No. 56: Ray’s and Stark Bar

Mid Wilshire
Photograph courtesy RaysandStarkBar /

A low-slung room with a broad patio, the Renzo Piano-designed space is a light-filled showcase for Kris Morningstar’s big-flavored technique. The 35-year-old has worked in many L.A. kitchens—his stint at Mercantile was memorable—and the location at LACMA draws on his intelligence. At brunch he browns a Monte Cristo to a golden crisp so that the Gruyère wraps around the currant mostarda. He’ll serve up a bowl of birría for a celebration, but his strength lies in tiny calibrations in which a smidgen of rutabaga beneath beef cheeks picks up the richness of a braising jus. As general manager Martin Riese assembles a water list, two young parents, watching their kids running among the colonnades of Chris Burden’s Urban Light, clink bubbly Apollinaris.  

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