After establishing himself at Sotto, chef Steve Samson has always wanted to return to the Westside. His popular Downtown LA restaurant Rossoblu has gained recognition over the years for serving a Bologna-inspired menu of wood-fired meats and stellar pasta, but now he and wife Dina Samson are partnering with Heidi and Alan Jackson at the former Bull & Butterfly space to open Superfine Playa by early 2023. Essentially a California-Italian restaurant with the same branding as his casual thin-crust pizzeria next to Rossoblu, Superfine Playa will extend out the idea to become a full-service restaurant that keeps the pizza while adding pasta, wood-grilled proteins, and produce sourced from the nearby Playa Vista Farmers Market.
Longtime restaurateurs Heidi and Alan Jackson founded the Lemonade chain of casual restaurants in the late aughts, and in September 2020 they brought on consulting chef Ben Ford to open Bull & Butterfly with a coastal California steakhouse menu, which will remain open until December 18. For Superfine the Jacksons join forces with the Samsons (who have lived in Playa Vista for over 15 years) to debut another neighborhood-friendly restaurant in Superfine Playa. The space will remain mostly the same in terms of capacity, with 86 seats inside, plus another 60 outside. The plan is to open for dinner and weekend brunch first, then eventually serve a handy weekday lunch for the area’s mostly tech worker crowd. Expect Superfine to have a boisterous happy hour and a full cocktail menu down the road as well.
This is the second full-service restaurant from the Samsons after they decamped from the now-closed Sotto. Steve, along with co-chef Zach Pollack, helped establish the subterranean Sotto into one of the city’s most exciting rustic Italian restaurants serving wood-fired neo-Neapolitan pizza and stellar pastas. Pollack has since gone on to open Alimento and Cosa Buona while the Samsons opened Rossoblu in Downtown’s Fashion District in 2017 along with operating partner Hans Luttman. Pollack and Samson first worked as a chef tandem at Orange County’s Pizzeria Ortica, having met as cooks at chef David Myers’s fine dining restaurant Sona in West Hollywood.
Steve Samson debuted the takeout-only Superfine Pizza at a window next to Rossoblu in June 2018 with long-fermented New York-style whole pies and slices. During the pandemic, Samson opted to change Superfine’s pizzas to only 12-inch pies instead of the larger 18-inch ones that could be served in slices. He also put Superfine’s smaller pizzas onto Rossoblu’s menu, and they’re still available for dinner at the bigger sister restaurant. Dina Samson also co-founded the local restaurant non-profit Regarding Her as well as the Independent Hospitality and FeedLoveLA organizations that are meant to uplift Los Angeles’s restaurant community.