114 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 1/15/15
Neal & Amy Fraser’s Grace seems like so long ago; it’s been 4.5 years since the doors closed for good (I was at their final night). Two restaurant concepts (Playa and Petty Cash) have since replaced Grace on Beverly Blvd while Fraser’s Redbird faced delay after delay after delay. I remember years ago when this concept at the Vibiana was first announced in the “up-and-coming” downtown restaurant scene. Since then, downtown has certainly arrived and I think Redbird will make a great addition to the neighborhood.
Redbird is serving new American cuisine in a beautiful space at the Vibiana. Large windows, a live tree, and an open-air “ceiling” make for a spot that almost feels outdoors; I think it’ll be particularly nice to dine here during summer evenings.
I stopped in the previous week after an Art Walk stroll to get some of Julian Cox’s cocktails and a couple of snacks from the menu (chicken pot pie!). However, a full meal was definitely in order on this evening.
Faith & Flower
705 W 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Dining date: 12/31/14
Faith & Flower was one of my favorite restaurant openings in 2013 with its Asian-accented modern American cuisine and excellent cocktails. It’s conveniently (for me!) located downtown and has quickly become a go-to for me for a spontaneous spot for bites and drinks. While I’ve actually only had one full dinner in the dining room here, each of times I’ve dined in the bar/lounge area has been good as well.
When looking for a local dining experience on NYE, Faith & Flower was the choice. Special tasting menus were offered on this night with this one being $125pp inclusive of a champagne toast at midnight. All images on this post were taken with a point-and-shoot camera instead of my usual DSLR to stay mobile this evening.
Barrel & Ashes
11801 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604
Dining date: 11/22/14
One of the hottest restaurants in LA right now has to be this place, Barrel & Ashes. It’s the latest from prolific restaurateur Bill Chait, teaming up this time with two Thomas Keller vets Tim Hollingsworth (The French Laundry) and Rory Herrmann (Bouchon). Add barman Julian Cox and I’d say this is one of the highest-powered restaurant teams LA’s seen in some time. While the Hollingsworth/Herrmann pedigree comes from some of the fanciest of foods, Barrel & Ashes focuses in on a rather ‘simple’ food – BBQ. They’ve done extensive travel and eating and bring a mix of regional Southern specialties to Studio City.
The menu hones in on meat sold by the weight and ribs by the rack or half-rack. A handful of small plates and sides round out the savory part of the menu. On this evening, we tried a couple of the small plates and tried as many of the meats we could in one sitting.
718 N Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Dining date: 10/13/14
Petit Trois is Ludo Lefebvre’s latest venture, opened a few months ago as the more casual sister restaurant to the popular Trois Mec. It’s literally next door and shares a wall; I believe the kitchens/pantry are even connected. Petit Trois serves classic French bistro fare. No-tickets, no-reservations. As the name suggests, it’s a very cosy restaurant with a handful of counter seats around the small kitchen and some additional back counter seats; there are no tables.
We came early for Monday lunch service and grabbed two seats at the kitchen counter with a front-row view of the action. It’s amazing how efficiently the kitchen works in such tight quarters.
2121 7th Pl.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Dining date: 6/21/14, 8/1/14 and 10/10/14
Bestia continues to be one of my favorite restaurants in the city. The food’s as good as ever and the restaurant continues to pack the house nightly. I’ve visited regularly, once every month and a half or so; this post recaps three of my most recent meals.
521 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Dining date: 10/2/14
I first dined at Q two months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. This return visit came quicker than expected as Q was the last-minute choice for a special occasion meal in the downtown area.
Sushi Zo still gets the majority of buzz of high-end downtown sushi options, though Q is right up there and deserves strong consideration. The quality of the fish is superb and the precision is exacting, plus I think Q has one of the most beautiful sushi bars in town (I love the lightbulbs). It’s very quiet and rather tranquil, transporting one away from the busy downtown streets just outside the doors.