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Citizen Brings Modern American Seafood And Craft Cocktails To Beverly Hills

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Citizen opens tonight in Beverly Hills, replacing Spaghettini and the Dave Koz Lounge with a fresh new American restaurant and cocktail bar. Chef Scott Howard grew up on a farm in North Carolina, and you can hear the twang of his accent when he presents his dishes, and you'll notice the Southern influences in his cooking. He previously opened the well-regarded Scott Howard restaurant in San Francisco and Brick & Bottle in Marin County after leaving North Carolina. Citizen is the chef's first venture in Southern California, where he and his family moved in 2015.

The menu contains lots of seafood, vegetable plates, and plenty of shareable items, too. This might not sound like the item one would get at an upscale restaurant in Beverly Hills, but damn, trust us and get the buttermilk biscuits. They're so flaky and come with a chipotle maple syrup that just works. You can also choose among peel & eat shrimp, flatbreads and a number raw items such as oysters, hamachi, sea urchin, scallops or lamb tartare. For dinner, some of the more unique items include the Devil's Gulch quail, served with flavorful farro, walnuts and pomegranate seeds, or the Spanish octopus with tamarind BBQ, charred scallions and corn salad. You also can't go wrong with a good steak, which you'll find here in the Aspen Ridge Skirt Steak, served with veggies, miso and fried shallots. They've got a burger if you're feeling casual, as well as halibut fish tacos. They weren't as spicy as we'd prefer, but the fish is flaky and not too heavy, like some fried fish can be.

For desserts, we'd suggest the brioche donuts, served warm with lemon custard and blackberry jam. The donuts themselves are soft on the inside and not too sweet, and the fruit sauces pair well together. Behind the bar, Soigné Group's Josh Goldman has created a number of craft cocktails that play on old-school recipes. There's the JFK's Daiquiri, made with Denizen 3yr rum, lemon, lime and citrus-spiked petit cane syrup. It is appropriately sweet, light and slightly tart. Our favorite was the Western Sour, which uses bourbon, lime, grapefruit, petit cane syrup, and grapefruit bitters, but gets perhaps its most interesting taste via the addition falernum, the key ingredient in a good tropical cocktail. They also do a Grasshopper, which is not a cocktail you find on a bar menu that often these days.

Guests may choose to sit at the bar, where plants and macrame create a pleasant separation from the greater dining area, or on the patio where you can people watch on Canon Drive and stay warm by the fire pit. The space was designed by Spacecraft Design Group, who also designed Wellsbourne and Mohawk Bend, and is colorful and inviting, with a swirling brick relief wall and orange, navy and olive cushions to rest against. Citizen opens for dinner tonight, with lunch service to begin on Monday, August 22.

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Citizen is located at 184 N. Canon Dr. in Beverly Hills, 310-402-5885