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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.