Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

Shinko season at Morihiro!! Splendid dinner las Night at the bar

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Ashley and I previously enjoyed this place, too. We both had the impression, “Good. A touch pricey for what you get. Will come back, but not in a hurry to do so.”

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On my way back to NYC.

First night we hit Etra for a late reservation. It was just what we needed after a long day that started at 4 am NYC time. The Dorade was excellent and as I mentioned above we drank well.

We started our first full day by postmating Destroyer! This is a game changer and one of three Destroyer meals of the trip!

Dinner was at Vespertine. I have to preface this by saying I am extremely tired of tasting menus and the lack of a wine list is the most frustrating thing to me. Having said that I have the upmost respect for Chef Jordan Kahn and our two best friends really wanted to go, so I took many deep breaths and ventured forward. The meal was overall excellent with a few major highlights including the Quail. If you are looking for this type of experience Vespertine is the only place to get in it LA.

The following day we returned to Baroo for our 5th visit in the new space. This time we all requested the vegetarian menu! WOW! Just WOW! This was one of the most incredible meals of my entire life. And I can’t wait to go back. The complexity of the preparations and unique ingredients were something unlike I have rarely experienced other than perhaps at Noma. They let us know that Chef Jeong Kwan will be coming in August for a few collaboration events. For those that don’t know Barro Chef Kwang Uh spent 6 months at Chef Kwan’s Buddhist temple and he met his wife, Mina Park there. This is by far and away the most exciting restaurant in the U.S. and I will be returning as fast as possible.

We were trying to find a place for lunch on Saturday that fit a few criteria, great food, good wine or BYOB, inside, equidistant to the person we were meeting and cool! I could not come up with an idea so we said F it and just ordered Destroyer and enjoyed it with great wine and music at our place! The Schitnzel traveled perfectedly!

After lunch we headed over to winestudy at Abe Schoeners winery in DTLA before dinner.

Dinner was at ILE a West African permanent popup in Hollywood. It has been open for three years! How have I not known about this spot!?!? I loved it. It is a three course family style meal on Saturdays. BYOB and a very fun experience. On other nights they do more of an Omakase style dinner. I am definitely going to return for the Omakase.

Overall a great four days of drinking and eating in LA!


I need to go back to Yoshizumi. First time I ever had shinko was there – unforgettable experience.

Quite timely! Baroo, innovator of Korean dining, is The Times’ 2024 Restaurant of the Year

If you liked Ile, consider giving Ubuntu a try (plant based).

You heard it here first!

And I have heard good things about Ubuntu. Coincidentally Jeremy Fox had a restaurant called Ubuntu in Napa, that like Baroo in its time I thought it was the most exciting restaurant in the U.S. Rene Redzepi said it was his meal of the year.

I’m a big fan of Jeremy’s current restaurants, especially Birdie G’s, Rustic Canyon, and Cassia.

None of them come even close to the specialness of Ubuntu for a brief moment in time. However they are far more successful and that is a good thing. And I know what was going on in that kitchen! Pure insanity.

Funny thing is that as I was eating my meal at Baroo this past Friday I said it reminded me of Ubuntu which is the highest compliment.

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Hi Mark - I think Cassia is Bryant Ng who had Spice Table years ago. I’m a fan. Fox is back cooking at RC at the moment as they are between CdCs.

I don’t doubt that for a minute.

We’ve watched the arc of many LA chefs and restaurants (Puck, Milliken/Feniger, Splichal, and others), and their early restaurants when they were ascendant remain our favorites: the original Spago on Sunset (I think the Bev Hills restaurant is akin to a mediocre hotel kitchen), Max au Triangle (Splichal’s brilliant, short lived Bev Hills restaurant was much better than Patina ever was), City Cafe (Milliken Feniger’s first space which was half a storefront and they often cooked in the alley behind), and others. I’d even include Jordan Kahn’s Red Medicine, which was much more fun than anything since, even if his subsequent and current restaurants are ‘better’. Same with Animal and Church and State (Walter Manzke’s last stop before he opened restaurants of his own). Those smaller, less established restaurants had an energy and intimacy that the newer, bigger, fancier places lack.

New CdC at Rustic Canyon. Ate there last week and it was excellent. Ng cooked at Cassia, but it is part of the Rustic Canyon group.

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Yes I know what you mean and I was actually concerned that Baroo would not have the magic of the original. Yet Baroo hit that level for me with our last meal within a more refined and hopefully sustainable restaurant.

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vibes were good at church and state. Many a wine dinner there

bill missed out on the brilliant NA pairings there!

Speaking of Church & State, I do incredibly miss that restaurant but I miss Spring even more.

Tony Esnault is special. His plate of vegetables I think to this day is still the single most exciting dish I’ve ever had in my life.

Here’s a recipe for one of the many iterations of the dish…

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You might be interested in visiting KNIFE PLEAT.

I’ve been and his cooking remains excellent and, in my opinion, very worthy of the star.

That said, the South Coast Plaza ambiance lacks charm. The much more formal experience personally doesn’t appeal to me as much.

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knife pleat was pretty bleh the last few times we went.

I may try Knife Pleat when in the area just to catch up with Yassmin Sarmadi, who I knew a long time ago when she was with Joe Miller (RIP) and also suffering from Walter Manzke’s inability at Church and State to get food out of the kitchen… She is lovely.