Nikita, also known as Larry Ellison's "mystery restaurant," opened Monday after months of speculation over the new tenant and two weeks of private tastings.
It earned its nickname over the past year as it under went a major architectural overhaul and rumors swirled over who software billionaire and Malibu real estate baron Larry Ellison would select to serve food out of the space that shares a lot with Nobu Malibu. Chef Wolfgang Puck was said to have been involved in talks with Ellison, but architect Severine Tatangelo denied those rumors.
The site was once home to PierView Restaurant and Cantina, which closed in 2003.
The new Mediterranean-Italian restaurant shares a name with Ellison’s girlfriend, Ukranian actress Nikita Kahn, but staff members have declined to discuss whether the restaurant was named for Kahn.
“I don’t know. I’m not allowed to know,” said one employee told The Malibu Times last month.
At a private tasting Saturday, an outdoor bar area served summer cocktails while listening to live music from Eddie Wakes and his jazz trio. Dinner was prepared by Chef Massimiliano Blasone with a team of sous chefs serving dishes such as Colorado lamb, Chilean sea bass, fresh pasta, orange and saffron mini artichokes and several desserts. A menu from a prior bar tasting included Caesar and lobster salads ($18 and $25, respectively), Kobe beef sliders ($32) and a variety of seafood ($16-$25). The full menu from June 15 is attached at left.