Here’s a piece I wrote on the popular underground dining scene in LA. I researched a lot and talked to a lot of great people and I’m really proud of it so please just read it already OK bye.
Selective dining experiences are nothing new to Los Angeles. Since men with money have inhabited Southern California (a long, long time), supper clubs, password bars and country club luncheons have dotted the landscape. Some, like Koreatown’s R Bar, aren’t strict about the rules for entry, or paradoxically use the concept of exclusion to draw in customers. Others, like The Varnish downtown, simply don’t tell you anything one way or the other. There’s only an unmarked door along the back wall of one of the city’s old sandwich vanguards, Cole’s. Places like these rely on the passive expansion of in-the-know details to bring customers through the unassuming doorway.
Then there is the L.A. pop-up restaurant, the wildly popular cooking experience that gives potential diners few details and long waitlists, with the promise of expertly plated courses prepared by some of the hottest chefs in the city. Ludo Lefebvre, that tattooed Frenchman with a knack for foie gras, has made an incredible living, and a less-incredible television show, out of popping up for short stints in various kitchens across town. Elsewhere, downtown dinner parties like Craig Thornton’s Wolvesmouth aren’t so much about managing the secret eating experience as managing the waitlist, a cumbersome document that is packed with the names of patient diners who may not snag a seat until sometime later this decade.
Read more about L.A.’s underground dining scene here.
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