DEMITASSE ROASTERY & KITCHEN
NOT YOUR TYPICAL COFFEE SHOP
Personally, I’m not a big coffee fan so the idea of another coffee shop opening up in town never sends me over the moon, but the new Demitasse Roastery & Kitchen blew me away with its flagship café component in Hollywood.
Caffeine addicts are very familiar with Demitasse, a popular and chic coffee chain with locations in Little Tokyo, Santa Monica and Miracle Mile, but now you can get tasty cocktails and outstanding fare at the Cahuenga Boulevard café.
The new Demitasse still boasts house-roasted small batches of ethically-sourced coffee beans like the other coffee shops, but also offers an extensive menu of globally-inspired dishes, natural wines, local beers and signature Demitasse Shims. But it’s the “extensive menu” that really wowed me.
“This is something we have wanted to dip our toes into for quite some time,” says owner Bobby Roshan. “We love this neighborhood and are excited to be in the heart of Hollywood.”
While coffee may not be my thing, good cuisine is and Executive Chef Jeff Lustre has won me over.
“What I love about Chef Jeff is that he is always thinking,” says owner Roshan. “It is going to be hard to keep up with him.”
Roshan and Lustre first teamed up in 2014 with a series of Demitassegastronomic pop-ups, showcasing an array of elegant and refined dishes. But now, Chef Jeff, whose career began under former White House Executive Chef and James Beard AwardWinner Frank Ruta at Palena restaurant in Washington D.C., has really found his groove and is creating some fine dishes, and not just for a coffee shop or café but for any restaurant in town.
Chef’s Filipino influences are never too far off, which helps create some very unique and extremely tasty dining options. And I’m not just talking about dinner here as Chef is offering delicious dishes all day long. The menu will always be in flux, changing with the season but also with Chef’s whim so what I had during my recent visit may not be available when you go, but the style and flare and craftsmanship that Chef Jeff utilizes will still ring true, meaning you’ll be in for a first rate meal.
During a recent visit for breakfast, we were blown away by the Tocino, a dish that is brined for 72 hours. And honestly, it is probably the best piece of bacon I’ve ever had. I’ve been craving it ever since I first had it. Consider this is a must-have item. Go get some now!
Likewise, the Española—Spanish omelette with potatoes, chorizo, pickled red peppers and tangy sauce—is so good, as is the popular Egg Sandwich featuring a fried duck egg and grilled toast, and the divine Sweet Potato Pancakes with whipped yogurt, dates and maple syrup sauce. You can’t go wrong with breakfast or brunch here.
During our dinner visit, we started with Crudo of Hamachi with Ogonori seaweed, Inamona (roasted kukui nutmeats and sea salt used in classic Hawaiian cooking), and crispy bite-sized Japanese crackers of Bubu Arare and avocado. Chef’s style for handling small items so delicately and with such refinement really came through.
For me, Chef hit a grand slam with his Grilled Octopus, which isn’t always a menu item. I was impressed with the size of the octopus alone and thought it tasted fantastic all by itself, just the way it was prepared. Served with Papas bravas, Romensco purée and salsa pimento made for a beautiful presentation and taste but at its simplest this is an incredible dish. If you see this on the menu and enjoy octopus, get it. The same can be said for the Creekstone Farms Beef Cheeks with mung beans, Beluga lentils and persimmon mushrooms if they’re available.
A favorite dish of Chef’s is his Purple Yam Gnocchi served with Mais fonduta, cauliflower and balsamico. Here Chef’s Filipino roots shine, if you happen to be familiar with purple yam, otherwise it’s just a daring and delicious dish.
Asked to describe his style, Chef Jeff becomes a bit lost for words.
“I really can’t describe it. It’s basically what I learned the last six years. You can see the French and Italian and Spanish technique in every dish, but what I’m trying to do with it is incorporate my travels to China and the Philippines without making it some kind of fusion. Fusion is a dumb description; fusion confusion I call it. And I don’t want to use the word ‘global’ because I feel that’s not really the case. These are just the ingredients we have and I’m just trying to make good food.”
And good food, no, great food, is coming out of Chef’s kitchen. While he admits he wants to see more game on future menus, including lamb, goat, and rabbit, for now there is enough to make this a new favorite place of any foodie.
Before, Demitasse was best known for its famous Lavender Liquid Hot Chocolatewith torched jumbo marshmallow, and while I do think it’s one of the best beverages in town, not to mention desserts (technically it’s not a “dessert” but I dare you to find a better dessert in town), but now there are so many reasons to visit. Like the Tocino! It’s so exciting to watch a new chef on the rise and we’re seeing something very special happening at Demitasse Roastery & Kitchen, including special menu dinners the first weekend of every month. The sky really is the limit.
Demitasse Roastery & Kitchen is open daily for breakfast from 7am to 10:30am; lunch from 11:30am to 2:30pm; and dinner from 5:30pm to 10pm. Call 323-498-5155.
Story by Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy of: Demitasse Roastery & Kitchen