500 Mateo St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Dining date: 5/18/18
Bavel is Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis’ follow-up restaurant to the wildly successful Bestia. Located just a few blocks away from Bestia, the restaurant provides another option for downtown Arts District diners. The food here is Middle Eastern, reflecting Menashe’s heritage. I haven’t had a ton of exposure to the cuisine, but figured I was in great hands given my love of the food at Bestia.
The NoMad Hotel
649 S Olive St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Dining date: 4/1/18
The NoMad Hotel, located in the middle of downtown Los Angeles, opened in January. The hotel opening brought with it two imports from the NYC original – the highly-regarded NoMad Bar as well as NoMad Restaurant. The dining is overseen by Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park fame, whose NoMad in NYC has garnered one Michelin star. As such, this has been a highly anticipated restaurant ever since it was announced.
I’ve dined at NYC’s NoMad once, for lunch, and was very excited to try the Los Angeles restaurant for dinner. There are two concepts at the hotel – the Lobby for more casual all-day dining and the upstairs dinner-only Mezzanine for more formal dining.
1725 Naud St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 3/29/18
David Chang’s Majordomo opened at the end of January, easily one of the biggest restaurant openings this year. Chang’s popularity has never been higher given the success of his Netflix documentary Ugly Delicious, and it’s reflected in the reservations – it’s one of the toughest tables in town. I lucked out in getting a four-top reservation just two days prior.
The cuisine at Majordomo is pan-Asian with a bunch of other influences. The menu is categorized into sections for bing flatbread (with accompaniments), raw, market/vegetables, noodles, fish and meat. In addition, there are a handful of large-format dishes meant to be shared with larger groups. We ordered a sprinkling of items throughout each of the categories.
1124 San Julian St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Dining date: 5/21/17
Rossoblu opened last month, Steve Samson’s second restaurant after opening Sotto six years ago. Like Sotto, Rossoblu is serving Italian cuisine but the menu and style is a bit different. For example, much was made about Sotto’s pizza oven (imported from Italy brick-by-brick) and the pizzas have been a cornerstone on Sotto’s menu. However, there there are no pizzas here. There are pastas are on the menu though, accompanied by a number of small plate antipasti and large format protein-heavy dishes.
Rossoblu’s space is beautiful with an open kitchen and huge windows bringing in plenty of natural light. On this evening, the doors were wide open letting in a slight breeze (although it was still way too hot and stuffy inside). Rossoblu is one of the first businesses to open in downtown’s City Market South development, which is also slated to house a location of San Francisco’s popular Slanted Door.
Orsa & Winston
122 W 4th St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Dining date: 4/15/17
It’s been some time since I’ve been to Orsa & Winston. This was my third visit here and it seems like the restaurant hasn’t changed too much. The food is still very much Italian and Japanese-influenced, although the menu does appear to feature vegetables more prominently. This isn’t surprising, reflective of chef Jose Centeno’s latest desire to cook/eat (his latest concept, P.Y.T., is almost vegetarian).
$85 buys six courses here with a couple of optional supplements that change often. Some of the ‘extras’ – an amuse bouche, a pre-dessert, and mignardises kind of makes it feel like a nine courser before supplements. If that’s still not enough, there’s still a 20-course super omakase is still available at the bar with advance reservation.
On this evening we opted for the regular tasting menu, adding both supplements.
Cento Pasta Bar
128 E 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Dining dates: 2/4/17, 3/4/17, 4/1/17, 4/8/17
Cento Pasta Bar is a recurring pop-up restaurant in downtown’s Mignon space. At night, this is a French wine bar serving French small plates and wines, but during the day it’s a pasta bar (Wed-Sat). The menu is very focused; typically there’s a couple of appetizers and about three pastas on offer. The pasta offerings change weekly, though can change even daily depending on what the chef comes up with. Prices are very reasonable – pastas are in the $12-$18 range.
I’ve stopped in a number of times to try what’s cooking. Just about every seat at the restaurant is at the counter surrounding all the cooking. It’s great to be able to see the pastas come together right in front of you and be able to interact with the chef.