Great White is making a splash with California fare

| September 30, 2021 | 0 Comments

ON THE MENU with Helene Seifer

Storefronts have turned over quite a bit on Larchmont over the past few years, but many of our restaurants have anchored the Boulevard for decades, led by 33-year veterans Le Petit Greek and Louise’s, followed by Village Pizzeria’s quarter century of tomato pies. It’s rare to have an opportunity to welcome a new eatery to the block, but now Great White, a sister establishment to the original on Venice Beach, has claimed a bite of Boulevard real estate in the former Prado (and then, Café Parisien) space. Judging from the number of Larchmontians stopping to request reservation information during a recent pre-opening media lunch, together with seemingly full lunch and dinner tables following its Sept. 17 opening, the new eatery is making a splash in the neighborhood.

The all-day café’s architecture and décor are imbued with a coastal resort ambiance. There are serene ecru banquettes, contemporary rattan chairs, marble tables, soaring wooden truss ceiling, warm cream-washed plaster walls punctuated by large arches, and giant glass doors that open the room to tables on the sidewalk. Stunning flagstone and cobblestone floors wouldn’t be out of place in an ancient beach town in Italy, Greece or Croatia. Local artisans wove the hanging rattan lamps and made the decorative ceramic pots. A large painting was created specifically for the space by Spanish (by way of Mexico) City artist Rafael Uriegas.

From Australia

Great White’s owners and designers Sam Trude and Sam Cooper were childhood friends in Australia who drifted apart and found each other again years later in Los Angeles, where they decided to collaborate on restaurants with an emphasis on organic local produce, fresh fish, carefully-sourced meats and natural wines. Executive Chef Juan Ferreiro oversees the food program at both Great Whites and their Venice café and bar Gran Blanco, tweaking menus seasonally. The Venice locations have full bars.

At first glance, the eclectic food offerings seem typical for Los Angeles: avocado toast, a fried chicken sandwich, a burger, some bowls, some noodles, burrata, wagyu steak and seven varieties of pizza. There are nods to health fiends with chia pudding, a live blue algae and hemp seed bowl and a turmeric chickpea scramble. Vegan and gluten-free options are noted on the menu, as is the presence of nuts. However, even the most common menu items are executed very well, with balanced acidity and bright, distinct flavors.

Successful selections

Case in point: we ordered a tuna conserva salad for $18, which could reasonably be expected to be a decent tuna salad on a pile of greens. Instead, because the tinned wild-caught tuna is very high quality and packed in oil, the flavor is deepened. The variety of colors and textures of the other ingredients provide a visual and taste punch, and overall proportions are just right. Bright green snap peas and red, yellow and green ripe tomatoes, dark green peppery mizuna, creamy sliced yellow-green avocado, crunchy red radishes and crispy fried chickpeas are all tossed in a flavorful vinaigrette.

A very fresh $18 ceviche, another “of-the-moment” menu item, tosses cubed blue Kanpachi from Baja in a vinegary bath with red onion, cucumber, cilantro, chives, avocado and tajin seasoning and served with house-made taro chips.

Delicate lettuce-wrapped grilled fish tacos, $22, are a welcome alternative to the more common battered and fried versions served in tortillas. Kanpachi is again the star, cut into three moist and meaty grill-marked rods and layered with garlic spread, cilantro, fermented mango salsa and red cabbage slaw onto three piles of Boston lettuce. The garlic spread and fermented salsa are an unusual choice for tacos, but the sweet fish flavor popped when enhanced with those condiments.

Our server highly recommended the banana bread, so we tried it. The thick slab is served with a scoop of honey butter, which was too much sweetness for my taste.  The $8 bread itself is good, but great? My mother’s recipe, frankly, is better. Still, with super-smooth $4 macchiatos, it makes a satisfying end to a very good lunch.

Perhaps Great White, whose namesake shark has a 70-year life span in the wild, will join the ranks of other long-lived and loved restaurants on the Boulevard.

Great White, 244 N. Larchmont Blvd., 323-745-5059.

The Larchmont Chronicle will review Fanny’s in the November issue.

Tags: , ,

Category: Entertainment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *