Some of Los Angeles’ most dynamic cooking is about to become a little more accessible. James Beard Award-winning chef Dave Beran is expanding his footprint, from the tiny, Michelin-starred Dialogue, to a new, à la carte concept, Pasjoli. It opens next week in Santa Monica.
A meal at Dialogue involves tasting around 20 courses of modernist fare, painstakingly crafted for just a few guests per night, with tickets sold in advance for around $235 per person, before beverages and fees. While Chef Beran’s seasonal menus have won raves from pretty much every critic in the country since the 18-seat spot opened in 2017, there’s no denying it’s a rarified experience.
Pasjoli takes a different approach. Reservations can booked on Resy–no pre-paid ticket required–and diners pick their dishes from a menu French bistro fare, as filtered through Beran’s imagination and SoCal’s ingredients. The chef describes his approach as “a fun and playful homage to French cuisine.”
“I think most Americans perceive—not unjustly—classic French as being heavy, weighty,” Beran told the Los Angeles Times. “The French cuisine I really fell in love with deals primarily with the Parisian markets. If you go at the right time of the year, it’s not about the weight, it’s about the freshness.”
The opening menu will include two entrees that first appeared on seasonal menus at Dialogue: a snapper with melted leek, broccoli, and wild celery, and canard rouennais a la presse, a pressed duck dish which the late Times critic Jonathan Gold named one of his favorite dishes. The rest will be new recipes, which Beran and his team have been developing for months, derived from the French classics which Beran was taught early in his career.
While it may be a bit less exclusive than Dialogue, don’t assume that means it lacks elegance. The decor leans toward a sleek, modern version of a grand European restaurant. An antique brass cocktail cart wheels caviar to the table (where it’s served with brown butter potato chips, of course), the bar is marble, the wallpaper hand-painted, and the banquettes upholstered in mohair. The space, a former burger shop, was overhauled by Chicago architecture firm Rugo/Raff, who also designed Alinea and NEXT, where Beran previously worked.
Pasjoli opens on Wednesday, September 18, at 2732 Main St., Santa Monica.
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