In the middle of the Sunset Strip, near the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Horner Avenue, there's a hippie oasis. This is Estrella, a new restaurant by partners Alan Nathan, Brett Nestadt and chef/partner Dakota Weiss. And stepping inside the front doors is like a visit to your grandmother's house circa 1971 — if she were glamorous, lived in Laurel Canyon and was besties with
Designed by the Santa Monica-based design boutique agency Studio Collective, it has macrame lampshades and sea shells, hand-painted Mexican tiles along the bar, leather bar stools handmade in Spain and A-frame ceilings that give the look and vibe of an old-school Hollywood Hills bungalow.
Weiss, a "Top Chef" alum and chef at Sweetfin poke in Santa Monica, designed the menu to incorporate global flavors — in a nod to her time spent working in hotels, and as a way to match the restaurant's aesthetics.
"I dug into the roots of what my mom used to cook me when I was a child," said Weiss of her Lancaster upbringing. "You walk in here and you see the macrame and you definitely get a comfortable hippie vibe. So I try to make everything from scratch, use local ingredients, organic when possible."
And she's taking the homemade idea seriously. Weiss is making her own yogurt from scratch, which she serves with house-made strawberry jam and granola; as well as a goat's milk sour cream served with a beet salad.
But the dish she's most excited about may be something called the Rolling Stone. It's a poached egg in an avocado, wrapped in bacon and baked, served with sliced tomato and queso fresco. It was inspired by the Rebel Within pastry (pastry stuffed with egg, sausage, cheese and green onion) from Craftsman and Wolves, where Weiss and her pastry chef, Amy Ketcheson, spent time training under William Werner.
If you're looking for guacamole, Weiss' version is made with roasted artichokes, boursin cheese and sour cream (sorry, no avocado).
The cocktail list, designed by Gia St. George, features drinks with names such as It Happened in Laurel Canyon, made with gin, house-made tonic, coconut ice cubes and basil.
Designed by the Santa Monica-based design boutique agency Studio Collective, the dining room features lounge seating, multiple communal tables and an intimate table by the window with peacock chairs. The front and side patio areas offer multiple nooks to sit in, and there's a fireplace and piano in the back.
Imagine the backyard at that glamorous grandmother's house, with plenty of greenery, a mix of fabrics and a guitar in the corner for her musically inclined friends. In the back: a private dining room and bar, available to rent for private parties. And beyond that? A movie theater that seats up to 60.
Estrella will be open daily from 7 a.m., with full breakfast and dinner service, and a grab-and-go area for lunch. Full lunch service will be added by January.
The restaurant opens tonight and is open through the weekend. It's dark Monday, then reopens Tuesday.
8800 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, www.estrellasunset.com.
I could drink a case of you. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_