The Experience Magazine recently stopped by the posh Brand Avenue restaurant, Bacari GDL in Glendale, California at the Americana. This is the third restaurant from celebrity Chef Lior Hillel and the Konfli Brothers. Bacardi G.D.L. creates an opportunity for wine lovers to experience small plates and chef created goodness with exclusive wines. Executive Chef Hillel knows how to create a comfortable environment where drinking, munching and chatting can take place. His first restaurant, Bacaro LA, is a super hip, extremely popular spot in downtown LA. Bacari PDR is a destination foodie spot in Playa Del Rey that’s frequented by many of the residents of the super luxury condominiums that have sprung up near the Google and YouTube offices.
Bacari G.D.L. has an inviting and luxurious space at the Americana at Brand. The Americana is a Rick Caruso property that is laid out like the Grove. It’ s a bit like traveling to another country where gorgeous fountains are at the center of town and luxurious shopping and dining are on every corner. Nestled in among fine dining hot spots, Bacari G.D.L. is the place to go for Italian and Mediterranean small plates called cicchetti. In addition to Chef Hillel’s signature cicchetti dishes, Bacari G.D.L. has pizza!
Our servers Eduardo and G were serving a packed house when we arrived. The restaurant is open with people walking by and looking in like a European cafe. Chef Hillel had time to sit and speak with us and tell us what was new. To be honest, I think Bacari PDR is one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles. The atmosphere, the food, the drinks and the staff are the best. I relish any chance to visit one of Chef Hillel’s places. Chef Hillel went over the menu and pointed out what items were new. A couple of the new cicchetti are Braised Fennel with cranberry, toasted pine nuts and goat cheese, Banana Prawns with chuma, farrow and parsley salad. Also new at Bacari G.D.L. is the pizza.
Chef Hillel explained that when they moved into the new location at the Americana, the restaurant had a wood stone pizza oven. Chef Hillel uses the oven to make hand crafted pizzas. We just had to try one! We settled on the Smoked Cremini with mushroom, besciamella, garlic and cheddar. Served on a wooden plate right from the oven, the taste and flavor is savory with subtle flavors. Chef Hillel uses flavors that aren’t too rich. He explained that his food doesn’t coat ones throat with too much fat or butter. The crust, the herbs, everything comes together in Bacari G.D.L.’s pizza. This is sure to be a top item.
The next item that is just insanely delicious is the Burrata Caprese. The Burrata features burrata di gioia, fresh basil, locally sourced tomatoes and a basil walnut pesto. The basil makes each bite of the cheese special and full of flavor. The pesto too is hand made and delicious. Chef Hillel is an expert at combining flavors that have subtle tastes. Before we could finish this small plate, the Ricotta & Beet Gnocchi arrived. Made with a cold chèvre fondue, this awesome dish has a hand made chimichurri sauce. I believe this is the best gnocchi made in Los Angeles. One should taste Chef Hillel’s gnocchi.
Although I came to Bacari G.D.L. to sample the new menu, I couldn’t help myself and ordered two dishes that many people say are the best that Bacari has to offer. Those two dishes are; Noa’s Cauliflower and the Grilled Chicken Breast. Chef Hillel told me who Noa was. Noa was Chef Hillel’s best friend when he started out in the restaurant business. Noa and Lior started as servers together and now Lior owns three restaurants. Chef Hillel says he just came up with the sauce one day. He uses the fryer and puts the cauliflower in for thirty seconds. The texture and the sauce make this a great barbecue vegetarian dish. I had heard about this dish before I tried it. Vegetarians in Los Angeles love this small plate.
The Grilled Chicken is another Bacari dish that exceeds expectations. Chef Hillel says that a customer from Orange County comes to Bacari exclusively for the Grilled Chicken. One day, they decided to take the Grilled Chicken off then menu, when the guy showed up and heard there was no chicken, he told the staff that he was leaving and wouldn’t come back until it was on the menu again. The staff decided to put the Grilled Chicken on the menu again. When they did, they called the guy and told him. He came back that same day and ordered the Grilled Chicken.
As we chatted and munched into the night, the crowd slowly filtered out and we were alone in the comfy dinning room. Bacari has upped their game with Bacari G.D.L. This place is great for large groups, couples, or people looking for a great glass of wine. We look forward to dinning here again.
757 Americana Way