Barnyard is the Venice restaurant whose opening has been hotly anticipated ever since Jeremy Fox signed on as chef-partner this summer. After all, Fox is the lauded chef who put Napa Valley's Ubuntu on the world culinary map -- no small accomplishment considering it's a vegetarian restaurant attached to a yoga studio. Fans have been tracking Fox's moves ever since he abruptly left Ubuntu a couple of years ago and eventually landed in Los Angeles, consulting on the opening of Freddy Smalls and refreshing the menu at Paper or Plastik. Alas, Fox has officially split with Barnyard, but he has more projects in the works, says his publicist. As ever. And Barnyard carries on with planned opening this year.
Fox's statement: "Unfortunately, my team and I had no choice but to move on from Barnyard. There are several factors that played a part, none of which are worth dwelling on. The most important thing to consider is that there are no bad guys here. I truly appreciate all the support we've received in Los Angeles and beyond. I'm obviously disappointed, but not discouraged, and I'm excited to return to my passion: feeding people."
Meanwhile, the pop-up dinner series Test Kitchen (where, incidentally, Fox had cooked for a preview of Barnyard) ends its run this week in the downtown space that will open as Bestia later this month. On Wednesday, John Sedlar cooks from his restaurant Playa's new Alta Baja MexiChina menu (just saying that is a mouthful); think kung pao camarones and puerco pibil potstickers. On Thursday, Walter and Margarita Manzke preview their forthcoming restaurant Republique. Richi Nakano of Hapa Ramen in San Francisco and Brooke Mosley, pastry chef at the Parish will cook on Friday, Ori Menashe previews Bestia on Saturday, and Sunday closes out with a brunch preview of Neal Fraser's coming ICDC (Ice Cream Doughnuts Coffee) and a to-be-announced lineup for the finale dinner. See www.testkitchenla.com for reservations.