Luke Bar and Restaurant

Restaurant in Los Angeles

Upscale Neighborhood Bar & Restaurant

More so than not, when we travel, it’s not the high profile glitzed out glam spots that swoon us, it’s the place your neighbor’s friend’s cousin swears by.  The local lair with the insane flatbreads and something devastatingly addictive named apple pie nachos.  It’s those places.

We find them, and they linger on our taste buds as a testament to a culinary culture that cannot be kept in a corner.  In the West Valley’s long lived La Frite space, LUKE has footed on Ventura Boulevard.  Call your neighbors friends cousin.  You just found his new favourite haunt.

Designed with a mind to warm up the neighbourhood with a local meet and eat, LUKE is a humble hang flaunting high profile provisions.  Pay particular attention to the professional apt for pairing food and beverage.  It’s not an accident.  Hiding inside is an undeniably welcoming watering hole, low key and lounge like, with all the pairing pedigree that belongs up north.

Between the Tuna Napoleon, flatbreads that could own the menu all their own, or the way the lemon and za’atar bring zing to that cauliflower, it’s easy to make a meal out of the small plates alone.  The market fare punctuates produce that would be a natural headliner, if there weren’t so many other options to choose from.  (Brussels are divine with those honeyed cranberries).  And do not veer from ordering the chicken, just because it’s chicken.  Atop that white wine mixed risotto, it is but another gleaming example that this team knows very much what they’re doing.  Same goes for that striped sea bass.

The cuisine is excellent – unfussy but finessed – yet the real standout is the ease of it all.  The cozy booths, the bring your best friend and pull up a stool at the bar, the service which is equally educated as it is entirely charming.  Seems they’ve accomplished just what they’ve intended here.  Locally sourced fare, an exceptionally educated staff on all things beverage to basil chimichurri to those button mushrooms and black truffles on that flatbread, it all unifies in one hospitable hideout poised to anchor the space that La Frite left.

With the rapid fire renaissance that has redefined the Studio City stretch, LUKE is likely to anoint the West Valley a similar uprising, if not ignite it.  The trio at the top is unstoppably savvy, with a craft curating GM who is on hand and delightful (Cameron Markham), an Assistant GM whose dining scene savoir-faire has been seen at Animal and N/naka (Elizabeth Blankstein), and partner Mark Lavalle, whose Armani bred aptitude emanates that effortless sophistication flowing throughout.  But without Chef Thomas Deville at the helm, it would just be a really impressive shell.  His dedication to detail will reward you with the memory of a meal destined to call you back for more.  Fortunately, with its bend on being a nice neighbourhood staple side-lining any accompanying pretension, you can feel free to answer.

Jolie Loeb is a Luxury Lifestyle columnist based in Los Angeles

Photographs by Jolie Loeb

Reviewer's Rating
Cuisine American
Need to book Advisable
Clientele Locals
Restaurant good for Couples, Families with children, Bar scene, Meeting up with friends
Cost per head Medium
Dress Code Casual
Dining Options Brunch, Lunch, Dinner

Additional Ambience Information

Upscale casual. Great for a notch up night out. Low lit, warm, and rustic.

Additional Price Comments

Their brunch menu is a great entry point, and really well priced. Omelettes and scrambles from $10 to $16. For dinner, easy to make a meal out of starters, market fare, and flatbreads, if you want to get out but not go full entrée.

Last updated on 19-01-2016

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