Horses is the latest incarnation of the historic Sunset Boulevard space where Ye Coach & Horses was stabled for 73 years before becoming the Pikey. It’s been totally transformed since Quentin Tarantino and Tim Roth legendarily scribbled scenes for “Pulp Fiction” on cocktail napkins in the weathered Coach & Horses bar. The “Established 1934” plaque remains as a nod to Hollywood history, but other than that, it’s all new and much more casual-but-refined bistro than funky watering hole.
Color-saturated canvases from artist Kacper Abolik warm up the space, which has the cozy feel of a European bistro. Chefs Will Aghajanian, of Per Se, and Liz Johnson, who won acclaim at L.A.’s haute deli Freedman’s, along with co-executive chefs Brittany Ha and Lee Pallerino, envision Horses as a “new restaurant with old values,” according to Johnson. “We wanted to shine light on the ‘lived-in’ feel that it already had – similar to restaurants in Europe or New York. We worked to maintain the bones from the original building while bringing in more sunlight and color. Our vision was to create a space for celebration,” Johnson explains.
The compact menu focuses on drink-friendly offerings like iced oysters, smoked salmon lavash, butcher’s steak grilled over vine cuttings or a burger and fries. Aghajanian and Johnson are particularly fond of the Cornish hen with dandelion panzanella, the Horses Caesar salad and the sobrassada panino, but don’t sleep on the sheep’s milk cheesecake either.
“We joke that it’s ‘new Hollywood,'” says Johnson, “The cuisine is Southern California, the cooking is reminiscent of the sunny South of France. It is homier — more bistro style and by far a lighter country fare.”
General manager and wine director Terence Leavey, formerly of Spago and Vespertine, along with Steve LaFountain, oversee a beverage program that leans into classic cocktails with luxe twists, like the Vesper martini with fig-infused gin or a Black Manhattan with Cynar.
Horses, 7617 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles