Chalking It Up

If last year has been any indication of the Valley’s flourishing food scene, we’re positive that 2014 is going to be the biggest year for dining on this side of the hill.  And that is in no small part to places like Warren’s Blackboard—North Hollywood’s “pop-up” restaurant located at The Beverly Garland Hotel.  Headed by […]

If last year has been any indication of the Valley’s flourishing food scene, we’re positive that 2014 is going to be the biggest year for dining on this side of the hill.  And that is in no small part to places like Warren’s Blackboard—North Hollywood’s “pop-up” restaurant located at The Beverly Garland Hotel.  Headed by Chef Warren Schwartz, the restaurant serves as interim test kitchen for chef’s permanent restaurant, “The Frontyard,” which will debut at the hotel in May 2014.  

Chef Warren Schwartz, who grew up in the Valley, began his career working as Joachim Spichal’s sous chef at Patina, and previously worked as executive chef at Santa Monica’s Viceroy Hotel and Saddle Peak Lodge in Calabasas.  At Warren’s Blackboard he is developing dishes based on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, creating a menu organized by starters, pasta, protein entrees, and sides. 

You can start with more customary appetizers such as a Belgian endive salad or kale served ala Caesar.  More playful dishes highlight a popover, bursting with mushrooms and chopped asparagus, lacquered in a slightly sweet sauce.  Burrata comes with cinnamon-spiced pears, laced in pomegranate seeds and walnuts; ceviche is concocted with octopus, shrimp, and sea bass.  

It is in the seafood dishes, though, where Chef’s culinary expertise plays out most beautifully.  Raw albacore poke is cubed, dusted in black sesame seeds and chives, and then complemented with crushed avocado and crisped wonton chips.  Delicately grilled salmon is served upon a bed of purple Treviso, amplified with tangerine citrus and diced red onions.  Chef Schwartz references Spichal’s influence and the days of his Patina training, in the aptly named, “Joachim style rare ahi,” which is served with shitake mushrooms and bok choy. 

The pork chop, too, is a handsome thing.  Bone-in and thick as a novel, the slab arrives in a pool of cheesy polenta, garnished with a julienned apple claw.  Entrees are rounded out with a New York steak, an angus beef burger, and chicken paired with bread pudding. 

The entrees are generous, but they can be supplemented with vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, or a smoky kale, grilled and dressed in a cooling cucumber yogurt sauce. 

Desserts aren’t listed on the menu, but there are fresh churros, warm and airy, served with dulce de leche ice cream, alongside an apple tart, a la mode.   

A quick glance at the wine list indicates a fondness for those produced in California, with bottles as reasonable as $30.  The beer list also focuses on regional brews such as Angel City’s Angeleno IPA and Golden Road selections.  Cocktails range from simple libations—Mai Tais and Magaritas—to rum accented with blackberry jam, and vodka punched up with balsamic honey. 

 

Warren’s Blackboard, The Beverly Garland Hotel, 4222 Vineland Ave., North Hollywood, (818) 255-7290.  

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