Chef Phuong Tran (Benley), Jeremy Browne (Alfred Coffee) and Michael Della Femina (NYC’s Della Femina Hospitality Group) have announced the opening of their new hybrid charcuterie eatery and concept space, Croft Alley. Set behind neighborhood hub Alfred Coffee in a post-war townhouse with an urban chic interior designed by Amanda Overton (Saigon Trading House, Benley), Croft Alley aims to become the unofficial lunch commissary and gathering place for their trendy Melrose Place neighbors, including The Row, Carolina Herrera and Marc Jacobs.
Initially, Croft Alley will be open for lunchtime eat-in or-“Room Service”-delivery service for those in the Melrose Place neighborhood. Additionally, Croft Alley will offer a reservation-only private dining and special event series for LA’s most daring foodies looking for an intimate, adventurous eating experience.
Chef Tran brings a global approach that includes French, Vietnamese, Italian and Irish influences to the decidedly Northern European and Latin heritage of sandwiches, charcuterie, smoked and cured meats, exotic and humble local vegetables and fruits. The menu promises frequent changes based on local availability but for the lunchtime menu, diners can expect salads including: Tuscan lacinato kale salad with garden herbs, citrus vinaigrette, and toasted shallots, charred pulpo salad with macerated ginger vinaigrette and runner beans, and kimchee-soaked butter lettuce, pineapple mint, and gochujang vinaigrette; sandwiches including: speck and gruyere fondue grilled cheese, mushroom pate, fontina and sauce gribiche tartine, and tofu and mushroom banh mi. Charcuterie and cheeses vary daily but currently include the renowned Cabacero de Iberico; house cured kurobuta (Japanese Berkshire hog) jowl, sardine, vegetable and mushroom pates, bitter chocolate “Salumi,” Challerhocker (cow), Mycella Blue (cow), Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, and house- made goat ricotta.
With something to satisfy both carnivores and vegetarians, specials will come and go with both seasons and whimsy, including a broccolini rabe, scallion and allepe chili pizzette, the “Knuckle Sandwich,” made with and Phuong’s Bao Burger.
Raised in New Orleans, Phuong Tran studied computer science engineering, which of course led him straight to New York City and into the kitchen of Jean-George Vongerichten at Mercer Kitchen. After moving to California, he worked with Thomas Keller and Nancy Silverton before opening the modest yet innovative Benley with his family and undertaking pop-ups with partner Michael Della Femina. For his part, Della Femina helped foster popup restaurant culture in LA with offerings as diverse as Indo and Bloody Bill’s on Sunset Boulevard, as well as his family’s namesake Della Femina’s in the Hamptons. Browne has opened three craft coffee shops including Alfred, two non-traditional liquor retailers in Boston and the reinvention of a small restaurant in Inishmore, Ireland called the Pier House.