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. Barrel & Ashes
Two Thomas Keller veterans (chefs Tim Hollingsworth and Rory Herrmann) are behind this ambitious barbecue hangout from Bill Chait, which specializes in smoke-kissed brisket and exceptionally tender racks of ribs. Don’t overlook stellar sides like butter-glazed hoe cakes and pork belly baked beans. At the bar, try one of Julian Cox’s easy-drinking, food-friendly cocktails.
Chef Kris Tominaga’s stylish new restaurant in Santa Monica combines French and California-style cooking with a selection of tartines, wood-grilled meats, and updated takes on classic dishes like onion soup and beef tartare. Each table receives a spread of “table fare” with their entrees, recalling a European riff on traditional Korean banchan.
4th and Main’s long-time café Pete’s has gotten a stylish menu makeover by Downtown chef impresario Josef Centeno. Try modern riffs on 1950s era dishes like shrimp Newburg with uni and chicken-fried veal with creamed spinach. During lunchtime, try the meaty version of the classic club sandwich amped up with pork belly, fried chicken skin, and American cheese.
4. Gjusta Bakery
Gjusta, the brand new bakery and deli from the people behind Gjelina, is a bonafide game changer for Venice. Find made-from-scratch everything, including fresh breads, fruit pies, bialys, croissants, quiches, porridge, granola, smoked and cured meats and fish, sandwiches, salads, and soups. The only caveat? There’s currently not much in the way of seating.
5. Butchers & Barbers
After years of opening bars in Hollywood, The Houston Brother’s first foray into the restaurant world is off to a strong start thanks to chef Luke Reyes (The Corner Door). His menu of updated American fare includes house-made charcuterie and oysters set in a charmingly retro space. And of course, expect a list of killer cocktails.
6. Stir Market
This multi-faceted food hall and market, which counts Jet Tila as one of its chefs, offers a wide selection of dishes and take-away snacks for lunch, breakfast, and dinner. The big star is the kitchen’s rotisserie grill, which puts our juicy grilled chicken and porchetta. Stop by during earlier in the day to enjoy house-baked pastries and breads from the bakery.
Modernized Mexican is the focus at this Toluca Lake catina from Sweetsalt owner and Top Chef alum Alex Eusebio. Start with antojitos like smoked bacon guacamole and crispy lobster tacos before moving on to the decadent short mole with fresh tortillas.
Celebrities are already flocking to this WeHo outpost of the popular Vegas sushi restaurant, which serves contemporary Japanese fare like lobster carpaccio and Kobe beef tataki, along with flamboyant sushi rolls drizzled with sauce. A great place to see and be seen, as they say.
Echo Park gains another option for breakfast and lunch with a new take-away counter from the owners of Café Stella. The soft-opening menu features a few sandwiches and toasts, along with pastries and desserts.
10. Prime Pizza
The team behind Cofax Coffee, Golden State, and Bludso’s Bar & Que have expanded into the world of NY-style pizzas. Their quaint little tiled-lined take-out spot on Fairfax serves slices, whole pies, salads and already-famous garlic knots with marinara.