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Chef of the moment: Barton G.'s Jeff O’Neill serves his steak with a 3-foot fork

Jeff O’Neill is the executive chef at Barton G., the newly opened L.A. outlet of the Miami restaurant known for its seasonal cuisine and fantastical plating, such as a steak served on a wooden board with a 3-foot giant’s fork and a salad in a mini-wheelbarrow with gardening tools, flower pots of lettuce, quinoa and packets of sunflower seeds. At Barton G. in Beverly Grove, O’Neill is turning out some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, including the samurai tuna, with rice-cracker-crusted fish, long beans, toasted shishito pepper, mandarin-laced soba noodles and yuzu-pomegranate butter served with a replica of a samurai sword; and the lobster “pop tarts” with Gruyere, served in an actual toaster. He’s also planning a complete menu overhaul highlighting new ingredients in the fall.

What’s coming up next on your menu? We will stay in the summer season as long as possible to take full advantage of the amazing products available on the West Coast. This week we will introduce a new vegetarian pasta dish called It’s Easy Being Green, which is a fava bean ravioli made with fresh ricotta and asparagus. The accompaniments to the pasta are ever-changing but are an assortment of green vegetables and herbs, creating a lavish green garden.

Latest ingredient obsession? Seeds, grains and herbs. We are always searching to create something innovative and unexpected while playing a role in the always-evolving Barton G. brand. We have developed some really cool items, ranging from pasta to breads and desserts using seeds.

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What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again — and what do you order? Mozza. I love great pasta. But my secret guilty pleasure is P.F. Chang’s. I love the orange peel chicken.

The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? Winston CVap. It is a climate-controlled oven. In the age of modern cuisine, it plays a role in executing precision cuisine, for our Barton G. events and in the busy restaurants.

What chef has most influenced you? I would have to say both Daniel Boulud and Alex Lee, who was executive chef of Daniel for the first 12 years. I had the privilege of being on the opening team of the original Daniel, and the discipline and commitment to the craft was immeasurable. It was a very special time and I was lucky to be there. Discipline, dedication, details! But without question, working with Barton Weiss has been a game changer. I will never view hospitality the same way again! That is for sure.

Barton G., 861 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 388-1888, www.bartongtherestaurantla.com.

Twitter: @Jenn_Harris_


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