Tart is the new restaurant at the Farmer's Daughter hotel, which is naturally across the street from Farmer's Market on Fairfax. For decades, contestants from "The Price is Right" at CBS across the street have made it their home base, and the lobby still features a Polaroid gallery of the happy winners. But that's about all that remains from its past as a nondescript motel and former home of the Olive, Eurotrash restaurant of the early '90s or thereabouts. The hotel and restaurant have been completely redone in tongue and chic barnyard camp, complete with rusty farm implements and a gingham moderne motif.
I was invited to try the restaurant for lunch -- it's only been open for two weeks, and next week it will open for dinner as well. Wine reps packed the dining room touting their product to the chef, who plans to seek out rare pinots and other hard to find bottles. Inside, the restaurant combines rough barn walls with vintage green-banded china stocked in an antique cabinet. A large patio off the pool is sure to be hopping in the evenings. The chefs are of Portuguese and Caribbean descent and the menu reflects touches of these regions as well as ingredients of the moment like smoked black tea gelle, chorizo oil and Guiness stout emulsion. Among the lunch dishes we tried were crab cakes with a good solid crab flavor and not too much filler, a super-rich lobster risotto and grilled salmon with artichoke pancetta hash and a saffron sauce. Tart is a great addition for workers at places like the Writer's Guild and CBS who have worn out the choices at Farmer's Market and the Grove. And when it's open for dinner, check out the evolving wine list and imaginative dishes like scallop carpaccio with yuzu cream and ahi tuna with coconut purple rice.
Tart, 115 S. Fairfax, (800) 334-1658
(Open for breakfast, lunch, and very soon dinner)