Jeff Mahin plans to open Stella Barra in Hollywood in May. (Anjali M. Pinto )
Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group and Jeff Mahin, the chef behind Stella Rossa Pizza Bar in Santa Monica and Do-Rite Donuts in Chicago, plan to open Stella Barra in Hollywood. Located in the former BoHo space in the ArcLight Cinemas complex on Sunset Boulevard, it’s expected to open at the beginning of May.
With breakfast-lunch-and-dinner ambitions, “we’re taking all the good things at Stella Rossa and refining it,” Mahin says. “It’s going to be similar but have a bigger menu and bigger plates. Not like a steak but some handmade pastas, bigger salads, market vegetables inspired. Sort of taking the same Italian style and California sensibility we have.” Along with pizzas and sandwiches, there will be a weekly changing house-made pasta served family style.
Mahin says he’s focusing on adapting dishes for a kitchen that won’t have a wood-fired grill. At Stella Rossa, for example, one favorite is the burrata with wood-grilled grapes. “I swear I’ve been focusing 80% of my efforts on this new dish. We’ve been serving this really amazing tomato jam. Sweet and spicy and a little bit smoky. We keep it warm on the stove, put that on the plate with tempered burrata (never serve cold burrata, that’s just crazy -- it’s always room temperature) right on top of the warm tomato jam. Cut the top of the burrata open so you can see inside, with really amazing Greek olive oil, and Murray River sea salt -- a pink sea salt that’s not too saline -- and an oregano and arugula oil that has a nice herby kick with the peppery bite of some arugula, and serve it with housemade bread. It could be almost even better than the grilled grapes with burrata.”
The focal point of the 120-seat restaurant will be a cement-topped bar in the center of the dining room, with cocktails created by Proprietors LLC and an expanded wine list.
There also will be a marble pizza bar and a little marketplace serving breakfast such as sourdough English muffins made on the plancha for egg sandwiches and spinoffs of the breakfast burrito. “I think there’s a need for an inexpensive, good-quality breakfast” in the neighborhood.
Jonathan Gold quiz: Asparagus
Green almonds no longer a chef's secret
Now open: Aventine Italian, straight from S.F.