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Seafood Swell

The Wave restaurant hits the crest by going deep on experience.


A month has passed since Giovanni Bellisario opened his new Encino restaurant, The Wave Seafood Bar and Grill--long enough for him to get the kinks out of the operation and to start tinkering with his menu.

Bellisario designed The Wave to give people who love fish a place to go without dropping a fortune. The restaurant features no fewer than 10 kinds of fish every day, marinated in olive oil and spices and grilled over mesquite with no complicated sauces.

And if you don't want fish, you can have rotisserie chicken, pizza, pasta, or even a New York steak.

"The first week we were open just for dinner," Bellisario says. "That was to get the kinks out, and to make sure that the kitchen was running OK. The next week we opened for lunch too.

"That first week was a little busy," he adds with a laugh. "Now I think we're going at about 99% of where I want us to be. You can never get to 100% perfect, right?"

Bellisario has spent most of his 26 years in restaurants. His father, Giuseppe, ran a place named after himself in Los Angeles for many years. He retired six years ago but helps out regularly at The Wave. So do Giovanni's mother, Barbara, sister Regina and brother Marcello.

"I started out in this business when I was about 8 years old," Giovanni says. "My father had me in the back doing prep and making salads and cold appetizers, and then I moved into the dining room as a busboy and server and then assistant manager. Later I ran the bar.

"The only part of the restaurant business I never ran was the valet parking."

Bellisario lists the Pacific swordfish, the salmon, the Chilean sea bass and the monkfish as his big sellers, all priced at $15.50. He also grills halibut, snapper, yellowtail, ahi tuna, orange roughy and Lake Superior whitefish, along with a skewer of shrimp and scallops.

People also order the cioppino, which goes for $18.50, the ahi tuna salad for $9.50, the seafood Cobb for $11.50, and--the newest item on the menu--a spinach salad with mushrooms, red onions, hard-boiled eggs, and sprouts for $7.95.

Chef Franco Montalvo also does Maryland crab cakes with a champagne sauce, gravlax cured with fresh dill and the Scandinavian aperitif aquavit, and Pacific prawns with feta and olive oil. Montalvo worked the kitchen at the original Giuseppe restaurant and later became executive chef at two other Los Angeles restaurants run by Giuseppe, Baci and Baci II, in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Last but not least, Bellisario also offers a happy-hour special from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. weekdays--appetizers, a Caesar salad, a Margarita pizza, and even a hamburger with fries, each for $1.95.

The Wave is at 16925 Ventura Blvd., just west of Balboa Avenue in Encino, (818) 905-6595.


The Bistro Garden at Coldwater has a new summertime menu boasting a host of new appetizers, entrees and desserts.

The appetizers: veal tonnato with arugula, ceviche bistro, a summer salad of citrus fruits with avocado and enoki mushrooms, and a crab bisque en croute.

The entrees: Chilean sea bass infused with soy and served with an avocado and corn salsa, spicy ahi tuna with a mango tomatillo, coq au vin and linguine with seafood served paella-style.

And for dessert, you can have a lemon souffle--and if you run next door to BG to GO, Carolyn Pappas, who runs both places with her brother, Christopher Niklas, and husband Greg Pappas, offers fresh plum and peach bundt cakes from fruit picked in her own backyard.

The Bistro Garden at Coldwater is at 12950 Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, near Coldwater, as you might surmise, (818) 501-0202. BG to GO is at 12930 Ventura Blvd., (818) 366-3246.

Word travels fast when a new restaurant makes a hit in the San Fernando Valley--and it looks as if Paul's Cafe in Sherman Oaks is the latest place to do this.

Paul Lloyd and his partner, Chef Darin Eckermann, opened Paul's Cafe only last week, and they're already doing a good business serving a menu crafted from the cuisines of France and California.

Stay tuned for a fuller description in this space next week. Paul's Cafe is at 13456 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 789-3575.

* Juan Hovey writes about the restaurant scene in the San Fernando Valley and outlying points. He may be reached at (805) 492-7909 or fax (805) 492-5139 or via e-mail at

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