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First Look: Smoke Steakhouse to open on Melrose

August 22, 2012|By Jenn Harris
  • Smoke Steakhouse, on Melrose in West Hollywood, is scheduled to open on Labor Day.
Smoke Steakhouse, on Melrose in West Hollywood, is scheduled to open on… (Jenn Harris / Los Angeles…)

A new steakhouse called Smoke is slated to open on Melrose in the previous Artichoke Heart space in West Hollywood. This will be the third restaurant for partners Justin Safier and Travis Lester of BRG restaurant group, who opened Brick + Mortar earlier this year in Santa Monica and Bar Esquina in Cabo San Lucas in 2010. Smoke will open its doors Labor Day, Sept. 3.

The name and concept were built around the restaurant's existing wood-burning grill. Its iron wheel with a lever raises or lowers the cooking surface of the grill to change the temperature.

"We are going to attempt to finish a lot of our dishes on the grill ... steaks, vegetables, fish, so that everything has that mesquite flavor," said Safier. "Luckily, the guy we brought in as the chef de cuisine has worked with one of these before, because you can burn a lot of stuff on this." 

Laurent Saussy has signed on as executive chef of every BRG property including Brick + Mortar, Bar Esquina and BRG's next project, Fatty's Public House, a bar on La Cienega scheduled to open later this year. Saussy's Smoke menu will "revolve around prime cuts of meat, fish, poultry and local farmers market vegetables cooked over the wood-burning grill."

The decor will feature gray and black velvet-flocked wall-papered walls, water falls running down the front walls, a Jonas Never mural and granite-top tables. A skylight and pointed ceilings open up the main dining area, and a corner of the bar will feature a DJ booth. Safier and Lester are adamant about steering clear of white tablecloths.

"I want to be careful with a steakhouse because I think people think, 'Oh, a steakhouse. It's going to be white tablecloths and fine dining.' But we're so not those type of people," said Lester. "This is probably our higher-end concept, but we are going to have a DJ playing four or five nights a week during dinner service. As the night goes on, it will get louder and louder."

Smoke Steakhouse, 9010 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood.

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