Pork belly with apples, herbs, and Vietnamese dipping sauce at Mari | Mari [Official photo]
Brian Bellicourt incorporates diverse LA flavors in the relatively quiet neighborhood
Century City ranks among LA’s sleepiest dining neighborhoods. Sure, the Westfield mall has a ton of new places to eat like Eataly and Din Tai Fung, but in general the lack of street-facing commercial space makes it difficult for restaurants to attract diners. At Mari, the restaurant that first opened in 2016 inside the Intercontinental hotel, it will take a big effort from chef de cuisine Brian Bellicourt to convince locals that it’s worth staying in the neighborhood.
The chef conducted a modern Filipino food pop-up at the restaurant last year before convincing hotel management to turn the menu to something that reflected LA’s diverse flavors. Beginning in mid-July, Bellicourt installed a completely new menu while Mari’s somewhat tacky interior design remained in place.
Bellicourt’s pan-Asian and pan-Latin approach might be a little scattershot, but for Century City, it’s an escape to far-flung parts of LA like Koreatown, Little Saigon, East LA, and Thai Town. Best of all, Bellicourt draws on his Filipino upbringing with dishes like chicken adobo tsukune and tuna kilawan with coconut milk.
Bellicourt leaned on his experience with LA’s street food and vast international cuisines to compile a lengthy menu that includes things like carne asada street tacos, chashu ramen, elote-style corn, and Little Tokyo-inspired beef curry. The main dishes learn toward more traditional fare like a prime-grade short rib, Kurobuta pork rack, and whole deep-fried tai snapper. That last bit resembles the popular whole fried fish at Thai Town’s Jitlada with a side of rice fish sauce-based nam jim to dip the fish and crispy skin into.
Desserts are a draw here too, with pastry chef Gail Romulo preparing a warm buko tart with young coconut and coconut pandan ice cream. A ricotta cheesecake comes with fresh cherries just at the end of their season, plus a scoop of walnut ice cream on top. Mari is open for breakfast daily at 6:30 a.m., serving lunch at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The restaurant reopens at 5:30 p.m. and serves dinner until 10 p.m.
Mari at Intercontinental Los Angeles Century City. 2151 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA.
Source: Eater LA – All – Matthew Kang