– A HOT SPOT FOR DINING AND CHILLIN’ IN WESTLAKE
“WHILE THE PLACE HAS AN ECLECTIC NATURE WITH LOTS OF COSMETIC TOUCHES, THERE IS AN IMPORTANT STABILITY .”
– By Anthony Head
805 Magazine ,September, 2004 – On a recent Saturday evening, there was some grumbling outside the front doors of P6, the newest addition to Westlake Village ‘s dining scene. A couple of longtime neighborhood residents—who evidently don’t get out to inspect the neighborhood too often—were confused when they showed up at the Village Glen Plaza to have a quiet dinner at Cocos. They were obviously dismayed to find that their beloved restaurant had apparently disappeared.
One guy asked the other, “Where is it? What’s this thing?”
“I wish it would go away. I just want Coco ‘s back,” was the reply.
The two lingered and groused a while longer, desperately looking around as if the act of staring intently would somehow change their gloomy situation. All the while, BMWs and Cadillacs pulled into the parking lot and fash¬ionably dressed ladies and gentlemen jumped out and practically ran through P6’s doors. In stark contrast to the Coco ‘s devotees, their faces reflected a sense of relief and anticipation, not unlike travelers in a desert finally com¬ing upon a rumored lush, green oasis.
With little exception, P6 has been embraced warmly and eagerly by the community as the first new chapter in dining and nightlife in this corner of the Conejo Valley —a chapter that doesn’t include peach pies under glass or chicken-fried steak. And as for those last remaining Cocos fanatics still lamenting their loss, general partner Brad Finefrock holds little sympathy.
“I used to eat there with my grandmother—15 years ago,” says Finefrock. “But this community really needed something with a little more excitement. So I personally enjoyed taking that space and giving it a much-needed makeover.” Finefrock has lived in the area for almost 20 years and he says that he grew frustrated about having to drive to Santa Monica or Malibu to enjoy a night out with more verve than is usually offered locally. Finefrock explains that the P6 project was launched after taking a hard look at the area’s demographics and confirming what he suspected: There are a lot of young people and a lot of money. His investor group was mostly friends and family, and mostly comprised of local residents who shared Finefrock’s cultural frustration. “I’ll admit it was a selfish move,” says Finefrock. “After waiting for it to happen—waiting for someone else to open a place that was cool—I finally decided to take action myself.” Finefrock and his partner Jerry Rubacky, a restaurateur recently living in Park City , renderings of P6’s shield logo. Either way, it heats simply looking at yourself when hoisting one of the eight house martinis offered. Past the bar, the lounge has more polished ebony and banquettes, sofas and flat-screen televisions. Here the lighting and music become more pronounced, especially as the night grows longer and the crowd skews younger.
There is also a space-age, private dining area that looks like it could he the conference room on-board Captain Kirk’s starship Enterprise , and a much-sought-after terrace with a fire pit for al fresco dining and late—night lotinging. Inside and out, there is seating for 185.
So what does all this say about P6? Simple. While the place has an eclectic nature with lots of cosmetic touches, there is an important stability and permanence to the decor that provides diners with the feeling that they have arrived someplace.
“I’m really happy with it,” says Davis Krumins, architect and owner of Davis —Ink, in Costa Mesa . “The neatest thing about it is that the look and feel to the whole structure seems to appeal to a wide range of age groups, which is a tricky task to pull off.”
Krumins was chosen to head up the project after Finefrock visited a friend’s club, Sidebar, in San l)iego’s Gaslamp Quarter. After seeing Krumin’s work, he knew that he wanted his space to have a similar vibe with complementing aesthetics. Finefrock then introduced Krumins to interior decorator Grady Cooley and the team was set into motion.
While the design certainly draws customers in, the food keeps their attention. Executive chef Francisco Chaidez’s menu of mostly California-fusion dishes was composed with the same boldness as the restaurant’s look, It includes such starters as a crispy Brie and pear salad and an excellent dish of Asian vegetable dumplings. Entrées run to the hearty side with THERE IS ALSO A SPACE-AGE PRIVATE standout dishes being a grilled Atlantic salmon with steamed couscous and aspara¬gus: a full rack of braised baby back ribs slathered with chipotle barbecue sauce; and DINING AREA THAT LOOKS LIKE IT COULD Kobe beef sirloin steak with Yukon potatoes. There are also pastas and pizzas. BE THE CONFERENCE ROOM ON-BOARD
The dessert menu is loaded with decadent finales like brownie banana cream pie and Tahitian vanilla bean crème hrfllée. And when such sweet stuff is offered (and CAPTAIN KIRK’S STARSHIP ENTERPRISE when the crowd gathering in the lounge is so young and attractive), minds can he convinced to forego renting another l)V[) and heading home to instead ordering an after-dinner cocktail and sticking around awhile.
Apparently, P6 is just the beginning. Finefrock and team are planning a second project and hope to break ground in Agoura Hills soon. But Finefrock says that the creative aspect has been easier to accomplish than getting the city officials on board. There was a lot of resistance, he says, from the city to changing the nightlife tone in this area. “They don’t want it to become another Hollywood . And I can understand that, but I don’t think there is any danger in that happening. But there needs some new life breathed into what’s happening now,” says Finefrock.
If the numbers P6 has been racking up are any indication, there is tremendous community support for new endeavors. “We launched the first week of June and it has not let up,” says Finefrock. “And from the moment we opened our doors, we’ve been told over and over again that this is exactly what this community needs. If we had a penny for every time we heard that, we wouldn’t have needed to open a restaurant.”
P6 Restaurant & Lounge, 2809 Agoura Road, Westlake Village, 805-778-0123