There’s still plenty of restaurant activity on the west side of Los Angeles, but some of the season’s hottest spots are downtown, in Silver Lake, and in lesser-known Lincoln Heights, where Momofuku offshoot Majordomo has opened just east of Chinatown.
Majordomo Brings Fusion to L.A.’s Chinatown
Venture to the far edge of Chinatown to find Majordomo, L.A.’s first restaurant from Momofuku owner David Chang, just opened in a stunningly transformed industrial space. Dishes skew modern Korean, inspired by California produce and luxury ingredients. Appetizers include bing, a type of flatbread with toppings like spicy lamb or white sturgeon caviar, and diver scallops with Pink Lady apple dashi. Order dishes for the table like crispy pork belly with green papaya, boneless chuck short rib with raclette cheese and spicy cod in paper. 1725 Naud St., Los Angeles
Maude’s Focus Turns to Wine
Curtis Stone’s Maude debuted with a distinctive concept: a focus on one ingredient per month explored in a tasting mneu that examined creative permutations of everything from corn to almonds. For its fourth year in Beverly Hills, the intimate spot is relaunching with a sensuous, deep blue-accented design and tasting menus dedicated to celebrating the great wine regions of the world. First up is Spain’s Rioja region, where Stone and executive chef Justin Hilbert traveled for inspiration, gaining insight into lusty wines and rustic products that include wild mushrooms and pig’s ear. Three levels of wine pairing are available, but the modern menu is just as satisfying for non-wine drinkers.
Recent creations included wild mushrooms perfumed with juniper and pine, with smoke evoking a misty day foraging for fungus. The dish was inspired by renowned Spanish chef Francis Paniego. Menus will change four times a year, allowing the culinary team time to become immersed in each area’s food and drink. 212 S. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills
Night + Market Sahm Spices Up Venice
The new Venice location of the trendy Thai spot Night + Market carries on the tradition with items like a fried chicken sandwich, short rib curry noodles and crispy rice salad that’s like fireworks in the mouth. 2533 Lincoln Blvd., Venice
New York’s popular NoMad Hotel, a partnership between Will Guidara and Daniel Humm and the Sydell Group, has set up shop in downtown L.A.’s historic Bank of Italy building, with a stunning design that emphasizes elegant, old-world style and rich jewel tones. From the red crystal chandeliers in the lobby coffee bar to restrooms in the former bank vault, the vintage design pays homage to the building’s gilded history.
The mirrored coffee bar transforms to a cocktail bar in the evening, while daytime treats include a selection of stuffed croissants — think banana cream, cappuccino, carrot cake or Everything seasoning stuffed with chive cream cheese. A rooftop pool and bar will open later in the spring.
Mezzanine, the most formal of the hotel’s dining options, offers high-style dishes like scallops with hen of the woods mushrooms, amaranth and sorrel; or suckling pig confit with persimmons, wild spinach and bacon marmalade. Lunch offerings in the lobby restaurant include vegetable-forward plates like avocado soup with apple and almonds and carrot tartare with sunflower seeds, mustard and quail egg, as well as dry-aged burgers and Cobb salad. 649 S. Olive Street, Los Angeles
Freedman’s may occupy a shabby strip mall where Silver Lake meets Echo Park, but inside it’s all homey flowered wallpaper and retro wood touches, a fitting backdrop for a menu of elevated Jewish cooking like your bubbe might have made if she trained at Noma. Appetizers like smoked dates with schmaltz, whitefish cigars, a crispy potato latke waffle topped with cured trout or chopped duck liver make a creative start; mains include a monstrously flavorful Reuben sandwich, meaty mutton chop or chicken dinner for two. Don’t miss the half sour salad, which incorporates housemade pickles for a subtle and refreshing touch of green. Brunch and a full bar coming soon. 2619 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake
A host of ambitious developments is planned for downtown L.A.’s Arts District, and restaurants are getting ready to meet the demand. The latest entry is Inko Nito, from the global Zuma group. Dishes from the robata grill include baby back pork ribs with Japanese whiskey glaze, yellowtail collar with brown butter ponzu and corn on the cob with smoked chili butter. Kimchi rice, salmon tataki salad and charred coconut soft-serve ice cream round out the menu. 225-227 S. Garey St., Los Angeles
The former Stir Market space on Beverly Boulevard is now the Cal-Asian XO on Beverly from chef Michael Hung. The multipurpose space continues to offer dine-in, plus retail, plus grab-and-go options, with counter service at lunch and table service at brunch and dinner. On the menu are crispy duck buns, the XO cheeseburger with kochujang mayonnaise, adobo-rubbed porchetta and tofu schnitzel with green papaya slaw. The French Rotisol oven gets a workout with dishes like lemongrass rotisserie chicken. Choose from eight wines and six craft beers on tap, or try wine and soju cocktails like blackened pineapple punch or jamaica fresca. 7475 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles