Last Sunday, I took a friend visiting from LA to dinner at Bolsa. It was nice to see that the eight-year-old restaurant has aged gracefully. The kitchen has been through a lot of turnover, but ever since Matt Balke took over in December 2015, the food is consistently excellent.
My friend, a self-confessed “LA wine snob,” put our waiter to work. He was unsure of the answers to her questions, but before I could say “Pinot,” general manager Landon Lee swooped in for the save. He brought samples of three different wines before my snobby-in-a-good-way pal agreed to a bottle of Porter and Plot Grenache Noir, a sassy fruit-forward red that paired well with all of our food choices, from (‘natch) Pasa Robles, California.
The smoked trout rillettes was a marvelous starter, but the winner for the evening was a sorta simple vegetable casserole. Served in a cast iron skillet on a butcher block, it was a steaming dish of squash, zucchini, eggplant, roasted mushrooms, onions, peppers layered with dollops of mozzarella, pecorino all wrapped with leaves of arugula and broccoli rabe. I would recommend this dish to carnivores and vegetarians and I’m sure Balke would work with vegans as well. The whole staff is eager to please and friendly.