On a rainy night in Los Angeles jut before the holidays, my partner in crime, Stavros Bourke and I were excited to be invited to a night of tantalizing tastes created by Chef David Bartnes at the new restaurant on Cahuenga, Madera Kitchen.

Situated in between Solar de Cahuenga and the plaza with the Pho place and Panda Express, Madera is a sophisticated yet unpretentious place great for date nights or business dinners. Stavi and I dashed out of our uber into the cozy, candle-lit restaurant, and were escorted to a table near the grand fireplace, where we took the photo opportunity to pose with our toys that were to be given to the toy drive at a holiday party following our dinner.


It had been raining non-stop for about 3 days, and the best way to keep cozy on a rainy LA night is a 5 course dinner, duh! From fresh albacore paired with a lovely arugula and grapefruit salad to a mouthwatering oxtail  dish, bite after bite, and sip after sip, Stavi and I couldn’t help but devour every last bite.


We had a few questions for Chef Bartnes about his magical dishes, keep reading to see the answers!


The albacore was my favorite. What was the inspiration behind the combination of flavors? And can you tell us more about the salt?

My favorite way to eat fish is almost always raw. Most people regard raw fish as sushi but other cultures also have their versions, mine being inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean….I wanted to convey they freshness of the fish, which i wanted to enhance with the brightness of citrus. To add a rustic warmth and a slight sense of a beach campfire, I chose the Alderwood Smoked Salt.


Stavi’s favorite was the Oxtail, can you tell us how you treated the carrots?
The carrots were blanched and then caramelized in hot pan with honey and fresh thyme.
And what was that amazing mac n cheese like sauce on the sides of the plate?
This was a Golden Beet yogurt.


Where do you source your meat, fish and veggies?
I try to source as much as I can locally. My favorites being Weiser Family Farms.

What’s next for you chef?! Any new pop ups we can look forward to?
I am currently consulting a project in DTLA with hopes of finding a new venue to continue my last project “b.o.s.” In the meanwhile I am developing a series of pop ups at a spot in Eagle Rock, which I hope to launch in the new year.


Well next time we’re in Eagle Rock, we’re there! Thank you chef for letting us in on some of your secrets, and for creating such an extravagantly delicious meal. Cheers!




Written by Jacqueline Chambers

Jacqueline Chambers

Jacqueline Chambers is the founder of TGIFguide. She uses her innate skills as a natural “connector” to serve businesses, brands and individuals in the LA area and beyond.