Perfection at Girasol & Dine LA News
The San Fernando Valley will forever hold a special place in my heart. I was born and raised there and I get so excited when there’s a restaurant that lives up to its hype. The Valley can be a food desert of sorts so Girasol in Studio City was a surprisingly breath of fresh air. Girasol feels like a hip, Downtown LA hot spot, but it’s located in San Fernando Valley. Spanish for "sunflower", Girasol’s walls and ceiling have a floral theme that run throughout the eatery. The restaurant's executive chef is Top Chef alum CJ Jacobson who uses local fresh produce, aromatics, and herbs for all his dishes and drinks. Girasol is his interpretation of modern California cuisine.Chef CJ wasn't in when I visited, but Chef Justin was amazing at executing the meal. He suggested this Penryn Orchard Persimmons and burrata with forest floor vinaigrette, crispy lentil, and basil. The persimmons were so ripe they tasted like candy. I eat persimmons a lot, but these were unlike any I've had before. Chef Justin forages for all his herbs. Pisco pear mojito with kappa pisco, prickly pear cactus fruit, fresh mint, lime, and soda. Not only was the drink beautiful in color, but it was also unbelievably delicious.
Next up was the Fruit Carpaccio made with pomegranate, apple, citrus, and chili. I honestly wasn’t expecting to like this dish. I think of Carpaccio as a savory dish and this was the complete opposite. The tang of the citrus and pomegranate coupled with the sweetness of the apple and spice of the chili was an sensory explosion. This is a must get. This dish reminded me of Thai raw mangos that I like to dip with chili and salt. It’s delicious. Trust me.The most colorful dish of the meal was the hamachi with sea beans, finger lime, white fir, & wild sorrel broth. I'm drooling reliving my meal via pictures right now. The showstopper dish at Girasol is the signature whole fried red snapper. The fish beautifully sits on a bed of crispy kale. The meat was fantastic. It was juicy and fried to perfection. There were a lot of bones, but nothing I couldn't handle. The crazy thing is the fish wasn't even the best part of the dish. That sauce was on another level. I wanted to bottle that and take it home with me. The fermented Fresno chili, kumquat, and sorrel sauce tasted like an authentic Thai/ Southeast Asian sauce. It was full of flavor. After dipping the fish in the sauce, I pored it all over the crispy kale chips. I know I keep on saying that every dish was delicious, but it really was. The pan-roasted duck breast with duck confit, radish, Asian pears, chanterelles, with wild Jupiter reduction was no exception. The duck meat was moist and juicy. The meat has a nice smokey flavor and I was simply taken aback by how tasty it was. At this point you can imagine how full I was, but who am I to say no to dessert? Girasol's Smores Cake was to die for! The dark chocolate bar with marshmallows graham cracker crust and banana cream was a different take on smores. I didn't miss the traditional kind at all. I want Girasol's Smores Cake from now on! I can't wait to go back.
On that note, I wanted to let you guys know that it's almost time for Dine L.A.'s Restaurant Week again! It's going to run from Monday, January 18 to Sunday, January 31, 2016. The most exciting news, however is that in addition to all the usual Dine L.A. deals, this time the program is adding a new tier of experiential menus from the city’s top chefs called the Exclusive Series. The Exclusive Series allows chefs and restaurants in various neighborhoods to create experiential menus unique to the series starting at $95, with no limit to the price point. And lucky for you and me, Girasol is one of the high end restaurants that will be participating in the inaugural Exclusive Series!
To find out what other restaurants will be part of the Dine L.A. Restaurant Week and Exclusive Series, visit http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/dinela-los-angeles-restaurant-week.
11334 Moorpark Street Studio City, CA 91602, 818-924-2323.