AOC, the stylish Mid-City small-plates restaurant with the killer wine list, moved a short drive west down Third Street in February to the one-time address of storied New Line-era industry hangout Orso. Opened by Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne in 2002, it served as the wellspring for the city’s subsequent tapas trend.
Their new space (8700 W. Third St.), opposite Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, recently had languished as Il Covo. Many blamed its owner, New York-based hospitality great Sean MacPherson (The Waverly Inn), for engendering bad juju from the start by chopping down the predecessor’s beloved pair of towering patio ficus trees. Goin and Styne’s first order of business was to plant 11-foot-tall bay laurels.
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Notes Gersh agent Steve Gersh: “The patio is awesome. They went back to what it was with Orso.”
To further take advantage of the revivified al fresco experience, AOC recently has begun offering lunch for the first time. There are familiar ideas from the dinner menu (that beloved focaccia finds new utility as a sandwich bread for pulled pork cheeks with sweet potatoes and coleslaw, or brussels sprouts, burrata and kale). The theme is convenience. “We wanted it to be user-friendly,” says Styne. Signature midday dishes include a grilled spiced tuna with lemongrass sambal and raw bok choy and an Indian chopped chicken salad with curried cauliflower, yogurt dressing, yellow lentils and golden raisins.