A sophisticated new restaurant and lounge called Acabar is set to open in the old Dar Maghreb space in Hollywood sometime next week.
What's really got us buzzing about the opening is chef Octavio Becerra's return to the kitchen. His now-closed Palette Food + Wine received rave reviews, including a three-star rating from the Los Angeles Times in 2008. Becerra will be cooking up a menu that explores food from destinations along the "spice trail," including Southeast Asia, India, Lebanon and Northwest Africa.
The place, at Sunset Boulevard and Stanley Avenue, is not a club but will host regular live entertainment. Acabar comes courtesy of partners Roland Emmerich and Jerry Murray, as well as the team behind the Little Door: Frederic and Nicolas Meschin and Sue Choi.
The cherry in the Manhattan is the handcrafted cocktail wizardry of Josh Goldman and Julian Cox's Soigné Group. Cox is best known for the consulting he's done at popular restaurants including Rivera, Playa, Picca, Bestia and Sotto.
Some dishes you can expect to find on the menu include skewered, charred octopus with wild broccolini and Aleppo muhammara (a red pepper and walnut dip from Aleppo, Syria); lamb merguez meatballs with pole bean hummus, cipolini, Moroccan olives and orange marmalade; Indochine duck with Chinese broccoli, roasted turnips and plum confit; and a prime 32-ounce cote de boeuf with Saigon-ginger carrots, cress salad and chili with lime.
For drinks, you'll find a list of beloved cocktails through the ages, listed chronologically, beginning with a punch dating from the early 19th century and ending with a drink from New York City's acclaimed den of mixology, Milk & Honey.
The punch is called Ti Punch and dates back to as far as 1798. It has been called the national drink of Martinique. It's made with rhum agricole (French cane-juice rum), cane syrup and lime. In addition, you'll find a Bijou (1830-85) concocted of gin, sweet vermouth, green Chartreuse and orange bitters; El Diablo (1933-90), made with blanco tequila, ginger, lime, cassis and soda water; and the Milk & Honey cocktail called Paper Plane, made with bourbon, Amaro Nonino, Aperol and lemon.
The 3,500-square-foot space seats about 230 people, and it's formerly Moroccan interior was reimagined by Keith Greco of Greco Decor. Greco retained some of the restaurant's most attractive features including its glazed Zellige tile and its intricate plaster and wood friezes.