The matriarch of California cuisine, Alice Waters, has finally touched down in Los Angeles, exactly 50 years after she opened Berkeley’s wildly influential Chez Panisse. With former Chez Panisse chef David Tanis in charge of the kitchen, Waters has partnered with Hammer Museum director Ann Philbin to launch Lulu.
Located in the museum’s courtyard, the restaurant was conceived to bring together artists, farmers, students and diners for “visual, edible art.”
“An opportunity came along,” says Tanis, when the museum was looking for someone to operate the restaurant. Tanis relocated from New York to Westwood to open Lulu, and he’s been spending time getting to know the local purveyors.
“We’re getting to know a lot of the people at the farmers markets — there’s a few that we really like quite a lot. We’re really into the radishes from Weiser Family Farms. They end up in the salads more times than not,” says Tanis.
Waters and Tanis are known for their market cooking; their menu will focus on produce from regenerative farms, with selections changing daily. At lunch, a three-course prix fixe menu is available along with à la carte items; dinner is on the way early next year. Local seafood is used in dishes like California halibut carpaccio with Meyer lemon and Mediterranean fish and shellfish stew with Dungeness crab, while fruits and vegetables shine in olive oil walnut cake with pomegranate and eggplant banh mi.
Tanis names the Tunisian lamb meatballs with saffron couscous and the grilled duck breast salad with chicories, walnuts and persimmons as some of his favorite recent dishes. “It’s super seasonal, it depends on what there is at the farm,” he says.
The wine list focuses on biodynamic offerings, including the first certified regenerative California rosé from Tablas Creek, and the cocktail menu features spirits from family-owned producers. Christina Kim and Sean Daly designed the indoor-outdoor space, with tables made from nearby fallen trees, native plant landscaping and a Jorge Pardo mosaic wall. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
Musso & Frank Debuts Private Dining
Even before the pandemic, historic Hollywood eatery Musso & Frank was looking for ways to offer a private dining experience to its faithful clients. Now, four private spaces have been carved out of neighboring former retail spaces, accommodating six to 50 guests at a time. Murals of Italian scenes decorate the rooms, which can also be accessed from a discreet back entrance. Don’t miss the foyer area, which features displays of memorabilia, including original menus and artifacts. 6667 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood