Global Fusion

A father and son team combines talents to open the globally inspired Wood & Water

Valley dining shifted into high gear with the opening of restaurants like The Bellwether, Scratch|Bar & Kitchen and SOCA, spread out along the Boulevard. The next wave seems to be centered on Sherman Oaks, with Bluebird Brasserie and Petit Trois scheduled to open early this year.

In the meantime, diners can check out the globally inspired Wood & Water, which opened in March. The eatery, the latest concept from longtime Conejo Valley restaurateur Moez Megji and son Karim features a seasonal, sustainable, international menu that is share-friendly and tilts more toward the sea.

Moez, who grew up in Kenya, has lived around the world, soaking up culinary influences along the way. The self-taught chef created restaurants like Fins Creekside in Calabasas, Zin Bistro Americana in Westlake Village and The Gallery in Westlake Village. With Wood & Water, Moez continues to make Fins fan favorites like Cajun gumbo and bouillabaisse, plus some popular dishes from The Gallery. New plates are the result of his collaboration with Karim, a chef who has been contributing to the family business since age 4, when he would fold napkins at Fins for a dime apiece.

Karim describes the concept as “New American, which kind of means we can do anything.” Father and son are Indian-American, but they deftly blend elements from many cuisines. For instance, atypical surf and turf pairs shredded duck and seared scallops with potato pancake, blueberry and Cassis reduction. For a lamb sirloin set, Moez developed the marinade, and Karim contributed chorizo and ricotta ravioli, roasted bell pepper sauce and basil.

Creativity extends to pastry chef Julie Kim’s desserts—and to cocktails. Instead of a classic cocktail, perhaps consider more unique drinks like the New Fashion, an Old Fashioned variation with bourbon, cherries marinated in brandy bourbon and cinnamon, orange bitters, and an orange wedge. Craft beer and wines lean heavily on California.

Karim describes interiors as “industrial mid-century.” A framed patio leads to a dining room with tufted, brown leather booths, stone fireplace and sloped Brazilian teak roof. Karim envisions Wood & Water as a versatile neighborhood hangout, a place where diners can feel comfortable simply grabbing a drink and burger or enjoying a five-course anniversary dinner. His father says he is confident Wood & Water will catch on, concluding, “We’re a new kid on the block, but we’re not new.”

13359 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 805-573-1111