Esquire restaurant editor Josh Ozersky—who took over for long-time critic John Mariani earlier this year—isn’t known for being a big L.A. booster. That’s why the naming of two Los Angeles restaurants, Faith & Flower and Chi Spacca, to this year’s list of Esquire’s Best New Restaurants in America came as a pleasant surprise.
Chi Spacca (which has been open for over a year and a half) might be a stretch to call a new restaurant, but the meat-loving Ozersky was wowed by Chad Colby’s beef-and-marrow pie, “outrageous” salumi, and, of course, the massive dry-aged porterhouse. We’re not entirely sure what to make of Ozersky’s assertion that Chi Spacca is “the country’s most high-minded new temple of meat,” but we’ll take it as an earnest compliment.
He also lays down interesting praise for Faith & Flower, admitting the downtown dining star “doesn’t have to be nearly as good as it is.” He goes on to praise chef Michael Hung’s “deep flavors and impeccable technique” in dishes like steak with oyster jus and oxtail agnolotti dressed with marrow butter and tangerine salsa.
The feather in the cap for Faith & Flower is another award from Esquire, this time for Cocktail of the Year, which went to Michael Lay’s labor-intensive English Milk Punch, which combines rum, cognac, and absthine with a traditional milk fat wash technique to create a velvety and flavorful cocktail that’s one of the most popular in town. We’ll gladly raise a glass to that.