Former Guido’s partner to debut new eatery

Vassil Pertchinkov (center), with Chris and Kristine Bocchino (right) and Yoshi Tonev in front of the new V’s Restaurant space on PCH.

Former Guido’s Restaurant partner Vassil Pertchinkov is aiming for an early summer opening for his latest creation, a restaurant in the old Charlie’s location on Pacific Coast Highway. The restaurant will boast a Mediterranean theme, with a diverse menu sourced from local farmers.

Husband and wife team Chris and Kristine Bocchino will run the kitchen and dining room, respectively, after recent stops at Malibu restaurants Savory and Terra.

“The most important thing for a successful restaurant is quality of food,” Pertchinkov said. “So we are trying to source all of our food locally and go with great California wines. Second is service and Kristine knows service. Third is design. It has to  appeal and be comfortable (he declined, however, to say who was designing V’s, saying it was a ‘surprise.’).”

Pertchinkov was a partner at Guido’s Restaurant for many years before selling his share months before it closed in December. Originally from Bulgaria, he has been in the restaurant business for 28 years and in Malibu for 20 of them. He said that what gives a restaurant long-standing stature is an appeal to local diners that keeps them coming back. The Bocchinos’ talents form a match made in culinary heaven, according to Pertchinkov.

“She’s a slave driver,” Chris said of his wife, with whom he has worked in restaurants for the past 20 years. “But really, we make a great team, both creatively and in action. We balance each other out.”

Pertchinkov said he will tap local farmers, like Thorne Family Farms and Vital Zuman, to provide fruits and vegetables for a menu emphasizing fresh and seasonal, with a Mediterranean flair. He wants to cater to local Malibu families for everyday business, rather than the well-heeled tourist looking for an occasional night out.

“We really want V’s to be approachable,” Kristine said. “It’s ‘fine dining’ as far as service, but upscale casual. We want parents to come in on their date night, as well as bring the kids after a baseball game in shorts and flip flops.”

“I think Malibu people are looking for a restaurant where they can go a couple of times a week and not break the bank,” Chris chimed in. “Not everyone in Malibu is a millionaire and we want to see families often. So we will almost have a Mom-and-Pop feel, but with really interesting, creative food.”

Accordingly, the three act as partners, devising, tasting and tweaking menus that will give the younger crowd plenty of what they like (the pizza oven is prominently featured in the kitchen) but offer their parents “very cutting edge” cuisine that Chris swears will not be found in other local restaurants.

“I just got a smoker,” he said excitedly. “We’ll do a housesmoked trout salad with local baby greens and maybe a smoked salmon BLT for lunch.”

They also plan on operating family-friendly hours—lunch and dinner every day, with no mid-day closures to thwart surfers hungry for a mid-afternoon snack, and brunches on the weekend. V’s will have a cozy bar area, a back patio and will seat perhaps 60.

The Bocchinos have extensive cooking backgrounds. Chris graduated from Paul Bocuse’s Culinary Institute of America in New York and ended up chefing at Remi in Santa Monica, where he met Kristine. She grew up in Malibu (her parents still live in Paradise Cove) and studied strictly “on the job training,” working with the owners of tony restaurants like Melisse and JiRaffe in Santa Monica, and dabbling more and more in pastry chefing.

Their combined talents served them well as owners of Terra in Malibu for a number of years—he in the kitchen, she as the general manager, pastry chef, bartender and “whatever else needed to be done.” Kristine also spent time at the recently closed Savory (which received a 2012 Zagat designation as “Best Newcomer”). 

Chris said the menu will feature pasta, pizzas and creative salads for the vegetarian, but offer steaks and seafood for the heartier appetite. But he warned not to expect business-as-usual with his menu. He plans to mix it up when it comes to flavor combinations and presentations.

“There are plenty of places in town most of Malibu can’t or won’t go,” Kristina said. “But not us. Malibu families can come here for a great night out with great local food.”