In case 2016 wasn't crazy enough, I'm embarrassed to admit that I only made it to a single restaurant on my 2016 wishlist. I ate at new restaurants what seemed like multiple times a week, yet I still missed out on a few essential LA dining experiences (Otium, n/naka, Jon & Vinny's, Trois Familia, Maude, and Sushi Tsujita). Can you believe that? I'm a fraud! Luckily, I already have a rez at Otium for my upcoming birthday, and Kyle and I finally made it to Cassia for his. But considering the countless restaurant openings that occurred during the last 12 months (I guess not everything about this year was terrible), my list for 2017 has seriously expanded. Below are just a few of the many recent openings that I will try harder to visit this year.
1. Here's Looking At You, KTown
Labelling themselves as "progressive social food in KTown," Here's Looking At You has already garnered praise from critics like Garrett Snyder and Jonathan Gold, while simultaneously nabbing top spots on countless "Best New Restaurants of 2016" lists. So then you can hard it must be for me that I haven't been yet (I know, I lead such a hard life). Hopefully I'll be able to make a rez soon, as I'm already eyeing that Foie Gras Terrine and Heritage Pork Belly.
2. Kato, West LA
Lately, it seems that all the coolest spots in the city have been opening up in Highland Park, West Hollywood, Silverlake/Echo Park, and Downtown, so when I heard of a new West LA hotspot serving a tasting menu influenced by California, Taiwan, and Japan, it was quickly added to my "to-do" list. The high-end, 5 course meal is a very reasonable $50, making it a rarity amongst the city's typically pricey dinner options. Needless to say, I'm dying to go.
Not only is Baroo considered one of the best new restaurants in the city, many media outlets, like Bon Appétit Magazine, have put it in the top 5 new restaurants in the country. Damn. Known for their experimental techniques, Michelin-starred chef, and lots of fermentation, Baroo creates food that is as interesting as it is satisfying. Which is why I need to get off my butt and make it to LA's most exciting new restaurant.
4. Little Fatty, Mar Vista
Formerly part of the Status Kuo space (which was divided up and now also includes Accomplice Bar), Little Fatty is lending Mar Vista some serious foodie cred with its classic Taiwanese comfort food, like popcorn chicken and fried pork chops. Since reopening just a few short months ago in November, the low-key restaurant has enjoyed consistently positive reviews for its tasty fare and loyal local following.
5. Lost At Sea, Pasadena
From Tim Carey and Santos Uy (Owner and Wine Director of the lovely Papilles in Hollywood), Lost at Sea has been successfully bringing upscale seafood to Pasadena since opening over the summer. And even as recently as December, it was still included on Eater's monthly Heatmap. The neighborhood restaurant seems like a wonderfully understated place to have a laid-back yet upscale dinner date, and I'm hoping to make it there this year.