New: The Bellwether Offers Hip “World Menu” in Studio City

Studio City’s The Bellwether restaurant offers shareable “world” cuisine.

It’s bright, new, noisy and just a little edgy, cuisine-wise: Studio City’s The Bellwether is now open for dinner (or 5 p.m. cocktails). The restaurant marks the debut effort of co-owners Chef Ted Hopson and beverage director Ann-Marie Verdi, both veterans of Father’s Office restaurant.

Opened about four weeks ago in the Ventura Boulevard space formerly occupied by Olé Tapas, the restaurant is consistently bustling even on weekday evenings. Eventually The Bellwether, which seats 70 inside, will expand with a sidewalk patio to seat an additional 30 (dogs welcome).

The Sauce paid a visit last week to sample a menu that Ann-Marie describes as “world” cuisine, bringing in flavors from Italy, Thailand and the Middle East, to name a few. Both food and drinks source seasonal ingredients, and cocktails feature house-made infusions.  

As evidence that the kitchen at The Bellwether is also part laboratory, the menu features an R&D section of “works in progress.” At the moment, that list includes beef tongue with watercress salad, garlic aioli, crispy shallot and lime, and the “Modfather” cocktail—containing “house-infused peach buffalo trace bourbon.”

The menu is all about shareable dishes. Our friendly and knowledgeable waitress recommended that each person order two or three dishes, so our party of two ordered six, two from each category: vegetables, fish and meat. This was enough food for four people; next time we’ll do just one from each (or bring friends).

There was nothing we didn't like, but we really hit the jackpot with the addictive, Thai-influenced tempura cauliflower, grilled local yellowtail and a juicy roasted half chicken with supremely crispy skin. One chunk of the white chocolate mousse cake with cherry ice cream is plenty for two.

My cocktail of choice was the Headstart For Happiness, with house infused blackberry vodka, hard cider, simple syrup and lime. A little too sweet—but The Bellwether gets full credit for the creative concept.

13251 Ventura Blvd., Suite A, Studio City, 818-285-8184, 5 to 10 p.m. daily

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