EdiBOL will "bowl" you over. The passion project of owner and chef Andrea Uyeda, this arts district dining spot may just become your passion, too. The inventive, intensely flavorful menu consists of virtually irresistible dishes created to be eaten out of a bowl. With both indoor and al fresco dining available, the restaurant itself is sleek, airy, and modern/industrial in design, the bright and welcoming space glowing with hand-stained blue teak and lapis lazuli counter tops. The morning, brunch, lunch and dinner bowl options can be served vegan, vegetarian, and with meat or fish added. There are gluten free options as well, on a menu that leans toward bountiful salads both warm and cold for lunch and dinner, with delicious spins on traditional brunch and breakfast items from waffles to biscuits. Uyeda's inspiration for the restaurant - which she designed, as well as helms, originated with cooking Sunday dinners at her grandparents' house in Boyle Heights. "By age 11, I had taken on the responsibility of cooking dinner for the family each night. A bowl of Japanese rice was a part of every meal. The ediBOL menu stems from my favorite way of eating - out of a bowl filled with fresh ingredients, hand-crafted flavors, and various textures and temperatures." Uyeda says that to her, bowl meals symbolize love, family, comfort, and "all that's good in life with a punch of bold flavor." Every dish we tasted was absolutely filled with rich flavor, yet none of Uyeda's creations were heavy or oily. "I use a great deal of herbs and spices, seasoning with fresh ginger, citrus, and very little oil, except for small amounts for flavor," she explains. Uyeda worked at the Border Grille for 18 years, but not in the kitchen. It was her love of cooking and baking that drove her to create her own space. Edibol opened in July, and has already found its stride. The restaurant offers Hot Bols, Cool Bols, little Bols - or sides, a Bol-wich sandwich, Morning Bols and Brunch Bols. And let's not forget the CrumBols baked goods, the AddictaBol desserts, and DrinkaBols that include both beautiful fresh juices and house crafted cocktails, wine, beer, sake, and shochu. We began our meal by sharing the BOL-wich, sharp cheddar and muenster cheese melted with carmelized onion on a pretzel baguette, dressed with stone ground mustard. Arguably the richest dish on the menu, the combination of flavors is intense, and pretty much anything one could want in a sophisticated take on a grilled cheese. Next up: we sampled one of the BOL BITEs, rice fritters. What a revelation in flavor. Crisp, yet chewy, a soft center and sweet lemon glaze make these delighful vegan treats a perfect appetizer. To drink, we tried two of the REFRESHABOLs on the menu, the crisp, clean Celery that combined lemon, lime, and cucumber with the celery for a refreshing, light drink; and the sweeter but beautifully nuanced strawberry rhubarb, flavored with hibiscus, lemon, and basil. The VegiBOL is a brilliant Hot Bol main dish, warm and salad-like. It features organic chick peas, spinach basil pesto, tamari sake heirloom rice, sesame bean sprouts, kohlrabi, candied almonds and pickled golden raisins. It was topped with a crisp, breaded poached egg, which ran and mixed with the other ingredients when cut. Truly an explosion of flavor, one of the most fascinating things about this dish was the contrast of so many vibrant tastes with the comparatively bland, cooling kohlrabi, which served as a kind of mirror to the many other ingredients. On the Cool Bol side, the Miso Peanut Ramen sparkles with taste. Already included in many best-of lists comparing noodle dishes around town, the perfectly chewy ramen noodles are dressed with honey miso, served over greens, and topped with red pepper, edamame, pickled carrots, scallions, shiitake mushrooms, and roasted peanuts. The taste is reminiscent of a light, clean Pad Thai. We sampled several of the craft cocktails as we took a pause in our dining. The delectaBOL lives up to its name, featuring a zingy blend of lemon shrub, thyme, ginger, and lemongrass with shochu. The pleasureaBOL is based on strawberry rhubarb, hibiscus, and basil, and combines shochu and prosecco. From the extensive brunch menu, we sampled the cheddar buttermilk biscuit, which includes a soft scrambled egg with scallions and a tomato remoulade. But it's the biscuit itself that will have you considering the indulgence of a second order. A perfectly balanced, fluffy, light and cheddar-filled biscuit, this was possibly my favorite item on the menu. Last but not least, there was dessert. We had the French toast custard, which can also be ordered as a delightfully sweet main course for breakfast or brunch. Delicate French toast is topped with pure maple syrup, with a frozen custard center and a mint leaf. It didn't matter how full we were, we cleaned that bowl quickly. Yet despite the number of dishes we tried, it's a further credit to the chef that we did not feel weighed down by the food; rather there was the strong feeling of having consumed healthy, flavorful dishes that left us content rather than over-stuffed. We noted that the rice used in many of the dishes is Kokuho rose rice, and its delicate flavor serves as an excellent base for the fresh vegetables and other ingredients. "My ultimate dream is for ediBOL to not only be a place that serves great food and drinks, but also a place where people can share their passions. We are creating a very special place for the family working here, the family of regular diners, and for the farmers, artisans, and vendors showcasing their ingredients," Uyeda says. Experience the pleasure of these delightful dishes - or rather, bowls - seven days a week at 300 S. Santa Fe Avenue, a part of the newly built One Santa Fe complex in downtown LA's Arts District.
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