One might have doubts about The Bellwether (the neighborhood, the logo, the TV above the bar…), but they all vanish at first bite. Ted Hopson (formerly at Father’s Office and Lukshon) wakes up Studio City with a good dose of of R&D. Indeed, an entire section of the menu is dedicated to R&D, allowing the chef to try out his experiments. At the height of his research, these ultra-technological fries (brined, steamed for 43 minutes, frozen, fried… a specific process that takes up to 3 days) for crunchy batons that are soft like mashed potatoes inside. Sit on the patio, order a White Negroni or a Bellwether Manhattan, savor the moment like Gordon Ramsay did before you. Ted Hopson draws his inspiration everywhere: Father’s Office’s comfort food for decadent patty melt, his Italian grandmother for fava beans and generous meatballs, Mediterranean influences for octopus with tabbouleh and preserved lemon, but also chickpeas with harissa, za’atar and labneh. One could argue that the Bellwether is doing a lot of different things at once, but they’re doing it so bloody well!

Address: 13251 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

Opening hours: Monday-Friday 5-10PM, Saturday-Sunday 10:30AM-2:30PM and 5-10PM

Menu: thebellwetherla.com

Reservations: (818) 285-8184 or OpenTable

Style: Californian

Price: Small plates $9-16, Entrees $13-26

Neighborhood: Studio City

Best for: Dinner, Happy Hour