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A New Combo-Concept Restaurant Compound Hits Melrose Avenue

Rooftop poke and a tapas spot called Chef’s Not Here

Sea Salt Poke on Melrose
Courtesy Sea Salt Poke
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

The already-crowded intersection of Melrose and La Cienega just got a bit more dense, as two new restaurants take a stand along Melrose Avenue. The first is the recently-opened Sea Salt Poke, another raw fish and rice bowl spot with second-floor views and lots of patio seating across 1,200 square feet. This is actually the second Sea Salt Poke for chef/owner Ressul Rassallat, with the first landing in 2016 along Olympic Boulevard.

The second restaurant option, operating alongside Sea Salt, is called Chef’s Not Here. It’s meant to be a playful take on all things tapas, with a variety of mostly small shared bites from across the world. There are classics like truffle-parmesan fries and lamb osso buco, along with options as varied as panzanella, watermelon salad, New York strip steak, and crispy shiitake mushroom salad. There are even three different brussels sprouts dishes, done in various regional styles. The full menus are below.

Reps for Rassallat say the idea is to let customers choose between either restaurant, while ordering food from both. Chef’s Not Here is the more substantial pick, but will only open for dinner to start as of January 17. Sea Salt Poke is open all day as of last week, and is having a grand opening party this Saturday with $5 bowls all day long.

As for competition, both restaurants have their work cut out for them. Just within eyesight there are heavy-hitters like Rosaline, Lucques, and EP & LP, not to mention everything else just up the way along Melrose.

Sea Salt Poke / Chef’s Not Here
8475 Melrose Ave.
West Hollywood, CA