Chef Walter el Nagar of La Botte in Santa Monica is slated to launch a weekly pop-up called Barbershop Ristorante Italiano at the new A.O.C. space. Beginning Dec. 19, every Wednesday through Saturday night, el Nagar will take over the kitchen and upstairs area to serve seasonal Italian fare, while A.O.C. chef Suzanne Goin prepares the downstairs space for the restaurant reopening. From the second week onward, LudoBite's chef Chuck Kallal will join el Nagar in the kitchen.
The six-course prix fixe menu will be served with or without wine pairings at a Chef's Table that seats 16. There will be two seatings per night, at 6 p.m. and 8:30p.m. The cost per person is $75 plus $35 for wine pairings. Wine director and partner Mario Vollera of Piccolo in Venice will select the wines.
The menu will change weekly and focus on ingredients from farmers markets and the downtown L.A. fish market. Sample items include the crudo all'italiana con salsa d'accompagnamento (daily fish selection); "uovo di fonduta" con patate e tartufo (fontina cheese fondue egg, potatoes, truffle); pasta fabioli e cozze (linguine, Carlsbad farm's mussels, cannellini beans, bottarga); cipolla scappata (torpedo red onion sorbet); Amatriciana senza pasta (SRF pork cheeks, pecorino cheese, tomatoes); tiramisú alla moka (Tiramisu, espresso).