13251 Ventura Boulevard
Photo by Marie Buck
The BellwetherThe modern Tudor cottage décor is a welcome respite at this market-driven, family-style restaurant from executive chef and co-owner Ted Hopson (formerly of the famed Father’s Office). Roasted carrots are paired with chamomile carrot jus, carrot-top salad, and hazelnuts; Mediterranean-inspired charred octopus is served with tabbouleh, preserved lemon, tangy Greek yogurt, and green olives; and the menu’s meat section includes crispy pork and Scotch rillettes served atop potato rosti with ham hock gravy, sunny egg, and pig ear. Twists on classics include hamachi crudo with avocado and pickled baby vegetables, which leads to an unexpected crunch of puffed quinoa. Just make sure to save room for the decadent Grand Marnier bread pudding with candied pecans and malted crème fraiche ice cream.
Beverages are curated by co-owner Ann-Marie Verdi (also formerly of Father’s Office). The signature drink is the traditional Bellwether Manhattan, and such house liquor infusions as strawberry-jalapeno tequila and peach-pepper bourbon serve as unexpected bases for cocktails. The bar offers twenty taps. Ten are devoted to a changing selection of beers from breweries like Craftsman, Golden Road, and Three W3avers. The balance are given over to California wines and cocktails.
Be sure to hit the 5 p.m. happy hour at opening time and make the most of the $5 bites. If you plan on staying awhile, try to snag a seat at the chef’s counter.