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Best New Restaurant No. 4: Cleo
L.A.’s finest brussels sprouts are found here
Photograph by Jessica Boone
Danny Elmaleh has been mining his Israeli and Japanese-Moroccan background since Celadon, a restaurant that never caught on. Gaining traction hasn’t been a problem for his new employer, Sam Nazarian, who after creating restaurants devoted to molecular Spanish, nouveau sushi, and baroque steak with his company, SBE, is finally exploring his own Persian heritage. Set in Nazarian’s Redbury hotel, the buzzy high-ceilinged room mixes Carnaby Street with a dash of Laurel Canyon. Elmaleh’s cooking clings to the shores of the eastern Mediterranean and manages to stay true to a number of cultures. His kibbeh, lamb meat pounded with bulgur, has the silky heft of the Lebanese original. Stir fried with chile flakes and garlic, Elmaleh’s brussels sprouts are L.A.’s finest. With its soft egg and smoked tomato, the meatball tagine evokes the souks of Marrakech, and the charred delicacy of the lamb kabob encapsulates the glories of Persian cooking. An impresario bravado whirs throughout Nazarian’s ventures, but Cleo is his most personal project yet. » 1717 Vine Street // Hollywood // 323-962-1711 or cleorestaurant.com