The thriving Larchmont Village community continues to establish itself as a newfangled dining hub within Hollywood with the opening of Kali, the passion project of long-time friends and professional colleagues Chef Kevin Meehan and Drew Langley, formerly the Wine Director at the seminal, Michelin-starred Providence. The restaurant, which will open in the former Midtown Bar & Kitchen space at 5722 Melrose Ave. near Paramount Picture Studios on Wednesday, January 27th, will offer Meehan’s nuanced twist on contemporary California cuisine and ingredient-focused cocktails, accompanied by an accessible wine program curated by Langley.
Kali represents not only an evolution of Meehan’s roving private dinner party pop-up, Kali Dining, but the evolution of both Meehan and Langley’s professional arcs within the context of Los Angeles’ dining scene. Meehan and Langley paths first crossed at the celebrated L’Orangerie in 2001 when Chef Ludo Lefebvre was at the helm, and the duo subsequently worked together at the now-closed Bastide and Citrine, before Meehan embarked on his seven-year tenure with Patina Restaurant Group (Patina, Café Pinot), and Langley joined the opening team at Providence in 2005.
“Kali was born out of Drew’s and my desire to offer a new style of dining in Los Angeles: Michelin-level cuisine, wine and hospitality, re-imagined and stripped of the white tablecloths and tension of a formal environment.” Says Meehan.
“We envision Kali as a neighborhood haunt for the everyday,” Adds Langley. “It’s as appropriate for an impromptu, week night meal with friends as it is for a business dinner, date night or post-work drink.”
Meehan’s succinct à la carte menu is grounded by locally-sourced ingredients that inform the plating and construction of each dish. Diners can begin their meal with offerings like Rockfish Crudo married with citrus, green olives, pink peppercorns, and nasturtium; Escargot toast points; or Heritage Grain Risotto with black garlic and San Joaquin cheese; before transitioning into the larger mains. Offerings like Squab with carrots, honey, and lavender; Beef Tenderloin with burnt onion and fingerling potatoes; and Cavatelli with local peppercorns, crème fraîche and fried wild arugula will be a study in restraint and seasonality. Desserts, also crafted by Meehan, will be similarly imagined from their core components – a Toasted Meringue Gelato dusted with shavings of cured candied egg yolk; a Bitter Chocolate Cremeux accessorized with mint and cocoa soil as a play on the ultimate after dinner mint; and a Flan Grasgarnished with almonds and red wine gastrique. A supplementary bites menu with housemade chips with crème fraîche, cheese poufs and uni crostini will be available for those dining or drinking at the bar.
The bar will be fortified by Langley’s wine program, composed to complement and pair with Meehan’s ingredient-focused menu. In addition to the cave du jour (daily wine list) that will feature affordable California finds with an emphasis on Central Coast bottles, as well as international selections, Langley will also offer a “Collection” list spotlighting rare and small production bottles sourced from private collectors. Beverage offerings will be rounded out with classic cocktails that showcase locally-sourced based spirits, housemade shrubs and farmers market finds, as well as California and international craft beer, and Meehan’s housemade kombucha. LAMILL coffee and tableside tea & tisane service will be proffered at the completion of a meal.
Like the restaurant itself, the design of the 2,000 square foot space, imagined by Meehan and Langley, is a reflection of their shared vision to create an environment that is modern, yet comfortable. The slate stone flooring and high-arched, exposed ceilings find their foil in the warm tones of beige cushioned banquets and paneled oak tables simply dressed with minimalistic wire Banzai trees. A moss-covered wall at the front entrance, and open kitchen rimmed with an exposed refrigerated cooler of hanging ducks hints at the playfulness of the venture. With the 16 seats at the L-shaped bar, hugging the kitchen, the space will seat approximately 65 guests.
Kali will be open for dinner from 6 pm – 10 pm, Monday – Saturday. Reservations can be made via OpenTable starting January 27th, or by phoning the restaurant at 323.871.4160. For more information visit www.kalirestaurant.com. Follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @KaliRestaurant for up-to-the-minute updates.