Each Friday, the Digest surveys the burgeoning L.A. restaurant scene and compile this (highly unscientific) list of the most hyped and heralded restaurants in town this instant. Whether old or new, big or small, near or far, these are the restaurants that have people talking. Whatever that means. Anyway, we recommend getting a seat at these places while you still can.
1. Saint Martha
Koreatown continues to grow as a hip dining destination with this subtle strip-mall encosed wine bar—opening tonight—serving a very ambitious menu created by chef Nick Erven. Look for small plates like spot prawn tartare, sea urchin tataki with avocado and seaweed Doritos, and pecan-smoked brisket with hoisin.
The main restaurant of Brooke Williamson and Nick Robert's long awaited multi-concept Playa Del Rey food complex is now open, and things look good so far. Dine on clams casino, lobster rolls, and fried sand bands literally within footsteps of the beach.
3. Fifty Seven
New resident chef Josh Drew's summer menu has debuted and early reports are quite positive. You can ball out and order the 100 day-aged ribeye for two, or try abalone crudo with pink lemon and pineapple sage. David Kaplan and Proprietors LLC are behind the new cocktail program as well.
Restaurateur Bruce Marder and his son Max are behind this Parisian-inspired bistro on Beverly near The Grove, along with some help from Escuela’s Steven Arroyo. The focus is on wines by the glass and bistro faves like steak frites, cassoulet, mussels, and une cheeseburger.
Chocolate-flavored fried chicken has arrived, and it tastes way less weird than it sounds. Press for Adam Fleischman and his team's new restaurant has been very good so far—everyone loves a juicy hunk of bird, after all. Sides dishes like white chocolate mashed potatoes, bacon-butter biscuits and duck fat fries with chocolate ketchup help sweeten (and fatten) the deal.
Perfecto Rocher, former chef at Lazy Ox Canteen, partnered with Adam Fleischman to produce this brooding Spanish restaurant located in the old Angeli Caffe space. He’s gained numerous thumbs-up so far for his elegant take on rustic Spanish cuisine.
7. Ladies’ Gunboat Society
The early word on Hart & the Hunter chef Brian Dunsmoor's new spot on Sawtelle has been very good, as the eager crowds can attest. Dunsmoor and his crew are serving a Southern-infected menu filled with smoked salmon johnny cakes and honey-drizzled chicken-fried rabbit, but since their project is technically a residency, who knows for how long.
8. Superba Food & Bread
Fresh off three stars for L.A. Weekly, this breezy, casual restaurant in Venice is serving everything from breakfast to dinner along with fresh-baked breads, pastries and desserts. Lunch is always popping, but check out the rotating nightly suppers too.
9. Mastro's Ocean Club Malibu
This ritzy Newport Beach steakhouse has expanded into the old Chart House space in Malibu, where it seems to be a logical fit. All the luxriously expensive classics you'd expect are available, from Dungeness crab cocktails to double-cut Porterhouse steaks. You can't be those views of the Pacific either.
10. Beelman’s Pub
ACME Hospitality Group has been on a roll lately, and their newest bar—located on Spring St. in Downtown’s Historic Core—looks to keep the ball rolling. Executive chef Tom Block will be serving house-made charcuterie and European small plates in a gorgeous Old World-inspired space. You can read about the ambitious drink program here, too.