More news on The Gaderene Swine front, Phillip Frankland Lee's upcoming vegan-but-not-vegan restaurant. Media dinners kicked off last night inside the Studio City space, even though things are still very much in progress. As in: the wide pass that Lee will be using to connect with his kitchen while he mans the front bar was painted just an hour before guests arrived. Most of the decorations are still yet to be hung and, save for the eight spots at the marble countertop, seating mostly remains wrapped and stacked.
Still, the animal-free food is well on its way. Lee dished up some ten courses to the room, each based around a central vegetable like cauliflower, mushroom or eggplant. Some plated dishes will only be on the tasting menu from the bar, while others (with little to no overlap) will be available as regular menu items in the rest of the restaurant only. Here now, ten things to expect from The Gadarene Swine.
Lots of Reductions
Instead of the molecular theme of making dishes taste like what they aren't, Lee is intent on his vegetables taking on their truest essence. Like this slow-roasted tomato puree, used as a spread for pieces of bread.
There Will Be Honey
As Lee espoused before, he doesn't buy the it-ain't-vegan-if-there's-honey argument, and as such uses the naturally healthy enhancer in several dishes.
Desserts From His Wife
Just like at Scratch Bar, Margarita Lee will be on hand at Gadarene Swine, making the simple vegan desserts that populate the menu.
A Garden Out Back
The lease for Gadarene Swine includes 2,000 square feet of hillside out back, and Lee plans to start growing on the property as soon as possible. It's not enough to supply the whole restaurant, but if the tasting menu can be made entirely from what's growing on the property, that would be pretty amazing.
Bowls of kale chips dusted in pistachio and lightly fried olives drizzled in honey will be making the rounds as a pre-game to the dinner to come.
Lee Himself Finishing Dishes
Because the kitchen will be turning out tasting menus to the bar up front and a la carte dinners to the rest of the room, Lee will be expediting and plating dinners right along the pass.
Beer and Wine Only — For Now
Much like Scratch Bar, there will only be beer and wine available at Gadarene Swine. It's a focused program, with just a few beers and some strong red wines, but the bottle collection is likely to expand in the coming weeks.
Pressed Juices from the Scrap Heap
Eventually, Lee plans to offer a day-by-day pressed juice option, made with whatever veggie scraps are leftover from both restaurants. You'll even be able to configure the drink with a splash of sherry, sake or soju.
Garden Variety Plates and Bowls
Literally. Most of the dishware at the Gadarene Swine has been pulled from the shelves of local home and garden stores, to keep with the veg-centric theme. Expect cooked carrots in large growing pots, or on glazed, weather-resistant plates.
People Thinking They're Going to Stout
Ironically, next door to Gadarene Swine is the Studio City outpost of burger operation Stout. With similar brick facades, expect plenty of confused carnivores to head into the dining room each night quizzically, then make for the exits when a waiter tells them it's not Stout. During media night, it happened at least twice.
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