The Melrose Hill moment
RESTAURANTS • First Person
Ètra, which opened last week in Melrose Hill, is the first capital-d Dinner restaurant among the neighborhood’s slew of forthcoming openings (see Intel, below). The Italian newcomer hides behind its daytime counterpart, Café Telegrama, which was immediately swarmed when it opened last month.
Parking is tricky around the trafficky intersection of Western and Melrose, an early concern for the burgeoning area, where blue chip gallerist David Zwirner also planted his LA flag last spring. Otherwise, it’s been an impressive doubleheader premiere.
Telegrama serves a satisfying Greek yogurt with granola and seasonal preserves in the morning. At lunch, a craveworthy tuna melt-inspired sandwich stars pepperoncini aioli in place of cheddar. The space is airy and polished, with a sunny patio that folds into Ètra come nightfall.
Handsome and (a bit too) dimly lit, Ètra is reminiscent of a Bode store: all warm wood, an intimate smattering of tables, and a six-seat wine bar. Chef and co-owner Evan Algorri gives the people what they want: crudo, extra-tender meatballs, pastas, chicken with Calabrian chili juice, steak with grilled cabbage. The silky spaghetti pomodoro has a kick of heat, and the chicory salad with anchovy, black pepper, and cured yolk is the best new Caesar in town.
During opening week, the crowd was a who’s who from the restaurant industry and LA’s creative set. As galleries continue to open up in the area, it’s likely to become an art world go-to.
But right out of the gate, Ètra is as hot at night as Telegrama by day. Melrose Hill is off to the races. –Emily Wilson
RESTAURANTS • Intel
MORE MELROSE HILL: The team from beloved wine shop Domaine LA is opening a French restaurant in the neighborhood. Per our source, the buildout should be done by March and it'll be “somewhere in between Stir Crazy and [NYC’s] Frenchette.”
AND MORE: Also slated for early ’24, L.A. Grocery & Cafe, a 5,000 SF cafe and market by one of the Honey Hi founders. Plus, the first west coast outpost of New York City’s Scarr’s Pizza, a full-service restaurant from the Little Fish team, and Color Club, a new nightclub from the Haas Brothers (who are currently on display at Deitch).