A Carefully Crafted Menu at Bow & Truss Brings Latin Delicacies to NoHo’s Nightlife

Grilled Sea Bass Tacos

Grilled Sea Bass Tacos Photo by Malina Saval

If Frank Gehry had a restaurant, it might be Bow & Truss, the latest venture by Knitting Factory Entertainment in North Hollywood’s Arts District.

I don’t mean this literally — the converted 1930s auto garage with brick walls and concrete floors isn’t about to be confused with Gehry’s ethereal, swirling Walt Disney Concert Hall downtown. (Although, take a few swigs of one of the restaurant’s strong signature cocktails, all of which feature sherry, and you might disagree.)

Still, this is a place rooted in architecture, both structural and culinary. This is most obvious, of course, in the name. It’s not something that you would expect from a hip, Latin-inspired restaurant that collects bold, exotic flavors from such far-flung places as Spain, Brazil and Mexico. Instead, it’s a friendly shout-out to the building’s ceiling design, which features exposed horizontal beams spanned by curved arches.

The old garage, quietly set back from a busy stretch of Magnolia Boulevard, serves as the footprint for this laid-back restaurant that opened in July and which started lunch service late in October. Designed to bring people together in conversation as much as to eat and drink, a sizable outdoor patio filled with comfy-looking chairs and couches leads fluidly indoors.

There, guests are welcomed by a large central bar, an open kitchen and, on at least one occasion, an employee dancing "Gangnam Style." To set the mood, a couple of enormous paintings of bulls hang from the walls and some vaguely Moorish designs adorn the bar.

Although Gehry didn’t draw up the plans for the spacious building and its casual but modern wood furnishings, his spirit might as well have had a hand in the creative menu by Executive Chef Stefhanie Meyers and Knitting Factory’s Executive Chef Consultant Shad Davis. The food at Bow & Truss is meticulously constructed — perfectly balanced, expertly composed and very pretty.

It’s tasty, too, starting with a platter of artisanal cheeses. Saying the names of the seven available options — Manchego! Mahon! Caprichevere! — is almost as fun as eating them, especially when they’re dipped in a homemade jam and accompanied by addicting roasted pepitas.

As if to prove this is no ordinary tapas bar — Morgan Margolis, chief executive and president of Knitting Factory Entertainment, avoids using the term — the cheese arrives in large hunks and globs. It’s more than enough to satisfy a party of three.

Ditto for the tacos, which are served in sets of three, each beautifully stacked like a little edible tower. The Grilled Sea Bass Tacos are topped with pickled carrot slaw and a ribbon of avocado sauce that give it a neat kick, while the Chicken Confit Tacos carry a more smoldering flavor that’s complemented by achiote paste and pickled shallots.

Guests may choose from among four sorts of paellas that offer various combinations of shellfish, sausage, chicken and mushrooms. There are several offerings for vegetarians, too, such as the Roasted Beet Salad.

The centrally located indoor bar. Photo by Alen Lin

The centrally located indoor bar. Photo by Alen Lin

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