Stephen Kalt, an industry veteran who cooked in New York City and has a restaurant in Atlantic City, made a splash landing here in Los Angeles at Caulfield's in Beverly Hills a few years ago. Since then, he's been plotting his own restaurant, which has been planted in the former Melgard space on Melrose Avenue. After a lengthy build out, Spartina is finally ready for its big Hollywood premiere. Here's what you need to know about Kalt's restaurant, opening officially on Monday, December 7.
1. Spartina was the name of Kalt's restaurant back in Tribeca in the mid 1990s. Here's the Ruth Reichl review from 1994, which awarded one star. Kalt first made a big splash on the New York restaurant scene at Spartina.
2. The name comes from a novel by John Casey, which was a National Book Award winner. The book is about a fisherman who builds a boat in his backyard, and all the trials that come from trying to build it.
3. The space has room for 100 diners, both inside and outside. The former Melgard had a similar feel so Kalt is refining that for Spartina. Melgard was named after the corner of Melrose and Gardner, which is where the restaurant sits.
4. The cuisine is Italian-inspired but informed by seasonal farmer's market produce and Kalt's background.
5. The kitchen is wide open so that all the diners can soak in the action. The kitchen features an Argentine-style grill and a wood-burning oven, pretty much what every chef wants these days.
6. Some dishes to consider: spaghettini with black and which garlic with calabrian chiles; wood-grilled Sonoma duck with parsnips; beef belly hash with raddichio and fried egg; broken lemon tart with seascape strawberries;
7. Over 100 wines on the list, with mostly Italian bottles, though the ones from California will be sure to use Italian varietals like dolcetto and sangiovese.
8. Interior appointments were designed by Kalt himself, with a lot of custom pieces melding both contemporary and traditional looks.
9. Wine and craft beer for the first few months until they can nab a full liquor program with cocktails.
10. Dinner only until January, when it'll eventually be open all day starting at 8 a.m. Happy hour will run 5 to 6:30 p.m.
7505 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA
Reservations accepted by called 323-782-1023