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Rusticity in the City

With his new restaurant, L.A. Farm, former La Serre chef Jean-Pierre Peiny renounces his haute-cuisine past. He now wants to be known as a simple farm boy.

Where La Serre was a place of genteel gazebos, bales of hay are casually tossed in L.A. Farm’s entryway. A distressed-metal steer grazes in a planter. A huge wooden gate, which on a real farm might conceal a horse pen, disguises a lovely patio that opens out onto the glassed-in open kitchen. This is after all L.A. Farm.

Peiny, it turns out, is something of a citified farm boy. Even the restaurant’s location--in the same complex where “The Simpsons” show is sound-edited and the writers of “Northern Exposure” dream up moose jokes--is pure Hollywood.

But the prices are low--the most expensive dish is $13. And there is a section on the menu titled “Farm Cuisine.” From here you can order braised corned beef and cabbage and a decent chicken pot-au-feu . A baked pork loin, however, is not hearty and rustic farm food, but a polite and somewhat dull plate of white meat--with baby vegetables! There are plenty of fish dishes and salads for city people worried about cholesterol; burgers and Caesars for those who aren’t. World-cuisine fans might try Thai spicy shrimp or jalapeno linguine with an avocado-cilantro sauce. This is a cosmopolitan farm.

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L.A. Farm, 3000 W. Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 829-0600. Entrees $6-$13.


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