Thursday, April 20, 2006

A little slice of Tart

salmon with artichoke pancetta hash on vintage china

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)


Pear tree cottage! said...

My gosh it all sound great from here in Australia! hubby and I are seafood lovers and your little crisp fish with the shiny eyes we call white bait down here & may I say is done wonderfully in our favourite Italian restaurant in Lygon street Melbourne. The restaurant Tart sounds mouth watering! Hello by the way!

Anonymous said...

I ate at TART about three weeks ago for breakfast. I went with my best friend and we were both exceedingly disappointed and pretty much grossed out. Her french toast was RAW, dripping with egg. sick. we both received chicken sausage that was so wrinkled and dry it was probably sitting around for hours. I ordered an omlette and asked them to add tomato. The tomato came on the SIDE OF THE PLATE. my hash browns were hard and dry, again i'm sure sat around. and the worst part of all...i was CRAVING a nice soft biscuit, but instead was given two hockey puck hard biscuits that i couldnt eat. We both maybe ate two beits of food and asked for our check. the waitress didnt offer to pay for our food, or even ask what was wrong. it was the worst experience i've ever had eating out.

Anonymous said...

I made the horrible mistake of choosing this restaurant for a business dinner. The portions were so small I was beginning to wonder if my reaction was being filmed for a hidden camera television show. Not only were the portions microscopic, they didn't merit the extraordinarily huge cost. Sure the restaurant is "cute", the service reasonable, but that in no way makes up for the horrendous taste, atom-sized portions and their astronomical prices. Do yourself a favor and avoid this place at all costs (pun intended).

Anonymous said...

I had a totally different experience the the above. I loved the TART, it has a wonderful ambience, and the staff are great. Try the BBQ chips and garlic dipping sauce, they are the bomb!

Anonymous said...

This restaurant is highly uneven. I live nearby and used to like to stop in, but not any longer. Each time I arrive there is something wrong- "We don’t have biscuits yet." "The eggs all fell out of the truck." Sometimes the food is good--at other times he seems to be scraped from pre-made packaging. And, aside from one server- a wispy, thinning-haired gentleman-- all of the waiting staff seem marginally retarded. If you ask them questions they stare back at you with slack-mouth befuddlement. I've come to call this 'actor face.'
Perhaps this is the first time the managers have ever run a restaurant, I dunno, but I would highly recommend saving your money and going to another restaurant- one that doesn’t have a huge TV right in the dining area. (!)
Tart left me bitter.