Summer is Served | Labor Day, The Chef Way



He cooks, she bakes, and together, they run a farm-to-table restaurant with no set menu, no waitstaff and a kitchen that, instead, cooks what its diners are in the mood to eat (given their requests are in-season of course)— yes, husband-and-wife Phillip Frankland and Margarita Lee are living the dream, and the best part? They dreamt it before anyone else did. Wanting to take the principles of izakaya dining (ie custom meals based on personal preferences) and apply them to seasonal, American fare, the couple opened Scratch Bar & Kitchen, a space where diners engage in a direct dialogue with the kitchen which, in turn, shapes their coursed meals (meals range from 6 to 25 courses, $45 to $125). The emphasis is on locally-sourced meat and fish accompanied by seasonal produce, each plate’s ingredients made completely from “scratch” (hence the restaurant’s moniker) meaning everything from the bread (freshly-baked) and olive oil (hand-pressed) to the charcuterie (house-cured) and cheese (house-aged) are made on its premises. Just launched, its $45 “Meatless Mondays” menu recently featured pickled strawberries with rutabaga and cherries, roasted rainbow cauliflower, charred carrots with cabbage and pistachio and a coconut pudding. Of course, Chef Phillip’s cooking hasn’t gone unnoticed: in just three years, he’s won “Best Young Chef in America” by San Pellegrino and Zagat’s “30 under 30,” plus retains the record on The Food Network for most consecutive wins. It’s also attracted quite the all-star team: at Scratch, Lee’s Chef de Cuisine is NYC-transplant Jonathan Portela, formerly of Eleven Madison Park and Junoon (both Michelin-starred restaurants). Currently, the Lees are readying their newest venture alongside Venice’s ex-Tasting Kitchen chef Luke Reyes: opening in mid-October, Woodley Proper will be a casual cocktail bar with modern American fare and it’s just next door to Scratch. We can hardly wait, but until then, we convinced the Lees to share a few kitchen secrets that’ll elevate your Labor Day tables from zero to hero. See below for their kick-ass recipes.


Whole Roasted Branzino Stuffed with Mediterranean Ratatouille
Serves 2-4
*2 Branzino, scaled, gutted and cleaned
*2 Yellow onion
*2 Japanese eggplant
*2 Fennel bulbs
*16 Green olives
*Cherry tomatoes, handful
*1/3 c White wine
*1/3 c Olive oil
*1 Lemon
*Smoked Paprika, to taste
*Cumin, to taste
*Black pepper, to taste
*Sea salt, to taste
*Cayenne, to taste

1. Warm a sauté pan with olive oil or butter. 2. Grab onion, Japanese eggplant, fennel, olives and cherry tomatoes and dice. 3. Sauté all vegetables together and season with salt, black pepper, smoked paprika and cumin. 4. De-glaze with white wine and chill your ratatouille. 5. Once your vegetables are chilled, divide in half and fill the belly cavity of both fish until overflowing. 6. With butcher’s twine, tie small knotted ties across the body of the fish to hold in the vegetables. 7. Rub the whole fish aggressively with olive oil and season with sea salt, cayenne. 8. Place on hot grill and roast roughly 5 minutes on each side, until skin is crispy and dark and the meat by the spine feels soft. 9. Cut off twine, squeeze lemon over flesh and serve.

Grilled Maitake Mushrooms
*Serves 2-4
*1 carton Maitake mushrooms
*Olive oil
*Sea salt, to taste
*Cayenne, to taste
*Shawarma spices, to taste
*1 Lemon, for garnish

1. Slice Maitake mushrooms in half vertically. 2. Rub aggressively with olive oil and season with sea salt, cayenne and shawarma spices. 3. Place cut side of mushrooms down on the grill and let rest until good crispy marks are visible. 4. Flip mushrooms and move to “warm” side of the grill and cover with a mixing bowl to “bake” for about 5 minutes. 5. When mushrooms are soft and juicy to the touch (like a steak), remove from the grill and slice into 4-5 pieces each. 6. Season with fresh lemon and sea salt and serve.


Strawberry Cobbler
This recipe is designed for a 2-qt baking dish
*3 c Strawberries, cut in fourths
*3 c Blueberries
*3/4 tsp Lemon zest
*3/4 tsp Orange zest
*1/2 tsp Vanilla
*3 tbs Sugar
*1/2 tsp Salt

For crumble topping:
*3 1/2 c ap flour
*3/4 lbs Butter, room temp
*1 tsp Salt
*1 c Sugar
*1/4 tsp Lemon zest
*Nutmeg, pinch
*Cinnamon, pinch
*1/4 tsp Orange zest
*1 tbs Vanilla beans

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. 2. Combine all the berries and fruit in a bowl. 3. Add orange zest, lemon zest, salt, sugar and vanilla. 4. Take a spoon and gently mix the berries until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

For topping: 1. In an electric mixer, mix butter, sugar, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon zest, orange zest and vanilla beans. 2. When the butter is creamed and is super fluffy, add flour little by little.

Put all the berries in a baking dish, sprinkle the topping over top and bake for 10 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Inside Scratch | Bar & Kitchen

Inside Scratch | Bar & Kitchen

16101 Ventura Blvd. Ste. 255, Encino; 747.264.0642. CP


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