Jar – Not Just Another Restaurant

Sitting in upholstered brown chairs with black caster wheels in a minimally decorated wood paneled room, I felt a warm sense of comfort. The white linen tablecloths, women dressed in little black dresses, and male guests dressed in jackets and ties add to the elegance of the dining room. Who gets dressed up to dine in Los Angeles? Loyal patrons of JAR.

Known for the acronym Just Another Restaurant, it exceeded our expectation of a typical Steakhouse. Owner/Chef Suzanne Tracht and Chef de Cuisine Peech Narkthong, along with their staff, deliver dishes that are beyond ordinary.

Known as one of the most fascinating and talented women chefs in America, Tracht met Peech when she opened her first restaurant Jozu in West Hollywood. The two became a culinary duo with Narkthong adding a pinch of Thai magic into Tracht’s American comfort foods, creating spectacular Cal-Asian dishes.

We started with one of Tracht’s crab deviled eggs. The egg filing offers a twist on the traditional hors d’oeuvres with the embellishment of fresh crab.

Next, we tasted the tempura squash blossoms stuffed with lobster and shiitake mushroom aioli. They were served with a simple ponzu and soy dipping sauce.

Looking over her unique menu, I had to try Tracht’s signature pot roast served in a white bowl with dainty baby carrots and caramelized onions. Cooked for hours until extremely tender, the meat just melted in my mouth.

My husband chose a 10 oz. filet with the lobster béarnaise sauce. This sauce was divine on the prime meat, yet also a decadent dipping sauce for Tracht’s French fries that are lightly dipped in flour before fried in canola oil and sprinkled with garlic, salt and parsley.

Our server, Kelly, recommended the spicy lemon mustard and thyme butter sauce with the freshly roasted salmon. The dish arrived with a chewy basil pesto stuffed roasted onion. The sauce was not too spicy and complimented the fish nicely.

Meats and fish can be ordered with the following sauces: bernaise, Lobster bernaise, Tamarind, green peppercorn, creamy horseradish, lemon caperberry relish and extra virgin olive oil or spicy mustard and thyme butter.

Since all of the entrees are served with just a sauce, I recommend ordering a few of Tracht’s side and vegetable dishes. We had the sautéed beet greens with a little olive oil, garlic and a bright red spicy Thai dried chili. Another heavenly vegetable side was the English peas with Cippolini onions. The Cippolini onion is a bittersweet bulb from the grape hyacinth family. It’s flatter and more golden than a small white onion. The luscious light butter sauce softened the intense flavor of the onions.

For dessert we finished with Tracht’s memorable butterscotch pudding and banana cream pie. Both were sweet endings to an enlightening dining experience.

Tracht gives back to the neighborhood as a partner with SOVA, a community food and resource program of Jewish Family Service of LA. When she successfully won Bravo’s Top Chef Master show in 2009, Tracht donated her $10,000 prize money to SOVA. She also raises funds for SOVA with speaking and fundraising events and opportunities. That’s a mitzvah. $$-$$$ 8225 Beverly Blvd. (323)655-6566.

Published in the Beverly Press 4/21/11 via Jar.

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