By Laura Medina
Ever wondered what happened to Dakota Weiss, former contestant of Bravo's "Top Chef" Season 9?
Once the W Hotel Westwood flipped over her for a STK (Chef Robert is a nice guy) revamp, she landed on the Sunset Strip, 8800 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069.
For "WeHo" people, you ever wondered what the former magazine shack at Book Soup has turned into? They turned that alley way then added a patio in front of the IAC Building in Estrella, Chef Dakota's new restaurant.
She's aware of where she landed on, paying homage to the Sunset Strip's rock and roll history and legacy, naming cocktails after rock legends, such as:
Sex, Drugs, and Rock N’ Roll – inspired by Ian Dury and a spin on the classic “Penicillin,” featuring Reposado Tequila, Mezcal, Lime, Ginger Syrup, Rosemary Honey, Nutmeg
Gobsmacked - A tribute to the brief fling between Joni Mitchell and David Crosby, who after hearing one Joni Mitchell song was quoted as being “gobsmacked.” The rest, is history. It must have felt a little bit like Cachaca, Jalapeno, Sage, Pineapple Syrup, Lime Juice, and Green Chartreuse, hitting you in the face.
Florence-Nightingale - It’s rumored Mitchell wooed Graham Nash when he came down sick and she nursed him back to health with a healthy dose of Florence Nightingale and some punch drunk love. Estrella’s concoction of Spiced Rum, Butter Syrup, Lime, and Nutmeg is designed to warm you right up, amour.
Dream On - Some of rock n’ roll’s greatest hits got a little boost from booze and a good buzz. Estrella takes guests on a trip up in the clouds with a potion of Vodka, Grape Juice, Ginger Syrup, Lime Juice, Meringue Cloud, and Activated Charcoal. You’ll surely mimic a legend’s greatest ballad.
If you miss Chef Dakota's whimsical take on food, don't worry. You can follow her to Estrella.
Instead of the usual bread basket, they serve you real snack food, really delicious snack food to whet your appetite, a sweet and spicy jar of popcorn.
One of her stand-out innovative spin on classic fare is the Honey Fried Chicken with a side of Corn Bread.
Funny, how down-home comfort (mostly Deep South) food is considered All-American Haute Cuisine but they do respect here in LA.
For those who like their bird sweet and crunchy (this is why chicken & waffle is the popular guilty pleasure), Estrella's Honey Fried Chicken can give Honey Kettle a run for their money.
Estrella's Honey Fried Chicken is more of a glaze, a tempura-encrusted chicken coated in a lollipop case. There are two types of crunchiness going on, trapping in the juiciness of the meat, which is so important since chicken meat is notorious for drying out while being cooked.
For that homey-yet-gourmand taste, Estrella's signature flavor is honey-truffle, the sweetness mellowed by the earthiness of the truffle mushroom, such as Truffle Honey Grilled Cheese.
For now, until January, Estrella is only doing take-out for the business/work lunch. They wouldn't be doing a proper sit-down lunch until the new year.
Here's the menu:
§ Hamachi Crudo, Confit Squash, Citrus, Chile de Arbol, Truffled Pumpkin Seeds
§ Sous Vide Hanger Steak, Orange-Habanero Chimichurri, Arugula, Radish
§ Roasted Bone Marrow, Confit Quail, Kabocha Squash Spatzel and Red Wine-Truffle Jus
§ Honey Fried Chicken, Corn Bread
§ Duck Liver Butter, Huckleberry-Tomato Jam
§ Orange Ricotta Pancakes, Almonds and Toasted Coconut
§ Chai Spiced French Toast, Whipped Mascarpone and Chia Seed
§ Eggs any style with choice of breakfast meat - Porchetta, Turkey Sage Sausage, or Thick Cut Bacon - and breakfast potatoes
§ Scrambled Egg White Wrap, with Spinach, Quinoa, Salsa Verde
§ In-House Bakery Pastries made fresh daily, served with house made marmalade and sweet jams (including Ginger Molasses Bran Muffin, Figgy Pudding Scone, and Potato and Blue Cheese Quiche, among others)
§ House Made Yogurt, Rose-Strawberry Jam and Pistachio Ginger Granola
Lunch (Only Grab-n-Go to start, with full service scheduled to begin in January)
§ Asparagus and Crab Cheesecake, Almond Crust, Lemon Arugula Salad
§ Truffle Honey Grilled Cheese
§ House Cured Pastrami Salmon Bagel Sandwich, Watercress Butter, Pickled Cabbage
§ Angus Burger, Smoked Tomato, Pickled Red Onion, Sharp Cheddar, Sunny up Egg on a Toasted Brioche Bun
§ Little Gems, Radish, Tarragon, Citrus and White Truffle-Mustard Vinaigrette
§ “The Rolling Stone” – Bacon-wrapped Avocado stuffed with a poached egg and served with heirloom tomatoes
§ Ham and Cheddar Biscuits, Red Eye Gravy, Crispy Mushrooms
§ Cornmeal Griddle Cakes, Cinnamon Pecan Praline, Tarragon and Smoked Salt
§ Grilled Porchetta
§ Pretzel Candied Spiced Bacon
Helmed by mixologist Gia St. George, the bar program at Estrella will feature Fresh house-made juices and small-batch spirits to match the concept’s hippie inspirations. Drink names and ingredients are inspired by the ethos of well-known classic rock songs. St. George and Weiss have collaborated to develop cuisine-complementing drinks embodying tastes and values similar to those of the locally minded kitchen. Cocktail examples include ($14 each):