Los Angeles: smoke.oil.salt. and POCO Wine Bar


smoke.oil.salt. is a little bit of Spanish heaven hidden amongst the miles of trendy eateries and stores on Melrose Ave. You can’t see it easily, but look for the tattoo shop that runs right through the middle of smoke.oil.salt. Valet parking is available, so don’t be discouraged just because it is in a bustling part of West Hollywood.

The aesthetic is very romantic and quaint with only about 20 four-tops to keep to a locals-only atmosphere. All the tables and chairs are dark wood and red accents. A huge brick grill is at the center in the back of the restaurant with a bar for patrons to watch the head chef cook.

Service is impeccable. Everyone is knowledgable on the dishes and very nice. The managing partner Stephen Gelber himself can be seen running around addressing customers. He really cares for authenticity, the quality of product to outweigh the price, and customer loyalty. He is also the Wine Director that hand-picks all the Spanish wines.

Even though the menu changes often, there are still some favorites worth mentioning that are usually on the menu year around. Some favorites are:

  • pez de cola amarilla = citrus pimentón-cured yellowtail, lemon-soy emulsion, shaved idiazabal cheese, puff rice
  • gambas al ajillo = roasted shrimp, tomato & pimentón broth, garlic chips, scallions
  • churrasco = woodfire-grilled sirloin cap, jato and picaeta sauce
  • pulpo con tomate = red wine braised octopus, caramelized onion, gruff beans, dijon vinaigrette, sliced chorizo, tomato chutney

POCO Wine Bar

POCO means “little” in Spanish. The restaurant just started this year as a way to gain even more customer loyalty from locals. POCO Wine Bar is a quick, tapas-style version of smoke.oil.salt. The owner meant for this to be a place that is reasonably priced with he same high quality as smoke.oil.salt. That way locals don’t have to break the bank and can have a place to relax for a reasonable price.

Every week Sunday-Thursday POCO Wine Bar takes over the western half of smoke.oil.salt. starting at 5:30 p.m. until close. Both have pretty different menus, so it’s worth it to hit up both separately.

The reasonable price I mentioned really is reasonable. All of the dishes are $10 or under and every glass of wine is $7 or under. You really are getting gourmet food at a price that is affordable.

The food at POCO Wine Bar still upholds traditional Spanish cuisine but with more of a twist. Some favorites are:

  • papas bravas = crispy fried potatoes, herb aioli, brava sauce, chopped parsley, fried egg
  • beef brochetas = marinated, grilled beef skewers, red onion, chipotle aioli, scallions
  • scallop brochetas = marinated, grilled scallop skewers and red bell peppers, marcona, almond salsa
  • pan a la parilla = grilled homemade flatbread, spicy tomato sauce, house-made cheese, basil, olive oil

smoke.oil.salt. (7274 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046). (323) 930-7900

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