There’s no denying that a stint on America’s Top Chef TV show is fast becoming the default preferred method for young US chefs to gain credence, chops and ultimately their own restaurants. In the case of CJ Jacobson – ex-volleyball player (he’s 6ft 8”) and private chef to amongst others Arianna Huffington – the Top Chef alum also went on to intern at the now legendary Denmark eatery Noma before selecting bustling Studio City as the location for his first standalone premises, Girasol (Spanish for ‘sunflower’).
With a grey and white, lyrical, swirling interior courtesy of designer Gulla Jonsdottir complete with cool, limed floorboards and simple wood tables, the stage is set for Jacobson’s produce-driven, California menu that delights in well-reasoned (and seasoned) pairings like pork satay with caramelised onion puree, grilled lemon and fennel pollen, and whole-fried red snapper with crispy greens and fermented Fresno chili sauce with kumquat, sorrel and citrus. Elsewhere you’ll find perfectly executed roast chicken and meatballs, and a delightful steak salad with watermelon and pickled rind vinaigrette as well as vegan/gluten-free options – this is LA, darling. With a small but neatly edited range of beers and wines (14 by the glass), many of which are organic, Girasol is already bringing a fresh bloom to Studio City.