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Global Flavors And Killer Cocktails Soar Under-The-Radar At This Culver City Gem

Grilled octopus at The Wallace (via Facebook)
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New brunch and lunch menus further expand the international flavors and inspired cocktails found at The Wallace, an under-the-radar gem in Culver City.

Since taking command of The Wallace barely eight months ago, Executive Chef Joel Miller has quietly sharpened his focus on bold and clever flavors that draw inspiration from around the world. From the gochujang heat of sweetbread katsu to the smoky salsa negra of grilled octopus with fried yucca, the daring, yet approachable globe-trotting menu surprises without throwing you off course. Meanwhile up at the bar, Greg Bryson upends classic cocktails with imaginative concoctions like the gin, earl grey and pistachio foam of Early Ace or the tobacco and hickory smoke infused whiskey of Cowboy Killer.

While the handoff to Miller of the less-than-two year old restaurant occurred without too much fanfare, continually full tables clattering with shared plates attest to his impact. And now with addition of a solid brunch earlier this summer and lunch service added this past week, there are even more opportunities to check out this burgeoning downtown Culver hotspot.

Flavors at The Wallace bounce from Morocco to Seoul, from Provence to the American South and many points in between, all while complimenting farm fresh produce and meats. For dinner service, guests can assemble an eclectic array of cleverly jarred appetizers, cured meats and cheeses, vegetable plates like sunchokes with lebneh and sumac, seafood like a blood orange hamachi crudo or land bound dishes like lamb porridge with harissa. Miller—who spent time at Mediterranean-inspired Cleo and more recently Scratch Bar—tells LAist that he takes inspiration from the best parts of every restaurant he's worked in:

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Nothing that I ever do is traditional because I don't have a traditional background in cooking. I'm not classically trained, I don't have a grandma that taught me her famous sauce recipes. So, it's all about what do I think will be good, what do I know and how can I repurpose it to put into something that's a little more interesting.

For the recently relaunched brunch service, Miller maintains the creative flair, while still offering hungry risers some familiar classics. Sure, you can get a solid breakfast burrito or steak and eggs, but why not awaken your palate with a spicy shakshouka, loaded chilaquiles with roasted chicken or the Southern classic of mouthwateringly rich biscuits and gravy. There's also great sweet offerings like praline french toast or a cinnamon and chocolate chip morning bun.

Similar to dinner, brunch takes a small plates approach to encourage sharing. Miller, who wasn't always a big brunch guy until he met his brunch-loving fiancée explains his excitement for the newly revamped brunch, "You get to order a bunch of different things: you get to have something that's Southern, and something that's Moroccan and something that's Mexican or something from New England, and really try a lot of stuff and have a good time." And yes, there are killer cocktails to help revive you from a weekend night out like the bourbon, passion fruit, chai-fennel syrup of Morning Sex or the campari, cava and chamomile of Teepee.

And on the new weekday lunch menu, you'll find fresh renditions of favorites like the b.l.t.a on a crunchy house dutch roll, the pork belly banh mi or fish tacos. There's also an array of market fresh salads and rotating soups, including a vegan option. You could also start with a daily cheese with preserves and house bread or a light and refreshing fritto misto with calamari and chile-vadouvan aioli.

You also don't want to miss out on the house made pastries and desserts of pastry chef Rebecca Morris who rounds out the team. In addition to creating all of the breads used in house, Morris also serves up a knockout chocolate pudding brownie bar and an eye-roll-worthy blueberry semifreddo. While Morris has received serious offers from premier kitchens around town, Miller fought hard to keep her in The Wallace family.

The Wallace is located at 3833 Main St, Culver City, (310) 202-6400. Brunch is available Saturdays and Sundays, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. and lunch is now available Mondays through Fridays, 11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.