The two-year barbrix odyssey ends tonight when former Campanile general manager Claudio Blotta and wife Adria Tennor debut their Silver Lake enoteca in a former schoolhouse. We got a sneak peak on Friday for the friends and family dinner, and based on our experience, it sure seems like barbrix will become a relaxed community gathering spot.
Silver Lake is clearly primed for wine. Silverlake Wine laid the groundwork with their highly approachable vision. Looking back, it was actually Claudio Blotta who hired Silverlake Wine co-owners George Cossette and Randy Clement at Campanile. Now they’re sharing Silver Lake, but it shouldn’t be a competitive situation. Barbrix should build on Silverlake Wine’s community-oriented approach on the other side of the neighborhood, serving as a complementary wine-focused bookend.
Claudio Blotta previously explained the name, saying, “Brix is the scale that wine makers use to measure sugar content in the grape. This helps them know when to pick depending on what style of wine they are making.” The bar part is obvious. And what a bar it is. The square bar resides just inside the entrance. You can see people through the front window from the street, which is an inviting touch.
Ana Henton of MASS Architecture & Design (Intelligentsia Venice, Silverlake Wine redesign, BREADBAR Century City, etc.) led the initial design of the space. It’s unclear how much of her vision remains, but the space was still welcoming, with chocolate-colored wood floors and furniture and an open kitchen with a cherry-red Berkel meat slicer on the counter. The walls were plain white, but Adria said they plan to hang photos of winemakers, which should work well. Nobody sat on the patio, but it would be relaxing to recline out front and grab a glass of wine.
Chef Don Dickman, previously the chef-owner of Rocca in Santa Monica, crafted a comprehensive seasonal menu designed to complement the Blottas’ “extensive, hand selected, affordable and accessible [wine] list.” Small plates range from $4-13. Overall, the portions were fairly generous, and the flavors were clean.
McGrath’s Farmers Plate ($7) combined simple roasted beets sweetened with saba, roasted carrots with mint and honey and pea tendrils with golden raisins. There were probably too many sweet notes, but this was a clear representation of the season.
Roasted Niman Ranch Pork Belly ($11) stuffed alla porchetta with garlic and rosemary and topped with salsa verde was the only dish that didn’t come together. The meat was fatty and the skin could have been crisper.
Wine was unavailable on Friday, but beginning tonight, you’ll be able to open any bottle on the list as long as you order two glasses. From that point on, that wine will appear on the bar’s blackboard, available to all diners and drinkers.