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.
Sotto chef Zach Pollack is putting his own spin on Northern Italian cuisine at his long-awaited Silver Lake restaurant. If thick-cut mortadella sandwiches, mackerel conserva and biodynamic Nebbiolo are your jam, then this is your kind of place.
2. Saint Martha
Koreatown’s new wave of exciting restaurants continues with this subtle strip mall-enclosed wine bar on Western. On the ambitious menu from 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.
3. Hyde Sunset Kitchen +Cocktails
Top Chef alum Chris Crary is behind the stoves at this new SBE restaurant and club in the old XIV space, opening Sunday. The menu of shareable plates like shrimp toast and sweetbread caponata looks enticing, but will the space lean more nightclub or restaurant is the real question.
Downtown has netted a modern Korean restaurant in Gaji, which launched dinner service this week after serving lunch for part of the past month. The sleek, uber-modern space is headed by chef Minh Phan, who is putting out dishes like furikake-molasses corn bread and duck fat-sizzling bibimbap.
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 within footsteps of the beach. Pop in for a whiskey cocktail at the semi-hidden Grain bar.
6. Sushi Akatora
Restaurateur Michael Cardenas (Lazy Ox Canteen, Taberna Arros y Vi, Toranoko) is getting into the South Bay game with this new sushi and izakaya restaurant in Manhattan Beach. You’ll find classic Japanese sashimi and sushi preprations as well as beer-friendly dishes like Kobe beef corn dogs.
7. Kush Sake Bar
Who would have guessed that not one, but two, marijuana-named restaurants would open in 2014 (the other being POT). This Echo Park Japanese restaurant, opened by the owner of Silverlake Ramen, specializes in kushiyaki, or grilled meat skewers, and various izakaya plates. The operation might not be entirely settled yet, but charcoal-grilled skewers seem like a promising offering for the neighborhood.
8. Barton G
This wacky, extravagant West Hollywood restaurant from Miami restaurateur Barton G. Weiss is serving “whimsical” dishes like lobster pop-tarts and “bucket o’ bones” BBQ ribs, as well as nitro-cooled cocktails that provide a dose of tableside flair.
9. Belcampo Meat Co.
With the Grand Central Market now open for dinner, Belcampo is launching a new prix-fixe menu featuring dishes from chef Robbie Arnold-Starr, like Mexican corn with charcoal salt and lamb bacon with pickled collard greens. The four-course dinner, featuring the butcher shop’s own cuts, goes for $50 per person.
10. The Gorbals
Former Ray’s and Star Bar chef Kris Morningstar has taken on the weekend brunch menu at Ilan Hall’s Downtown restaurant, The Gorbals, serving dishes like huevos resaca and spaetzle with eggs. Could a Morningstar takeover possibly be in the works while Hall opens another location of The Gorbals in Brooklyn?