With the California economy opening up under new, less restrictive pandemic rules, Hotel Cerro’s restaurant, Brasserie SLO, is expanding its hours. Brasserie SLO will now be serving lunch five days a week, brunch on the weekends and dinner Wednesday through Sunday.
Creating a new menu for Brasserie SLO will be the acclaimed Chef Vartan Abgaryan, the restaurant’s guest chef for the summer months.
Educated at Le Cordon Bleu, Abgaryan graduated in 2004 and went on to cook at the famed New York restaurant Lutece for nearly two years. In 2006 he moved back to the west coast to be closer to his family where he worked at Red Pearl Kitchen followed by three years as Executive Chef at A Restaurant in Newport Beach. Heading inland, he accepted the position of Executive Chef at Public Kitchen & Bar at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. During his tenure, Public Kitchen & Bar was named a “Restaurant To Watch” by Esquire magazine’s food writer and critic, John Mariani.
In 2012, Abgaryan joined Silver Lake’s popular Cliff’s Edge as Executive Chef, taking the eight-year-old neighborhood restaurant to new heights. At Cliff’s Edge, Chef Abgaryan became known for his highly seasonal approach to ingredients and his stunning presentation of dishes – Eater Los Angeles’ Matthew Kang commented that his were “among the most beautiful plating in the city.” In 2014, Cliff’s Edge was awarded three stars by LA Weekly’s restaurant critic, Besha Rodell. After a successful run he elevated his role, quite literally, by opening 71Above – the highest restaurant west of the Mississippi — in July 2016. Under his hand, the restaurant received great critical acclaim and put Chef Abgaryan on L.A.’s culinary heat map. 71Above was awarded three stars by LA Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine named it “one of the Top Ten New Restaurants of 2016” and Critic Patric Kuh remarked that “the experience is luxury that reflects on-point execution.” The Los Angeles Times’ Jonathan Gold called his Suckling Pig dish “something out of a charcuterie dream.” While at 71Above, Abgaryan was named StarChef’s Rising Star for 2018.
After serving over 300 diners a night in an elaborate setting at helicopter-hovering heights, Abgaryan had become one of the city’s most talented and respected chefs. When an opportunity presented itself to bring a refined culinary experience to Abbot Kinney Boulevard, considered by many to be “America’s coolest block,” he took it. Abgaryan’s culinary endeavor, with partners Dave Reiss (formerly of Salt Air) and Paul Pruitt (Founder of New School), at Yours Truly allowed him to focus on a smaller number of guests and work within a more intimate dinner setting.
Yours Truly quickly became a hit, and the restaurant was named “Best New Restaurant” by Los Angeles Magazine, LA Times, LA Weekly, Thrillst and Eater LA. Yours Truly was also included in the ‘101 Best’ annual Los Angeles Times restaurant list. On March 15, one year from its opening date, Los Angeles went into lockdown, and Yours Truly was forced to close for 7 months to re-open as an outdoor concept. It closed permanently after a second lockdown shuttered all restaurants a few months later.
Now at Brasserie SLO, Chef Abgaryan has created a menu that exhibits a multi-cultural approach, combining ingredients from Mexico, Asia and Europe. His bold and flavor-driven approach can be seen in a selection of small plates including Hamachi Crudo, Avocado, Mango, chili, lemon and sorrel; Octopus, potatoes, tomato coriander vinaigrette and tarragon; and Grilled Broccolini, black garlic, peanuts, fermented Fresno and lemon; as well as in main courses such as Mussels, Coconut Poblano Broth, cilantro and lime; and Scallops, farro risotto, zucchini, lemon and basil mascarpone.
In a nod to his Armenian heritage, diners will find Middle Eastern elements in such dishes as Carrots, Za’atar, tahini and sweet garlic; Avocado Hummus with salsa matcha, peanut, yuzu, poblano and grilled flatbread; and Grilled Half Chicken, honey, lettuces, radish and preserved lemon.
“We are delighted to have a chef of Chef Vartan Abgaryan caliber join the team at Hotel Cerro – even if it is only for a few months,” said Hotel Cerro General Manager Natalie Ward. “He has transformed the culinary programs of several Los Angeles based restaurants, and we look forward to seeing how he will apply his considerable talents to the fresh, regional produce and seafood of the Central Coast.”
About Hotel Cerro:
Located in the heart of lively downtown San Luis Obispo, Hotel Cerro is the perfect intersection of SLO culture, California’s rich history and casual elegance. Designed and built towards LEED Silver specifications, Hotel Cerro boasts 65 spacious guest rooms and suites, ranging in size from 350 to 920 square feet. A full-service hotel, Hotel Cerro’s other amenities include a fitness center and spa, rooftop pool deck with 360-degree views, beautiful outdoor areas and a restaurant, Brasserie SLO, which sources ingredients from the hotel’s own Edible Garden. The result is an oasis of sustainably designed luxury in the heart of California’s iconic central coast. Hotel Cerro is located at 1125 Garden Street, between Marsh and Higuera Streets, in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo. For more information and reservations, please call 805.548.1000 or click HERE.