Sqirl | 99 Essential Restaurants 2015


photo by Anne Fishbein

If Jessica Koslow’s East Hollywood cafe were just a little less inventive, just a smidge less delicious, perhaps it would have gone unnoticed by everyone except the coffee- and toast-hungry surrounding neighborhood. But despite Sqirl’s guise as an unremarkable hipster coffee shop, Koslow’s cooking tells a different story. It tells of her experience in stellar restaurants and bakeries all over the world, from Atlanta to Melbourne. It tells of someone deeply invested in her city and her region, and the ingredients native to both. Mostly, it tells of a chef who combines an urge to cook for her neighborhood with a keen sense of creativity and flavor — where else in L.A. (or America) could you get a smoked whitefish and cured salmon salad, alongside seared turnips and shishito peppers with mojo picón and garlic greens, or a Beecher’s cheddar sandwich with kale and house-made tomato/coriander jam? (Koslow’s line of Sqirl jams is perhaps our favorite gift for out-of-towners when we want to show off our local bounty.) The lines to order at the counter are long (particularly on weekends), the parking is difficult, the seating scarce. The hassle is worth it, always. Sqirl proves, again and again, just how far a little inventiveness, deliciousness and skill can go.— Besha Rodell