On September 18, Fred Hakim predicted a December 1 debut for the downtown branch of BottleRock. On November 20, at a sneak preview, Hakim and brother/co-owner Isaac said it’s looking like the opening will be in January instead. General Manager George Skorka, Concept Chef Sherie Farah, BottleRock Culver City General Manager Randi Leehan and Interior Designer Ernie Roth were also on-hand to provide information. We met in the Met Lofts courtyard, where Skorka poured from three different bottles, including 2006 Malibu Rouge from Cielo Malibu Estate Vineyard. At the new BottleRock, they’ll open any bottle of wine as long as you commit to two glasses. This was a policy they implemented in Culver City when the flagship opened in September 2006.
At BottleRock, Farah – a Johnson and Wales grad – focuses on “small plates, artisanal cheese, sandwiches and salads. Food comes from a rustic, healthy approach,” but there’s still room on the menu for a “decadent truffle grilled cheese.” She says, “I really strive to work as locally as I can with local markets and purveyors.” For the event, Farah prepared vegetarian and prosciutto sandwiches and laid out charcuterie and cheese, including slices of Midnight Moon, a firm California goat cheese.
It’s important for the BottleRock concept to remain cohesive. As a result, both locations will have the same menu. That means you’ll find the same bigeye tuna sashimi with yuzu vinaigrette, bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese, almonds and rosemary, and lollipop chops with Pinot Noir cherry demi-glace and pearl onions. Fun fact: in her spare time, Farah enjoys the “aerial arts” (trapeze).
Ernie Roth of Ernie Roth Interiors presented renderings in the courtyard, and then led us on a tour of the concrete space at the development’s southeast corner. He said to expect “mossy yellow-green floors,” green lizard upholstery on the barstools and recycled aluminum furniture. The bar’s counter will be crafted from recycled broken glass, ale and wine bottles. A freeform wood ceiling will muffle the sound. There will also be monitors for sports, controlled by zone. In all the space will be 2,700 square feet, which doesn’t include the courtyard and private room that will host events.
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