By Betty Hallock
12:58 PM PST, February 4, 2013
The new A.O.C., located in the space that was until recently Il Covo on West 3rd Street, opens on Wednesday. Suzanne Goin and business partner Caroline Styne, owners of Lucques, Tavern and the Larder at Maple Drive, decided last year to move the decade-old A.O.C. to a new spot to give the small-plates restaurant a refresher. (The A.O.C. cookbooks, with recipes by Goin and pairing suggestions from Styne, is coming out this fall.)
At the new A.O.C. are Goin’s usual seasonal small plates: cheese and charcuterie, salads, vegetables and dishes from the wood burning oven. Market focaccia is now a regular feature with platters to share – grilled whole fish with tomato rice, fried egg and crispy sopressata; whole roast chicken "ode to Zuni" with panzanella, fennel, Meyer lemon and green olives; suckling pig confit with coconut rice, lemon grass sambal, bok choy and fried skin; and lamb shank with grilled white bean bruschetta, tapenade and feta salsa verde.
Lauren Herman, A.O.C. chef de cuisine since 2011, helms the kitchen. And Christina Olufson, winner of the Zagat 30 Under 30, is executive pastry chef.
New for A.O.C. is a full bar, and lead bartender Christiaan Rollich created 10 new market-driven cocktails including Fire & Smoke, Sancho Panza, the Controller, 3rd Street Hotel, and the Lebowski. Styne, of course, put together the wine list -- with 150 labels and 24 wines by the glass -- of entirely organic, biodynamic or sustainable wines.
Claire Stansfield handled the sprucing up of the restaurant -- with a new white exterior and a logo by Aaron Cook. Inside are lightened wood paneling, sage green walls, black beams and a lacquered persimmon bar -- a nod to Goin’s favorite fruit. But much of the Il Covo space has stayed the same -- outdoor and interior fireplaces, mohair booths, marble flooring. And Edible Gardens LA's Lauri Kranz designed the gardens on the patio, with bay leaf trees, potted herbs, vegetables and fruit trees.
Dinner is nightly from 5:30 p.m., with lunch and brunch coming in a few weeks. Lunch will be 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekdays, and weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cocktail Hour continues at the new location, available daily at the bar from 5 to 7 p.m. with selected wines, beer, cocktails and small bites.
8700 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (323) 859-9859, www.aocwinebar.com.
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