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RESTAURANT JOURNAL

Hot coffee, hot pants, hot news?

December 05, 2007|Betty Hallock

BLACK leather pants? Check. Red snakeskin vest? Check. LA Mill espresso and Nueske bacon-sweet-onion brioche? Check.

Coffee roaster LA Mill has yet to open its Silver Lake coffee "boutique," but already it's quietly operating a retail counter inside rocker-chic clothing boutique Lords in West Hollywood. And it's another collaboration with Providence restaurant (there's a lineup of baked goods from pastry chef Adrian Vasquez).

What could be an even bigger surprise than a coffee boutique in a men's shop? Providence, it seems, will be opening a restaurant on the second floor. At least that's according to Lords owner-designer Nabeel Jaber, who said the restaurant will be operated by Providence chef Michael Cimarusti and is expected to open in January or February. "This is a lifestyle building," Jaber said. "On the first floor is the coffee shop and fashion, on the second floor will be Lords restaurant, and the third floor is for offices."

Providence's owners declined to comment about the project. (Wonder if they'll really go for the name Lords restaurant?) The second-floor space features a stainless-steel kitchen (a la Providence), a full bar and a glass-encased patio that overlooks Beverly Boulevard.

Lords opened last month in the 7,800-square-foot space that had been the site of French-Vietnamese restaurant Le Colonial. Le Colonial closed in early 2001 and was followed by a restaurant called Five Feet, which made it for about six months.

Now, across from the racks of Jaber's slightly nip-waisted suits for men (he's also adding a women's collection), shoppers who want a little caffeine to fuel their pursuit of a look that might be described as "Velvet Goldmine" meets Savile Row can grab a cappuccino -- that's "double espresso, frothed milk and textured milk," the menu says. Behind the Lords Cafe counter is a handmade La Marzocco espresso machine, along with two Clover single-cup brewing machines. Inside the pastry case are croissants, banana bread, currant-orange-ginger scones, blueberry cinnamon crumble, caneles and those bacon-onion brioche muffins.

LA Mill has been oddly hush-hush about the whole thing, even denying that the Beverly Boulevard cafe exists. Calls were made to LA Mill's Alhambra headquarters and to the Silver Lake store (which is scheduled to open next week) asking whether there was an LA Mill location on Beverly. The answer both times was "no." But walk into the store, and it's there. "We've been here about a week," said the server behind the counter. "We're LA Mill, and that's the clothing store." But ask what "textured milk" is, and he doesn't sound as confident. . . . "I'm not sure what that means."

-- Betty Hallock

-- Small bites

* Yamato Westwood opened this week in the former Eurochow space in Westwood. The executive chef is Toshi Tamba, formerly of the Okada restaurants at the Wynn in Las Vegas and Macau. Sushi chef is Katsu Hanamure, formerly of Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills. The menu straddles East and West -- sushi or steak frites (Black Angus New York steak and fries made with Japanese mountain potatoes).

1099 Westwood Blvd., Westwood, (310) 208-0100.

* On the seafood front, the Hungry Cat in Hollywood is closed for renovations until next week (tentatively), and Paperfish is now open in the old Maple Drive space in Beverly Hills. The Hungry Cat is adding a 10-seat raw bar and 25 additional seats (let's hope this means less hassle for a reservation). Meanwhile, Joachim Splichal's seafood-focused Paperfish is serving lunch, and the bar is open until 8 p.m.; dinner service starts in January.

Hungry Cat, 1535 N. Vine St., Hollywood, (323) 462-2155, thehungrycat.com. Paperfish, 345 N. Maple Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 858-6030.

* If you don't see nothin' wrong with a little bump and grind -- oops, that's "cork and rind," as in wine and cheese, Blue Velvet downtown is offering wine, beer and cheese selections on "Cork and Rind" Wednesdays, 5 to 7 p.m. Three wines and one beer are paired with cheeses from around the world. The tasting is complimentary; after the tasting, featured beer and wines are available for purchase by the glass.

750 S. Garland Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 239-0061.

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