There is no doubt that Echo Park has become the “it” spot in Los Angeles—from the Echoplex, to a new organic grocery store, to…wait a minute, yes, that sound you heard was another coffee shop opening on Sunset. However, just opening your reclaimed-wood doors to the public doesn’t guarantee success, especially in the restaurant business. We need to tip our 40oz microbrews in memory of our fallen homies—Allumette, Red Hill, Allston Yacht Club…While some inventive and tasty work was being done at each failed restaurant, you need more than a catchy name and a “high concept” to expect people to pay high prices.
Fortunately, a new spot opened up that seems to get “it”—Ostrich Farm. To answer your first question, no, they do not serve ostrich. As for the real scoop on the name, I suggest asking any one of the extremely friendly and personable staff, including the co-owner, Brooke Fructman, who works the front. You’ll find her husband, Jaime Turry, in the kitchen manning the wood-fired grill (more on that later.)
The restaurant interior is minimal but inviting. The exposed brick walls are painted white and the subdued lighting gives off a romantic glow without feeling like you have to be a couple to enjoy the ambiance. In fact, the night my wife and I went, there was a family of four next to us, while a clearly dating couple sat next to them. Along with comfortable seating, a lengthy bar encourages a glass of wine and appetizers solo.
The locally-sourced menu is short and sweet and much appreciated. Better to focus on a limited amount of choices and do them well, which Ostrich Farm expertly does. We started with a flatbread and, as anyone who has met me will tell you, I have a Clockwork Orange-like aversion to flatbreads. I feel like it’s a not-so-clever way of telling me “no, we don’t serve pizza,” when, in fact, yeah, it’s a pizza. However, this flat bread was quite good and a pleasant start to the meal. The bread was nicely chewy and topped with grilled leeks, stilton cheese, and light truffle oil.
There are a variety of starters spanning multiple cuisines that are perfect for sharing. While the seafood options looked great (including a fritto misto), we could not pass up the chicken liver on grilled toast. I am a fiend for chicken liver and my Jewish aunt makes the best in the world. No, really, just ask her. I’ll be kicked out of the family if I say the Ostrich Farm’s version is better, but it’s pretty damn close. It’s a rough chopped liver, so if that’s not your thing then, well, you should probably make it your thing, as the full intensity of the liver is allowed to shine through.
There are two salads to choose from and we went with the crab salad—a generous helping of crab (the real stuff), avocado, escarole and winter citrus in a light lemon vinaigrette. It’s a refreshing mix that was surprisingly large enough to share, even though there was a battle for the last bits of crab!
For entrees, we relied on the sage advice of our new favorite server of all time, Ashley, and chose the grilled ribeye and the pork “ossobuco.” Here is where the wood-fired grill comes into play as the smoke adds a subtle hint of flavor to the meat without being overpowering. The cut is seasoned perfectly, although my medium-rare came out a bit more pink than expected. The ossobuco is a real star, substituting the most melt-in-your-mouth pork in lieu of the traditional veal shank. Nestled on a bed of polenta and accompanied by slightly-bitter broccoli rabe, it’s a wonderfully comforting dish, especially on a rare cold LA night.
There are four options for dessert, and the top choice of both my wife and I, is the Elton John w/ meringue. The name “Elton John” is one of those happy accidents that occurs when an English dish (Eton mess) is interpreted by a multi-cultural kitchen. Whatever it’s called, it’s full of lemony goodness and fresh berries, and is a perfect way to end the meal.
Great news for locals and non-locals alike, Ostrich Farm is expanding their Thursday-Saturday hours until 2:00am, and will have a small plate option starting at 10:00pm on those nights. A Sunday brunch is in the works as well, so whether you’re out late or hung over from the night before (or both), you’ll find a welcome respite at Ostrich Farm.
Ostrich Farm is located at 1525 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles CA, 90026
Check out the menu here.