Cajun in California
What do you get when you mix traditional coastal low-country cuisine with seasonal Californian produce? The answer is, Willie Jane, the latest restaurant to take trendy Abbot Kinney Boulevard by storm.
From renowned restaurateur Brad Johnson and chef Govind Armstrong (Post & Beam, Table 8), this heritage-inspired spot pays tribute to Johnson’s down-home Southern flavours, which have of course been spruced for the waistline-watching Angeleno crowd by Armstrong’s deft hand. In fact such an inspiration were Johnson’s roots, that Willie Jane was named for his oldest living relative, who incidentally celebrates the big 100 this year.
The succinct menu features re-imagined classics like Dungeness crab soup with savory Benne wafer, sweet tea-brined pork chop with wilted greens and date mostarda, and cast iron chicken with cornbread panzanella and collard green pecan pesto, while four large-format plates perfect for sharing include whole curried oxtail with grilled plantains, and Southern Comfort and hickory-smoked sirloin cap.
The drinks list is similarly Southern-inspired, with gin-based cherry lime rickeys and Cajun classics like Sazerac and Vieux Carré also on offer. It’s all served up in a rustic, wooden-floored, leather-boothed and floral-wallpapered space, but try for a table on the charming, candlelit back patio. Southern meets SoCal!