I've always been drawn to being behind the scenes. Take college: Two or three people behind stage frantically trying to help a dancer change from one costume to the next in less than thirty seconds. Or pulling last minute all-nighters to sew pieces for a fashion show. Lots of coffee. Sometimes Rockstar.
So when I read via Susan Park's Twitter* that she and her chef husband Farid Zadi were launching a soft open of their first restaurant, Eat. Good. Clean. Food., I was very excited to check out the space in progress and, of course, to try the food.
The words Eat. Good. Clean. Food. are hard to miss from busy Venice Boulevard. Mike and I walked inside the unassuming building and were immediately greeted by Susan. She welcomed us with the ease of someone who spends her days juggling responsibilities and meeting people. Chef Zadi soon emerged and gave us a tour. The entire operation was a delightful work in progress--the best part is that people like me can walk in and witness the transformation.
I don't intend to give you an explicit textual tour, so in a nutshell: This is a multipurpose space. There will be a seating area for casual dining or take out, a store selling specialty food items, an area dedicated to butchery, and a patio for special or private events. A second kitchen will play host to a new location for the couple's established cooking school, Ecole de Cuisine (needless to say, they are busy). As of last week, the space was bare, leaving you to imagine what it will look like when finished.
Asked why the name Eat. Good. Clean. Food., Susan cited Chef Zadi's international experience and repertoire. People assume that because he is a French Algerian, he only cooks North African cuisine, she said, without knowing that he also happens to make a very good pasta. As for Clean and Good, these are two adjectives people frequently use to describe Chef Zadi's food.
Indeed, every dish we tried was delicious, and the flavors came through clearly (not muddled). We sampled a trio of tagines: chicken, spicy beef cheek, and seafood (pictured). Chef Zadi also brought out a merguez, a soft and flavorful beef and lamb sausage that we ate with harissa. The menu will change, we were told, as the restaurant settles in. I can't wait to return and see this place in a few months. Until then, if you are interested in stopping by, you can follow this link and make a reservation by email.
* In fact, my first time meeting Susan was last weekend, since I first learned about her via Twitter. Just goes to show that you can't ignore social media. And this is coming from the person who still uses SMS to use Twitter (the humor of which someone had to explain for me to understand).