Living on the Edge at Cliff’s

Hidden on the corner of Edgecliffe Dr. and W. Sunset Blvd in Silverlake, is an enchanted dining destination with its corrugated tin roof and large bamboo trees lining the outdoor dining terrace. Colorful, comfy pillows run along the open-air banquets making a cozy environment for intimate or group dining. The twinkle lights among an old ficus tree give the restaurant a festive atmosphere. Space heaters are situated throughout the terrace to warm guests on chilly evenings.

Pierre Casanova, originally from Corsica, is one of the three owners of Cliff’s Edge. He has been running this place for over 7 years. His excitement of acquiring Executive Chef Benjamin Bailly is contagious. Bailly cooked in France with Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse for years before coming to the United States as Executive Chef at Petrossian. Bailly also previously worked at Fraiche.

We started with a basket of olive and sourdough bread with a dish of oil and balsamic vinegar. Bailly adores lavender. He whips it into ricotta cheese with honey and olive oil. It goes nicely with a buttery Bishop’s Peak Chardonnay. A few bites and sips of the white wine and I immediately unwind and soak up the fun vibe. Keeping with the lavender theme is the Question Mark cocktail with lavendar simple syrup, and lavender goat cheese in the candy beets salad with orange and pistachios.

On weekends, locals gather up their friends and reserve tables for six to ten, enjoying cocktails such as Bee’s Knees with gin, honey and refreshing lemon juice on the rocks with grapefruit oils; or cucumber margaritas with orange blossom water made withHacienda Reposado and muddled cucumber with organic cane sugar and tangy lime juice.

Bailly enjoys preparing dishes with nuts too. He puts Marcona almonds in the pickled cauliflower and pine nuts in the green beans with feta, curry, raisins and capers. The delicate skate fish I ordered had pine nuts with mashed sunchokes, lemon, capers and frothy brown butter foam.

Chef Bailly also brought out a nutty essence in the rich tasting Taleggio risotto with fresh mushrooms, Tuscan kale and roasted pumpkin seeds. The lamb cheeks are adorned with a gremolata consisting of hazelnuts, lemon zest, garlic and parsley. For dessert, the restaurant offers a pistachio crème brulée.

If you sit outside, be sure to take a peek at the tables and bar inside. The interior reminds me of a cozy hunting lodge up in the mountains. There was not one stool available at the bar on the Friday evening I visited the restaurant. It was filled with happy locals celebrating the end of a work week.

To read the rest of my article click on via Living on the Edge at Cliff’s. Courtesy of the Beverly Press on April 11, 2012.

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