Q&A With Chef Glenda Galvan-Garcia Of Granville In Los Angeles

After its first location opened in 2006, Granville now has four stunning Los Angeles locations in Glendale, Burbank, and Studio City. The most recent location has landed in West Hollywood right across the street from the famous Cedars-Sinai Hospital.

Granville's comprehensive menu uses fresh ingredients, including hormone-free and antibiotic-free meats, organic greens, artisan cheeses, and breads. When you sit down and take a look at Executive Chef Glenda Galvan-Garcia's menu, you'll find everything from poke bowls and pork belly bowls to branzino and rainbow trout. The restaurant also offers handcrafted and classic cocktails, craft spirits, wine, and beer.

Galvan-Garcia gave more insight into Granville's menu and success in Los Angeles in the following Q&A.

What is the inspiration behind the menu?

Our menu is inspired by the vision that founder Jon Weiss and I developed starting in 2004. Given the very different casual dining scene, there wasn't a concept quite like ours that made quality food from scratch accessible. We were casual, but not processed– from scratch, yet not upscale dining.

What initially started as a sandwich concept evolved into the idea that high-end food could be and should be well-priced. The notion that we could be both decadent and approachable was at the crux of what we were building. In addition to that, I truly wanted to see cleaner, natural and organic ingredients on restaurant menus. We didn't want to create a 'healthy” concept, per se, but a better tasting menu through better ingredients. It was the way I cooked at home and what I wanted to see in a restaurant concept.

For most of my career, I had developed menu items for large national chains in the casual and quick service category, too often seeing ideas that lacked integrity. The pendulum had swung too far away from real cooking and it was time for menu offerings to get back to basics. It was refreshing and rewarding to create a concept that valued where our food comes from, before that was even on the radar.

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Is there a dish on the menu that you have a personal connection to? Which one is it and why?

That is hard to pinpoint as the menu was developed as a team made up of my sister Gina and mother, Estella, both of whom are my culinary mentors. But digging a little deeper into my childhood, it definitely leans into the sweeter side of the menu. Growing up, I was fortunate to have been raised with pan dulce made by my maternal Grandfather who had a bakery in Mexico. Pastry and desserts are my first culinary love.

One dish I grew up with was a rich chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting and cherries.  Our Devil's Advocate Chocolate Cake is my grown-up version using cherries poached in port wine. Over time it has evolved to address our guests needs so we made it flourless, which is a double win since it deepens the chocolate intensity.

What are some of the most popular dishes?

Undoubtedly, the most popular dishes are the Mac and Cheese and Sweet Potato Fries. We joke that we could open a concept and only sell these two items. Some strong favorites are the Bacon and Blue Burger, Branzino with Lemongrass Vinaigrette, Poke Bowl, El Gaucho Salad, Chicken Noodle Soup with Shiitake Matzoh Balls and Caprese Sandwich with Kalamata Tapenade. I would be remiss not to mention the house-made potato chips that we season with hand-cut fresh rosemary and thyme. I'm a total chip addict and it's hard not to start my day with a few!

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What dishes do you recommend for first-timers to Granville?

Besides the favorites I mentioned, the Chicken & Blue Flatbread, Grilled Salmon, Thick-Cut Pork Chop, Thai Ginger Salad and Farro & Mushroom Risotto. I would also add that our vegan items appeal to even the most devout meat eaters. Just because it doesn't have meat, doesn't mean its lacking in flavor. Our Vegan chili won a Chili competition for a reason, we don't shy away from flavor! I'm also really proud of our bar program, our Wake n' Bacon rye whiskey cocktail and our Kings County Peated Bourbon are some of my favorites. Our sommelier, Christina has done an amazing job at selecting some magnificent wines. You really can't go wrong with any of our dishes. I will add that at Granville, we emphasis sharing, so ordering off the shareable menu is highly encouraged.

The meal that is the subject of this review was/were provided at no cost to the contributor.