Paper covering the windows at 9887 S. Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills informs us that we can expect a new French café, Merci Clement to open soon. Not much out there yet, just an undeveloped website and Facebook page. According to the notices on the door, we can look for a menu of specialty coffee, salads, sandwiches, crepes, chocolates, “petit cakes”, and gelato. It looks like they’re planning on opening some time this year…
To the great many of you who have been carefully tracking the progress of LA’s second branch of Paris’ cult macaron shop comes this welcome news: Ladurée threw open its doors at 311 N. Beverly Dr. on Saturday. While I haven’t seen the recently opened outpost at The Grove, this one has a different look and feel than the branches I’ve visited in Paris, London, or New York. The tiny jewel box space is bright and airy with large flowers and lattice on the walls, not paneled and heavily Gallic in theme like many of the others. A cursory glance at the menu shows many of my old favorites, including the Club Champs-Elysees (tomato, eggplant, zucchini, mozzarella, parmesan, and basil on wholemeal bread). And the pastries, cakes, and macarons are as gorgeous as always, and prettily displayed in glass cases, beckoning you to forget all about that New Year’s resolution you recently made…
Correction: I originally reported that the Club Champs-Elysees was on the menu. It is not. That sandwich is apparently only served in Paris and New York. Tofu sliders are this locations meat-free sandwich option.
The popular and always-crowded Whole Foods Market at 760 South Sepulveda Blvd in El Segundo recently opened a new restaurant and bar named The 2nd in a newly constructed space just to your right as you walk in. On offer here are 36 beers on tap, over 12 wines by the glass, and a creative menu of small plates (such as cauliflower nachos, jackfruit “crab” cakes, buttermilk marinated calamari), salads, toasts, sushi, various burgers, and desserts (like boozy gelato). There’s also a happy hour from 4pm to 6pm Monday through Friday, and a brunch. Check out the full menu here.
Popular neighborhood restaurant Spumoni, at 713 Montana Ave. in Santa Monica, ran into a spot of trouble a little over a year ago when a car crashed into the next door Café de Paris and sparked a fire that shut the Italian eatery down. Rising from the ashes, Spumoni threw open its doors last night (Tuesday) for the first time since the fire. Having taken over the Café de Paris space, the plucky always-crowded café is now larger with an extensive remodel. The feel is still cozy and friendly, with a dining room bedecked in warm wood paneling. You’ll continue to find many of the classics on the menu, but if you haven’t thought about Spumoni as a destination in a while, it might be time to reconsider. They built a spiffy wood-fired pizza oven brought from Napoli and flew in a pizza expert, Pizzaiolo Massimo Caso to serve some the crispest (perhaps best) Neapolitan-style pies anywhere in this neck of the woods. We wish them the best of luck.
I first noticed that something new was coming to the space at 11916 Wilshire Blvd. that formerly housed the fusty Western Los Angeles fixture Divita’s Pizzeria back in January, when window paper promised a new restaurant and wine bar brought to us by Vincent and Chase. Then in June, Divita’s iconic sign was changed and let us know the name of the new wine bar: Belle Vie Food & Wine. On Tuesday, Belle Vie (which means “beautiful life” in French) threw open its doors for the first time. The new eatery is helmed by Vincent Samarco and Cedric Nicolas, both of whom have cut their teeth in Paris restaurants. Expect a French-leaning menu (moules, frites, charcuteries, fromages, French wines) that also includes a few surprises like mac and cheese, gravlax, devilled eggs, and “Burgundy tacos“, all served in a cozy, neighborhood bistro and bar with warm service. Check out their website and read more here.
It’s that time of year, when popular vegan chain Veggie Grill unveils its Summer menu. Included on this year’s menu are: hummus and za’atar flatbread, Koreatown tacos, chargrilled street corn, and Thai tacos. Check out the entire menu of seasonal additions to their regular menu here.
It looks like we can expect some big changes soon at the always crowded Superba Snack Bar on Rose Ave. Having left the spotlight that lately constantly shines on Petit Trois, Chef Sydney Hunter has now come on board and is redesigning parts of the menu with help from a new and vibrant sous chef Richard Rea. I’m told that dinner menu changes will be in place by the end of the month and that we should look for more seafood and vegetarian fare. There will also be a serious redo of the lunch and breakfast menus.