By Andy J. Gordon
Los Angeles is a tough place to open a new restaurant. Competition is fierce, real estate and costs are high, while customer tastes are fickle. Several new places have opened in this challenging environment and Los Angeles Magazine selected a few as the best new restaurants in the area. The magazine hosted a party on January 20, 2015 to introduce and celebrate some of these fine new restaurants.
The party took place in a converted factory space in the Arts District in Downtown LA. Several prominent chefs showcased their new establishments and offered samples of their tasty cuisine. Bruce Kalman’s Union served delicious pork meatballs with polenta doused in a tangy marinara sauce. Neal Fraser’s new downtown sensation, Redbird, offered a complex shrimp and grits dish smothered in a cocoa nib chipotle mole. The Bellwether served an amazing Big Eye Tuna Crudo with a puttanesca style sauce, fennel confit and chilies.
Manhattan Beach’s Love & Salt had a delectable corned lamb tongue panini. Chef Michael Fiorelli added pickled peppers, fontina cheese and tomato aioli to the sandwich to make it extra yummy. Cassia, the Santa Monica partnership between husband-and-wife duo Bryant & Kim Ng and Josh Loeb & Zoe Nathan served a creamy chopped escargot. It came with lemongrass butter and herbs on a thinly sliced, crispy bread. Jon & Vinny’s, the new Italian joint from Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo served tender braised meatballs in marinara with ricotta cheese and garlic bread.
There were a variety of fine beverages available to go with the food. Bartenders prepared handcrafted Bombay Sapphire cocktails and poured Peroni beer. Additional booths were on the perimeter where experts poured a variety of wines. New Infiniti car models were spread out throughout the space and experts were on hand to provide information about the cars.
A DJ played thumping beats that kept the place hopping. Stuffed guests left the party thinking about making reservations at some of their new favorite restaurants. One final indulgence was given by Compartes – a small box of chocolates morsels embedded with the Infiniti logo for the ride home.
Chef photo courtesy of Jeff Drongowski.
Union and Bellwether photos courtesy of Andy J. Gordon