I’m not gonna lie, when I walked into Stella Barra for dinner on Friday night, I thought it would be dead.
Not anything against the restaurant…just the location. It’s kind of cursed.
I’ve been to some of the prior attempts, the ghosts of restaurants past. They didn’t exactly stick.
Which surprises me, since it’s a prime location, right next to the Arclight theater.
Apparently, moviegoers are picky eaters. Or maybe everyone has just blown their load on the $17 small soda and $20 tub of popcorn?
Instead of a barren wasteland of desperately bored servers, I walked into a bustling, happening place!
There were butts in the seats!
The very comfortable seats, I might add. Comfy seating is not a common trend, sadly.
This place has plush, leather couches! A nosh and a nap!
It was very impressive.
We started with a few cocktails. The Freshie Fresh lived up to it’s name – was very light and peachy. The SOB Cowboy was the complete opposite – boozy. A good sipping cocktail.
Onto the food.
Chef Jeff Mahin is the creative force behind Stella Barra (as well as it’s sister restaurant, Stella Rossa and M Street Cafe, both in Santa Monica) and is really kicking ass in the cocina.
When I recently asked Jeff about what he’s trying to accomplish at SB, he commented “Each day we focus on trying to make each dish better. Every day I am trying something new or trying to find a better product or technique. I am a huge advocate for service”.
The pizzas were so freaking good, they caused me to bump my previous favorite gourmet pizza in LA (Olio Pizzeria) down a notch.
Many gourmet pizzas are cooked for so short of a time in 1000000 degree ovens, they don’t develop any sort of crispy crust.
They’re usually chewy, soggy and covered in little burn spots.
I still eat the hell out of them, mind you.
Each one of Stella Barra’s pies had an addictive crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside crust that I kept chowing down on, even though my protruding stomach screamed in protest.
“Shut the hell up!” I shouted to myself and kept eating.
The meatballs were incredible, thanks to some actual seasoning in the meat (many gourmet meatballs seem to rely solely on the sauce to save it from tasting like it was straight out of a Costco freezer) and some delicious, tangy tomato sauce.
Drinkable, that stuff.
Stella Barra just opened, so I’ll cut it some slack in the salad department. Right now, I probably wouldn’t order either salad again.
They were just all right. Not much going on.
But we didn’t come to SB for our health, so we finished off the meal with a few GINORMOUS cookies!
If you don’t order at least one cookie for the table, you’re an a**hole. You probably swerve to hit bicycles and I seriously doubt you recycle or love your mother.
I honestly couldn’t tell which one I loved and desired the most. The rice crispie cookie was unique and necessary. The salted chocolate chip was heaven in cow pattie form.
I have a feeling the bad luck has finally run out on this location and Stella Barra is here to stay (and fatten us up).
6372 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028