Looks like CJ Jacobson has been spending less and less time behind the stove at Girasol, the Studio City modernist California restaurant he helped bring to life back in 2013. That means new blood in the form of chef Justin Abram, who assumes executive chef duties of the three year old restaurant while Jacobson is taking to Chicago full time.
Word on the street is Jacobson hasn’t been much involved since February, though he continued to work with Abram at arm’s length of some time before officially stepping away. That timeline certainly makes sense, as Jacobson opened his restaurant Ema in Chicago’s River North neighborhood back in April. That spot operates under the banner of the massive Lettuce Entertain You group, which also managed to pull away bartender extraordinaire Julian Cox almost a year ago.
The move makes room for upstart Abram, an East L.A. native who at just 26 years old is running things full time. He was officially listed as chef de cuisine for the past 18 months or so, but had stints before that at Bazaar, Scarpetta, and in Las Vegas under places like Joël Robuchon. He also helped open up Pistola on West Third Street a little while back.
With Abram leading the charge at Girasol, expect a more refined turn from the usual rustic California cuisine. Abram says he wants to bring in even more fine dining elements, but in a "boundary-pushing" sort of way, using foraged ingredients and avant grade techniques. Sounds fun, and should inject some life into what is perennially considered one of the most underrated restaurants in all of Los Angeles.