Review: Good Measure

Lamb Belly wrapped in lamb belly sausage with creamy polenta at Good Measure. Photo: Dave DeMartinis.

You know Atwater has arrived when the first wave of trendy restaurants is already turning over into a whole new crop of dining. In the past few months, longtime neighborhood favorite Canelé became Journeyman, while the much more short-lived Ozu East became Good Measure a few months ago.

The wine bar-restaurant is the brainchild of Matthew Kaner, who helped make Bar Covell an essential part of Los Feliz after he started out at Silver Lake Wine. It’s Kaner’s first solo effort, with more space and a larger menu to satisfy the wine-thirsty throngs.

Ozu’s previously minimalist design has been glammed up with a whimsical Italianate mural along one wall, brown leather banquettes and a long wall of wine storage. Two separate bars allow plenty of room for singles or casual bites, one overlooking the kitchen and one looking out at the private dining area that can be reserved for parties. Green curtains keep the interior pleasantly dim, while a small sidewalk patio allows for sips at sundown.

Chef Mike Garber is an alumnus of Ammo, and the menu is full of casual bites that pair well with wine as well as entrees like a dry-aged rib-eye ($38), scallops with coconut cream ($29), and lamb belly with polenta ($28).

We started with a glass of AM/FM pinot noir from the Santa Maria Valley, perfect for sharing a charcuterie plate with salami and prosciutto. The generous bread serving was a plus, though there’s no choice of different meats and cheeses or explanation of where they’re sourced from.

A lush salad of peaches, speck and burrata played nicely with red wine, while the flavors of sea bass with rhubarb compote and crispy rosti potatoes on the side were slightly muddled.

Desserts might include a rich chocolate pot de creme with salted caramel—just the thing for that after dinner port or madeira—or a fruit crostata or buttermilk crepe.

Kaner has a talent for picking lesser-known wines from all over the world, with selections as close as The Ojai Vineyard and as far flung as a syrah from Morocco, a white Rkatsiteli from the republic of Georgia and a “young red” from Lebanon. Glasses range from $10-$16, while bottles are in the $36-$56 range. Six beers on tap include SoCal favorites like Port Brewing, Smog City and Brouwerij West.

At weekend brunch, try polenta with braised greens and a poached egg with a mimosa, or a fried chicken sandwich with Bend, Oregon’s refreshing 10 Barrel Cucumber Sour beer.

Take the opportunity to learn about the wines by telling the server what you enjoy, then start with some cheeses, oysters, pork rillette spread, and move on to mussels or a burger for a low-key evening. Happily, the music is kept low enough to actually converse.

In a neighborhood that’s growing fast, Good Measure seems like just the right addition for a relaxed place to catch up with friends.

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