New Fall Menu at Tipple & Brine

Chef Marc Johnson introduces seasonal dishes that are not too light or too heavy for autumn.

In Southern California it’s sometimes hard to tell what season we’re in exactly. Marc Johnson, Tipple & Brine’s executive chef since replacing Mark Williams in March, admits that summer got away from him this year as he was planning his first new menu for the critically acclaimed Sherman Oaks restaurant. (The Sauce also takes note of a happy distraction for the chef this summer: In late June, Marc wed Ann-Marie Verdi, beverage director at Studio City’s new The Bellwether).

Instead of that summer menu, Chef Marc is altering plans to create dishes that fit right in for autumn. “My philosophy is: Just go with what’s in season,” he tells The Sauce. “I’m probably going to tweak a few things here and there.”

To Marc, summer means stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, plums) and plentiful fresh corn. For fall, he’s tapping into apples and squash. But nothing too heavy. “When I think of fall, I don’t want to think of winter,” he observes. “Winter is braised dishes, stick-to-your-ribs type of fare. I want to lead into that slowly. I just added a lamb belly—it’s braised but still pretty light, served with Israeli couscous. It’s still hearty, but you’re not leaving feeling like you ate so much you are bogged down.”

Chef Marc has worked at a variety of restaurants in the LA area and most recently served as executive chef at Hollywood’s Wood & Vine. He hails the Valley as a “dining capital” and says that the Tipple & Brine crowd wants the same experience as the restaurant crowd over the hill: good food, nice atmosphere and new dishes to try.

But not to worry—Tipple & Brine will maintain its signature emphasis on seafood, including lots and lots of oysters ($1 apiece all evening on Oyster Monday and $1 everyday during the 5-7 p.m. social hour, a term which seems to have replaced "happy hour" at many Valley establishments).

One exception to the idea that the Valley wants sophistication may have more to do with tradition than geography. “Tipple & Brine has a sports bar next door, Downtown Johnny’s, where I did more of a gastropub menu,” Marc says. “People didn't want that—they just wanted chicken wings and bar food. That shocked me.”

14633 Ventura Blvd., 818-528-2550

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