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Church Key’s Steven Fretz to open new restaurant Fin and Fire

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Steven Fretz, the chef at Church Key in West Hollywood, is working on a new downtown L.A. project. The seafood-driven restaurant, likely to be called Fin and Fire, is to open across from Bestia in about 10 months.

Fretz is partnering with the Moscow-based restaurant group the Ginza Project on the space and an additional space downtown.

The planned food at Fin and Fire would take Fretz back to his culinary roots, focusing on seafood much like he did while working with Michael Mina as executive chef at Saltwater.

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“Fish is something that’s very close to me,” Fretz said. “It’s something that I do, I think, really well, and I think downtown is ready for a very approachable fish restaurant.”

There will be tataki, crudites, tartar and cataplanas cooked in the wood oven and served tableside, he said, and all of the cataplanas will be served with fermented black garlic bread.

“I really want to do a big lunch crowd with classical seafood items,” he said. “There will be lobster rolls, soft shell crab, Vietnamese rolls, crab cakes, but done whimsically.”

Fretz also plans on having a large portion of the menu devoted to vegetables in season, and will also serve a roast chicken and steak.

Fretz said he wants the kitchen to be completely open, and would like to go as far as having an entrance through the kitchen.

“I want people, when they walk into the restaurant, to walk right into the kitchen,” he said. “You’re greeted by the cooks and the chefs.”

The 2,100 square-foot-space will include a total of 60 seats, with a rooftop dining room (overlooking the 7th and 6th Street bridges) accommodating 40, and a lounge and bar downstairs.

The building will be painted black and the entire thing will be draped in a copper curtain, he said, with hologram fish motifs in the copper. When you pull up to the restaurant, it will be all-glass.

“There will be a lot of turquoise, marble, copper and black,” Fretz said. “It’s very modern but with a very classic feel. We’re not going to do the reclaimed-wood thing.”

And for on your way out -- while you’re waiting for your car from the valet -- Fretz is planning a take-out window where you can present your dinner check for a small gift to go.

2140 E. 7th Place, Unit C., Los Angeles.

More news you can sink your teeth into? Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_

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