Stefan’s on Montana

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Finnish Top Chef runner-up Stefan Richter already has one hand in the kitchen at L.A. Farm, and now the other is on the pan handles at this Montana Avenue nook. The breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus cover the spread of fresh California cuisine, but our favorite dishes feature subtle—and some not so—Scandinavian touches. A quiche stars leeks and chive sour cream. A frisée salad is studded with hunks of smoked trout. Rich goulash made with braised beef shoulder comes alongside pan-crisped spaetzle. A plump pork sausage sits on a bed of sauerkraut with a savory bread dumpling on the side. The operation doesn’t seem to know whether it’s a fine-dining or casual neighborhood joint. Ultralax service pushes it toward the latter. » 1518 Montana Ave. (310-394-7178 or stefansonmontana.com). B-L-D daily. BYO. California   $$
 

Photograph courtesy stefansonmontana.com