Ditmas Kitchen & Cocktail.

A chef who can take a restriction and turn it into an asset is a great chef indeed. In recent years, some of the most interesting food I've had has come from chefs who limit themselves in some way: to raw food, to meat-free food, to the food of one farm, to food they've grown themselves. Such limitations can midwife great creativity. Anyone can cook a piece of salmon and throw it on a plate with spinach and mashed potatoes. A great vegan cheesecake? That's harder. While Pico-Robertson has begun to see destination restaurants in recent years, those have been disconnected from its core community. Ditmas clearly hopes to bridge that gap.

Alex Reznik, a Top Chef alum and former chef of La Seine and FigOly, has just opened a restaurant with a number of constraints. According to Reznik, Ditmas Kitchen & Cocktails is first and foremost an ode to New York — the restaurant is named for the avenue where the chef grew up in Brooklyn. It's also kosher, joining a growing number of ambitious kosher restaurants that are popping up nationally.

A kosher menu puts many things off limits. Of course there is no pork or shellfish. Ditmas also is dairy-free, negating the need for the requisite separate kitchens and sets of equipment to handle meat and dairy. The restaurant is billing itself as something of a chophouse, with a whole section of the menu dedicated to steak, but the beef is only from the front of the animal, as kosher law dictates (it's somewhat more complex than that, but in America this is how people keep kosher). A rabbi is on premises to oversee things.