The corner of Moorpark and Bakman in Studio City has been home to many restaurants, none of which could get a following to sustain itself until, quite possibly, now. Top Chef’s CJ Jacobson opened up Girasol in July to mostly great reviews; some issues with perhaps a green waitstaff and lean wine cellar, but let’s chalk that up to growing pains.
Girasol is the Spanish word for sunflower, and the building itself has been transformed into a modern sunflower motif in varying shades of gray. The walls, windows and table design depict abstract sunflower petals, and the food is as welcoming as a sunflower itself. The showstopper is the whole fried snapper sitting proudly on its bed of greens, but my favorites veer to the small plates – the perfectly cooked smoky, sweet and acidic octopus salad, stone fruit salad with burrata and crispy lentils (watch your teeth though, they are really crispy!), dried fava bean puree with piquant housemade chorizo, and pork satay that has been thinly sliced, marinated, pushed together on a skewer to mimic cubed pieces of meat, then grilled and sauced.
The meatballs are a great go-to for the more traditional eater – moist and lightly packed so they don’t end up feeling like bricks in your belly. The Hamachi is beautifully presented and delicately seasoned so as not to overpower the fish, but if you’re not used to fine French plating, it may seem like you’re missing some food on the large white plate.
And great news for those of you who haven’t read anything you want to try, Chef Jacobson is basing his menu on hyper-seasonal products so in a few weeks you’ll have something completely new to try.
At such a high quality level, we’re bound to scrutinize the details, and the details make this restaurant a MUST to visit, even if you do have to get on the 405.