Asterid, the new restaurant at Disney Hall from chef Ray Garcia, comes with a different set of expectations from his previous Broken Spanish. While diners might be on their way to musical performances or plays at the Music Center, there are plenty of other reasons to hang out at the Grand Avenue corner spot. “The goal is to welcome diners from all around the city, not just those attending a concert or show,” says Garcia.
One is the sleek wraparound bar, with inventive cocktails from Chris Chernock. Then there’s the spacious heated patio along Grand Avenue, the private dining room, and the menu that incorporates flavors from across the globe, like short rib with bacon, cactus and chipotle, which could have appeared on a Broken Spanish menu.
The former Patina space gets a minimalist black-walled makeover, the better to show off the artfully plated dishes — like a deep-ruby beet risotto with crème fraiche, a New England-style octopus roll, and cashew muhammara with pomegranate and feta. One of the show-stopper first courses is the chicken liver mousse topped with bright mandarin oranges, perfect for sharing with a glass of wine at the bar before a concert.
Vegetable sides are far from afterthoughts — each one has its own assertive character, from the turmeric aioli served with crispy fried maitake mushrooms to one of Garcia’s favorites, cauliflower with vadouvan, pickled chile morita, and hazelnut.
Nearly every dish incorporates an unexpected pop of fruit or spice, and Garcia loves working with produce suppliers such as Girl and Dug Farm, which provides “rare and exceptional fruits and vegetables” like oca, kindernut squash, and pichuberries, he explains.
Garcia also recommends the caviar plate — served on an 898 squash tamal, it’s “decadent yet innovative and playful,” he says.
“Even though Asterid is a very different restaurant than Broken Spanish, there is a shared culinary DNA between the two. This can be seen in the bold yet balanced way that both celebrate ingredients,” says Garcia.
141 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles