A Farm to Table Science Project
Chef Jordan Kahn
Looking for something extraordinary? Half science experiment, half restaurant, Destroyer almost seems like you’re dining in the future. A peek at the website promises something different, creative albeit a bit confusing with many moving parts (literally). Order at the counter, set right in the kitchen, as you try to decipher the projected menu on the nearby wall. The minimalistic space offers interior and exterior seating. When dishes arrive at your table, colors explode. Meanwhile, ingredients that are prepared simply are often hidden, under a bed of seeds or greens. You deconstruct the dish, such as the beef tartare, which sits under a bed of radishes with smoked egg cream and pickled mushrooms, to discover this meticulously beautiful raw meat. Chicken confit is richly layered with yukon gold potato, aged cheese, yuzu, and hazelnut. Open for breakfast and lunch only. Fussy? Perhaps…but incredibly inventive and not a lunch you are likely to forget. destroyer.la
Chef Alison Trent
One of the best places for outdoor dining all year long is the back patio at Laurel Hardware. Start with a glass of rosé under strands of lights on the patio and nibble on fork-tender pork ribs as the sun goes down. Spanish octopus is excellent and served with a charred bean salsa. Choose from a selection of pizzas or mains from pasta to red snapper with burnt lemon, bok choy, and hearts of palm. If you thought Laurel Hardware was a bar, you are correct. In fact, their new Mezcal Bar is intimate, chic, and offers a fabulous place to end your meal with a hand mixed drink beside the glow of a fireplace. We’ll be lingering near this fireplace for all of fall. Still hungry? They have an exclusive menu just for the Mezcal Bar that features gourmet tacos and more.
Chef Ricardo Zarate
Lovers of Picca or MoChica will be thrilled to see Chef Ricardo Zarate back in action. This modern Peruvian restaurant has transformed the old Comme Ça space into a vibrant, indoor-outdoor destination for creative cocktails and contemporary Peruvian cuisine. Pisco sours, served in handpainted ceramic mugs, are a refreshing way to start the evening. Choose from almost half a dozen different ceviches: kampachi ceviche with baja California amberjack, aji pesto, charcoal oven roasted sweet potato or ceviche crocante with halibut, crispy baby calamari, yuzu kosho, and ají amarillo leche de tigre. All of LA is talking about the Chaufa Paella, a must order on your first visit. Request a seat at the ceviche bar to watch the chefs make this dish in action. Peruvian fried rice, paella-style, is carefully topped with tomatoes, pancetta, la chang sausage, bagoong, prawns, and an array of their specialty sauces. Expect excellent nightly specials, like the incredibly tender bone-in short rib, served with coleslaw and roasted figs. Desserts are by no means an afterthought. Peruvian cake is reminiscent of a tres leches, but better. Goat’s milk manjar blanco, coconut milk, maracuya guava frozen yogurt, torched meringue, and Harry’s berries strawberries are combined for a milky, sweet ending. Bonbons are perfect if you are looking for just a bite and come in three flavors: lucuma ice cream, chocolate ice cream, and strawberry huacatay mint sorbet, dipped in Peruvian chocolate.
Chef Diego Hernandez
You will hardly remember that this was the former location of Dominick’s. Award-winning Chef Diego Hernandez from Corazon de Tierra in Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe is plating beautiful Mexican cuisine in the gorgeously remodeled space. Checkered floors, exposed brick walls, and a back patio covered entirely by skylights fills up every evening, as guests share dishes from the small but deliberate menu. Everyone at your table will swoon over their homemade tacos and fresh ceviches. Vegetable dishes like whole baby beetroot are served with smoked garlic puree, hibiscus powder, and dried cheese, while whole baby carrots with queso fresco are almost too pretty to eat. Ask if they have the black beans—arguably the best in LA. Short rib braised in black bean broth is tender and flavorful with pickled cauliflower. Desserts are also a win, from corn cake with corn anglaise to the lighter nectarine berries and cream with Thai basil granita.