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Dining Out:

Magic in Montrose at Ocean View

September 13, 2008|By Joanna Linkchorst

Now this is what I’m talking about! This is what Montrose has wanted all along. And it isn’t down the Verdugo corridor or on restaurant row in the shopping park. It’s a block up the hill, away from the hustle and bustle, on the corner of Ocean View and Florencita.

The new Ocean View Bistro took over the spot where Ocean View Bar and Grill resided for many years, and created a haven — a relaxing spot of peaceful elegance and amazing food.

The place is bright inside and features a high ceiling lined with white crown molding. Cool-colored walls boast French Impressionistic paintings by a contemporary artist. You can buy one if you want, but they look so nice where they are! The dining area has a floating wall separating the deep green booths from the beautiful semicircular bar, and in the back is a room for extra diners or a special event.

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They have created a small garden patio for alfresco dining. The wall of the building is covered in creeping fig, and the low railings surrounding the tables boast overflowing flower boxes. If the Sunday Brunch menu calls for a Fresh Herb Frittata, they just walk out and trim the herbs right there.

And one of the neatest things about this place is it’s owned by members of a Montrose dynasty, the family that owns and runs Anderson’s Pet Shop. Everyone was smart enough to bring back son/brother Craig Russell, a New York Culinary Institute-educated chef who trained in Tuscana in Northern Italy as well as Brennan’s in New Orleans and was executive chef at Boa in West Hollywood. West Hollywood’s loss. No kidding.

The small lunch menu includes salads, sandwiches and square pizza, as well as a daily special, like the tuna melt ($9), the one offered on the day I was there. How do you make a roadhouse diner dish like a tuna melt fit in at a contemporary bistro like this? By using the best stuff. The bread is from Montrose’s own Berolina Bakery. The tuna was tender, not fishy-tasting, and the cheddar had a good bite, not too strong, but complemented the meat for a great, flavorful sandwich.

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