After the Scratch Bar shake-up, we were both relieved and excited to hear that it was coming back, and in Encino of all places. Seriously sprucing up Valley life as we know it, the new Scratch Bar + Kitchen is just as creative and innovative as it's predecessor, but with a decidedly more intimate feel. Nestled into the second floor of a multi-story mall on Ventura and Woodley, the new location doesn't even have a sign outside (how Trois Mec of them). It's a cozy space filled with a large bar looking over an open kitchen and a few high wood tables and bar stools.
The menu is a bit different from that of its predecessor-- though it features similar prix fixe vs. a la carte concepts, the dishes seem to be vast and updated. Everyone at our table ordered the $80 prix fixe, which was the middle option and comes with about 8-12 dishes. Though they asked for all of our different food allergies/restrictions, everything they brought out was family style, and there were a few dishes that didn't meet all the restrictions.
One of the greatest parts of the new Scratch Bar is the intimacy with the staff. Owner and Chef Philip Frankland Lee roams around, introducing himself to the guests and often serving the tables. He helps explain the menu and makes everyone feel at home. He also performed a bit of dinner theater when he broke down this beautiful salmon, at which time all of the patrons gathered around to snap some quick photos.
The food was just as great as we were expecting, with the cuisine mirroring the creativity and delicacy of its predecessor, with a few updated twists. The meal ranged from small little treats--oysters with squid roe and garlic-- to more hearty and classic offerings-- like a steak and potatoes dish. There's definitely something for everyone, and we would suggest that those who are a bit less adventurous opt for a more a la carte approach. However, those who are up for anything should definitely do one of the prix fixe choices and let Chef Philip craft the perfect meal for you, omakase style.
Overall, we're really excited about the new Scratch Bar, and even think that it has the potential to *gasp* attract Westsiders to the Valley for a unique and creative meal.