggplant and marinated bell peppers added body and succulence to the dish. The frisee lettuce added a freshness and crunch, and there was some kind of sauce that was not overdone, but added needed acidity." [Chowhound]

The Sunflower-Inspired Decor News: "They certainly transformed the building, pushing the sunflower-theme in a very modern, slick direction with an amazing layered metal ceiling and gray-brick tiled walls. It's like eating inside a metal sculpture. It's super cool, but not in a cold or unwelcoming way. You could really impress a first date by bringing them here." [One for the Table]

The Meatball News: "The meatballs are a great go-to for the more traditional eater – moist and lightly packed so they don't end up feeling like bricks in your belly." [CBS Local]

The Whole Fried Snapper News: "The whole-fried red snapper with crispy greens, fermented Fresno chile sauce of kumquat, sorrel and citrus. Like the restaurant, it's both rustic and refined." [LA Times]
·All Girasol Coverage [~ELA~]
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Girasol Restaurant

11334 Moorpark Street, Studio City, CA 91602 818-924-2323


11334 Moorpark St North Hollywood, CA 91602