“There are two versions of Los Angeles,” says singer-songwriter Moby, “the L.A. of palm trees and the L.A. of pine trees. I find myself relating more to the L.A. of pine trees.” Add to that, “I like putting the word ‘little’ in front of things. There’s a sense of humility to it.” And that’s how Moby’s already popular new Silverlake restaurant got named.
little pine is indeed an intimate space with an L-shaped room and an almost kitschy craft boutique that wouldn’t be out of place in a piney mountain town. The décor is simple with light wood accents, including a carved deer bust. A softly lit mural of lush conifers in a snowy forest surrounds a cushioned nook that comfortably seats eight.
The ambience here is more pine forest than palm grove— all that’s missing on a chilly evening is a roaring fire—but little pine’s Mediterranean-inspired all-organic vegan fare would be welcome in either place.
We began with a bread and three-spread board (Moby says he’s “big on bread,” and arguably purveyor Clark Street’s is the best), including my favorite, onion, plus tapenade and house-made cashew cheese with a texture and flavor similar to a cow or goat brie… but don’t count on those spreads when you go; they change regularly.
Broccoli arancini were excellent and addictive, with just the right toothy crunch enrobing a cheesy middle. And watermelon radishes, carrots and tangy mustard vinaigrette made butter lettuce salad fresh and flavorful.
Roasted tomato agnolotti—hand-rolled homemade pasta in truffled cream sauce accented by blistered tomatoes—was light and totally delicious. But my favorite dish was Brussels sprouts prepared with fennel, apple and apple cider gastrique.
Seitan Italian sausage is made in house as well, and brings such a meaty texture to the well-seasoned cassoulet that most carnivores would be hard-pressed to detect the difference.
When it comes to dessert, I’m an easy mark for citrus, and lime cheesecake with candied marcona almonds is swoon-worthy. S’mores ganache, with its creamy texture and toasted meringue topping, is sure to please chocoholics.
There’s a fabulous selection of loose teas, as well as kombucha, juices and strawberry and chocolate milks. The beer selection is limited but a number of organic wines are on offer, although surprisingly, many are imported.
Sunlight pours in through a row of windows along the long wall of the L in daytime, and there’s a sweet little patio out back.
Diners will appreciate the reasonable prices, especially when they learn that 100 percent of little pine’s proceeds will be donated to animal welfare organizations. The restaurant is a labor of love.
Asked if he sees little pine as more of an every day or weekly dining spot for locals, Moby suggested daily for daytime, weekly for dinner. But I can tell you this: if it were in my neighborhood, I’d happily eat little pine’s Brussels sprouts and arancini every day of the week.
Weekend brunch, lunch & dinner daily, 2870 Rowena Ave., L.A. 90039, 323.741.8148
This article is a part of the Relationships 2016 issue of Whole Life Times.