After cooking in the kitchen of The Churchill, Cliffs Edge, and The Larchmont, Executive Chef Michael Bryant is now showcasing some of his beloved dishes and adding a few new ones at the upscale Fellow in Westwood.
I fondly remember meeting Chef Bryant three years ago while dining at The Larchmont, before it changed into FIN Asian Tapas. What I admired was his cooking style and presentation. Besides incorporating French techniques with what he learned from his mother while growing up Virginia, he has done basically every job in kitchens before becoming an executive chef.
Located in the former space of Glendon Bar & Kitchen and beloved The Moustache Cafe, four of us sat at one of the lounge-like window tables looking out on Glendon Ave. While perusing the menu, I happily recognized some of his signature dishes that I enjoyed at The Larchmont. Chef Bryant is a genius with sauces and his harissa seared scallops has a delightful slightly lemony hollandaise sauce.
This dish is enhanced with a large and crispy shaving of prosciutto and chopped smoked almonds. Chef Michael adds bright red pomegranate seeds for color and a burst of sweetness. The North African influenced harissa paste is made with various chiles and spices, giving this dish the right amount of heat.
I distinctly remember his charred Spanish octopus tentacle, and at Fellow he serves it with a wispy frisée salad with juicy pink grapefruit sections. There is a drizzle of smoked paprika and salsa verde on the firm tentacle.
His Moroccan style Jidori chicken arrived on a plate with a beautifully browned thigh and breast surrounded by tomatoes, maitake mushrooms and a confit of gizzards.
Each dish that we ordered was a winner, including the stellar black pepper tofu. A bowl of firm tofu cubes are bathed in a light Mandarin orange sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. This soy protein is accompanied with thin green beans, sliced scallions and nutty flavor beech mushrooms. Biting into the slightly crispy exterior, the warm ethereal white tofu inside is perfectly cooked.
California red and white wines and a variety of beers on draught are poured at the long sit down bar. Cocktails with bourbon are named Clint Westwood and Oh Draaaam! The Fellow Old Fashioned is made with coffee infused aged rum, and a gin favorite is named Strawberry Fields served with aperol, mint and housemade strawberry soda. Sitting at the bar, snacks include truffle mac n’ cheese; house pickles; tater tots and Sichuan spiced chicken lollipops.
Salads include an ahi tuna bowl; Tuscan kale quinoa, and a burrata and cucumber with baby tomatoes, watercress and candied hazelnuts.
I noticed a parade of Fellow burgers with a handful of fries arrive at various tables. When I asked our server what makes this burger different than any other restaurant, she said “It’s an elevated In-n-Out burger on a toasted Hawaiian roll.” After ordering one, I enjoyed the gooey melted Cheddar cheese, crispy strips of bacon, savory grilled onions, juicy tomato slices, a couple of sliced pickles, sliced avocado, and a spread of Chef Bryant’s horseradish sauce. It’s bigger than the famous California chain burger, and just as juicy and more satisfying.
To finish the evening, Chef Bryant recreates The Moustache Cafe’s famous chocolate soufflé that takes about twenty minutes to create. For something quicker, we ordered the Nutella chocolate pudding with cardamom whipped cream and candied orange on top. It was a table favorite. Other desserts include a strawberry shortcake, pineapple panna cotta, and lemon beignets with a passion fruit curd.
As we got up to leave, we noticed a group of diners walking upstairs to the semi-private Mezzanine event dining space. This area overlooks the entire dining room and offers a private bar, full audio/visual capabilities and separate entrance.
Now there is a new dining place to meet friends in Westwood. It’s a great go-to-spot for drinks and food before a theatrical performance at the Geffen Playhouse or UCLA event.
The restaurant is open for lunch on Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Come into the bar drinks and snacks from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Dinner is served daily from 5 to 11 p.m. The restaurant stays open with a late night menu from 11p.m. to 1 a.m. $$ 1071 Glendon Ave. (310)208-1071.
This article was featured in the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News on March 7, 2019.