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.
815 S Hill St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Dining date: 12/21/16
I first dined at Shibumi in July very soon after the restaurant opened. The meal was very good, although the restaurant was still finding its stride. The restaurant has garnered some considerable praise since then. LA Times critic Jonathan Gold named it the second best restaurant in the city in October. Besha Rodell of the LA Weekly gave it 4 stars. The restaurant has been particularly popular in recent months given the praise, but I was able to snag a table over the holidays. I returned in to see how the food has evolved now that it’s been open for six months.
This was my first time sitting at the bar, providing an upfront view of the action. I definitely recommend requesting seats up here – it’s less intimate, but its a much more immersive dining experience.
408 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Dining date: 9/6/16
Baco Mercat has been open for almost five years now and still seems to be going pretty strong. It’s been over three years since my last visit; a friend visiting from out of town wanted to dine here, leading to this latest meal.
257 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 7/9/16
Spring opened at the corner of Third and Spring in February after a long, long, wait. The restaurant is from the team behind the Arts District’s Church & State with a fairly similar concept. Whereas Church & State is traditional French bistro, Spring expands its scope to a little more of the Mediterranean.
The space is beautiful essentially a large open atrium with a tree at its center. Plenty of natural light shines through while an expansive open kitchen greets patrons as they walk in.