Restaurant Review: 71 Above, Sushi of Gari, Kali, and Chez Tex

In a city rife with dining options, four newcomers stand out from the crowd  by offering diners new tastes in familiar neighborhoods

71 Above

Downtown Los Angeles
Modern American

Thanks to one of the city’s newest and most exciting openings, 71 Above, you can now gaze down about Los Angeles from nearly 1,000 feet while enjoying a multi course dinner by Chef Vartan Abgaryan.

The meal is elegant from the start, seasonal and always right for a special occasion. Try the squash with whipped panna cotta, pomegranate, fried sage, and pumpkin seeds (it’s earthy and subtly sweet) and the octopus (very tender) with mustard, pickled pearl onions, and herbs. Also worth diving into is the wild, striped bass (loaded with flavor) served with cauliflower, harissa, raisins, pine nuts, and preserved lemon.

Desserts – like the pineapple and passion with brown butter, rum, tarragon, cream cheese, and lime as well as the pumpkin dessert with kabocha squash mousse and ice-cream with brown sugar fluff and candied spiced pecans – are all quite modern and should not be passed up. 

Be sure to book a table at the window or the Chef’s table to really enjoy the whole experience.

Chez Tex

Modern American

First-time restaurateurs Hayley and Jesse Feldman may be new to the dining arena, but they’ve hit a homerun with the elegantly modern Chez Tex on Main Street in Venice.

While the name evokes thoughts of Tex-Mex cuisine, the food is much more French than Mexican and one dish after another reminds you how less is more when you have phenomenal ingredients under the direction of Chef Ashkan “Ash” Ghassemzadeh, formerly of Republique.

Grass-fed beef tartare with chili, scarlett grape, and aioli comes with perfectly charred thick pieces of bread. A fairytale pumpkin salad with red Russian kale and pomegranate was a welcome taste. Mains are equally wonderful, particularly the salmon in tomato dashi with chives.

Peaches and cream was delightfully unique and light, as tiny green peaches are served on a bed of thick, luscious cream. Chocolate mousse is heavenly and rich. A short but well thought out wine list makes your evening even more enjoyable. Also open for lunch.


Los Angeles
Modern America

Owners Kevin Meehan (formerly of Patina and Bastide) and Drew Langley (former wine direction at Providence) have teamed up to focus on contemporary California cuisine that is modern and approachable, just like the space they have occupied on Melrose.

Warm rosemary rolls are too good to skip. Served after you order with a bit of creamy butter and salt, they are light and go down easily.

The duo has already received acclaim for the wheatberry risotto, unique with this thicker grain infused with garlic and topped with cheese. Cavatelli pasta is rich, served with arugula, peppercorn, and crème fraîche. Mains range from duck with carrot, coffee, honey, and cocoa to a red snapper with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and purslane.

The best bite of the night is the meringue gelato with shavings of candied egg yolk on top.

The wine list is worth pursuing and cocktails are ingredient-driven. Open for lunch and dinner.

Sushi of Gari


Living in LA, we have no shortage of sushi. Whether you are a purist and like your sushi simply on a bit of rice or you prefer the bells and whistles of the trendy sushi with rolls, tempura flakes, and every combination imaginable, this city has something for everyone.

Most of us fall somewhere in between. We want the best quality fish possible, but we also want flavor. We want something unique that is artfully created and beautifully presented. Luckily, you will find this and more in the new Sushi of Gari that opened in May in Hollywood.

Sushi of Gari hails from New York City, where chef Masatoshi Gari Sugio created his own brands of sauce in an effort to aid the enjoyment and taste of delicate fish. In 1997 he opened his first restaurant on the Upper Eastside of New York. Since then, Gari has opened four additional restaurants, all serving his unique sauces and signature toppings.

The small space is located on Hollywood Blvd with pale woods and the focus being the sushi bar.

This is sushi unlike you’ve ever had it before. Each bite of fish is meticulously sourced and designed, like art or a fine piece of jewelry. Reserve a spot at the bar and sit back and enjoy the show.

Deep red bluefin tuna is topped with creamy tofu puree and sesame chili oil. A pale peach salmon is topped with sweet onion sauce and seared tomato. Japanese red snapper is served with arugula, toasted pine nuts, crispy lotus root, and wasabi olive oil. Blowtorched fresh squid is topped with sea urchin sauce. Each bite seems to be more remarkable than the last. The fish is in perfect harmony with the exquisite toppings. Also open for lunch.