Reborn Spanish Restaurant Bar Moruno reopens at sunset in Silver Lake
If there is soon a slight rolling, slicing and crinkling sound coming from the Sunset stretch of Silver Lake, don’t worry: it’s just piles of canned fish all open simultaneously in the new Spanish restaurant and bar Moruno, which debuts this weekend. The Metallic Symphony is cause for celebration, as it signifies that one of Los Angeles’ most beloved restaurants is back after a five-year slumber. This is the new Bar Moruno, all class meats, color and cooked over a wood fire. It’s a summer abroad on the Iberian Peninsula, just steps from the Sunset sidewalk.
To call Spanish cuisine and fine vermouths a passion project of owners David Rosoff and Chris Feldmeier would be doing the two longtime friends and collaborators a disservice. This new Moruno feels like an imperative first merged during their time at LA’s vaunted Campanile and later at Osteria Mozza. Together they plotted and planned the kind of everyday Spanish restaurant they dreamed of having in their own backyard, while simultaneously cementing their solo LA legacy – Feldmeier as a fire manifesto, Rosoff as as a smiling and thoughtful scientist. For years, the pair have remained close, pushing through the too-quick closure of their first Moruno iteration to finally land in Silver Lake, in this moment of energetic 2022 restaurant reopening.
Bar Moruno, again, is there.
As with the old Kettle Black who previously inhabited this large tiled space, all eyes at dinner time will be focused on the wood-fired oven in the back right corner. There, Feldmeier and his team, including sous chefs Leigha Olson and Kelly Bangco, plan to bring heat and smoke to roasted savory spring mussels with butter beans and cantimpalo with chorizo, or chicken. crispy wild mushrooms with a fried egg and lots of garlic. Moruno’s popular butternut squash, crispy on the skin and soft on the inside with a mix of cashews, sesame seeds and sumac, is back. And it comes with rich, meaty dishes and simple Spanish tortillas finished among the embers.
The best seats to catch the sizzle and sound of wood are right by the cement bar that overlooks the small scullery. For everyone else, there’s the long, colorful dining room designed by Studio UNLTD, draped in deep greens and pale yellows. Banquettes run the full length of the eastern edge of the room, gleaming beneath vintage artwork and design, plus a few funky mirrors that give the room more depth. Two trays hug the low wall that separates the dining room from the soaring bar, where emerald velvet stools soften all the dark wood and shiny brass. For preserves and sherry – and lots of chatter – it’s best to sit at the bar, with Dave Kupchinsky (Eveleigh, Petit Ermitage) whipping up martinis, gin and tonics and old-fashioned Iberian ham-washed bourbon. .
General manager Jenny Jordan and Rosoff himself work in the room, who will spend time pouring splashes of Vermina (a vermouth he made alongside Central Coast winemaker Steve Clifton) and highlighting the final whites crispy Europeans or the deeper reds to pair with Feldmeier food. Upstairs is the private dining table for wine dinners and special occasions, but the action for Rosoff and Feldmeier and the team is really at ground level, touching tables and talking trade. It was an elegant vision of spinning plates and happy laughter that led the two from Mozza to the Mediterranean, to this Spanish restaurant on this corner of Sunset Boulevard in this city.
Their dream, in this sense, is the city’s dream: to have the chance to be passionate about their personal activities. Loving what you do and having others love you for it. They can serve great food in a city that knows how to eat and follow that passion to the finish line and, now, beyond. LA is filled with people like Rosoff and Feldmeier who care deeply about food and service. Los Angeles, in turn, is ready.
The new Bar Moruno opens today, Wednesday, March 23, at 3705 Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, with service from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday, and extended until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday evening (closed Monday).