As I walk in this Los Angeles new Spanish restaurant and wine bar, a comforting wood smoke smell is the first thing I notice. Feels like home.
Chef Perfecto Rocher brings his Spanish talents to Melrose Avenue along with AdVantage Partners’ Adam Fleischman and Lee Weinberg, producer Stephen Gelber and hospitality veteran Jason Berkowitz (Umami Burger).
As a Spaniard, I feel entitled to endorse the authenticity of smoke.oil.salt’s food. Perfectos’s creations, as his name indicates, didn’t disappoint. The meal began with a complementary glass of Spanish sparkling rose wine, a tapa of olives, toasted almonds and manchego cheese (olives amb bitets), and a chilled almond sherry gazpacho appetizer (all blanc). A great warm up for the feast that was about to come. But s.o.s. isn't only a tapas restaurant, there are some smaller appetizers on the menu but also larger-format dishes filled with very authentic flavors.
My favorite came in on first place: the Catalan tomato toast (pa amb tomaca). As simple as it sounds it’s truly delicious. The bread is made from scratch the traditional way, and it’s wood-fired toasted and topped with tomato and olive oil. To die for. The cod croquets with citrus aioli (bunyols de bacallà) are recommended to be eaten on one bite so they melt in your mouth. A creamy, warm and savory treat. The scallops with celeriac puree (vieiras amy api) are fresh and cooked to perfection. The menu also contains lots of grilled seafood and meats, seasonal local vegetables (like the traditional calçots, roasted onions with a tomato and nuts sauce) paella, cheeses and more. And, of course, Spanish wines and cava, sherries, and wine-based cocktails. Chocolate brownie and a powerful and extremely cheesy cheese cake are two of the best desserts.
The ambiance is very warming, a bit loud (Spanish style) and offers a big window to the Melrose scene. Something tells me that this new Hollywood eatery is here to stay.