Erica’s Picks: The Village
Newly opened in Studio City, The Village is the next hot spot on Ventura Blvd. Frank Leon took his former Bokado space and made it an open-aired gastropub, thanks to a retractable roof over the main dining room. No reservation needed, but expect to cozy up next to strangers at the bar while you wait since the word is out that this spot is the next great thing in the Valley.
The menu offers small bites, mini pizzas and a mozzarella bar. Don’t miss out on the brussels sprouts sautéed with a sweet cider glaze, or the burrata caprese which is fresh and tangy. The truffle jalapeno mac and cheese packs a punch, though knocks out the truffle flavor; and the aglio-olio pizza could be amazing but the garlic overwhelms the lovely sottocenere cheese with black truffle, perhaps just some growing pains on a very busy Saturday night. For a twist on the slider, try the beef/lamb mini burgers; the bun is small and delicate, and the meat is rich making these minis perfectly decadent and easy to eat. Consider them the first date-proof burgers.
From the cocktail list, enjoy libations that give homage to famous authors. Not only have they concocted drinks toasting the likes of Hemmingway, Booker T. Washington and Samuel Clemens, but the menu includes a mini history lesson for each cocktail. Who knew a cocktail could make you smarter? Well, maybe Hemmingway did.