Brand new eats from a <em>Top Chef</em> runner-up

As your parents once said, it's not whether you win or lose, but how you consistently brag about your prowess, only to lose to a less-talented chef before returning to glory with your own sweet restaurant, all while making lesbians feel slightly uneasy. Doing just that: Stefan's at LA Farm.

The first restaurant from the cocky, sapphically-inclined runner-up in last year's Top Chef, SALAF's a flickering-neon-signed, casual bistro in a totally renovated, previously Stefan-less LA Farm space, now blessed with an abstract-arted interior and an outdoor area w/ leather corner banquettes surrounding flaming fire-pits, in case you're afraid to admit the steak is undercooked. The food's all about unusual twists: oysters are served w/ fennel vinaigrette and absinthe jello, a fried arancini is stuffed w/ shavings from French and Italian truffles, and pork cheek's are abetted with sauerkraut, caraway seed sausage, and pretzel dumplings, a name you knew you should've trademarked post visiting the Dodger Stadium bathroom. Drinkswise, they've got a full bar w/ specialty bevvies named after/created by each of the owners/managers/barmen, including Stefan's own "Finnish Me Off" (Finlandia tangerine w/ triple sec, peach tea, and cranberry); the GM's Grey Goose w/ tequila, blood orange and grapefruit juice ("Rickey's Main Squeeze"), and the chef de cuisine's Fernet Branca w/ creme de menthe, coke, and soda water ("Leo's Argentian Dragon"); they've also got a strictly-American beer and wine list, with 10 carefully-chosen brews including (Stefan fave) Bud Light and Arrogant Bastard... no, we insist, you make the joke!

The restaurant's open next Thursday, but reservations start tomorrow -- make one first thing in the morning, or risk bragging that you already got one, only to lose it to some early rising chick with a buzzcut.