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184 | squaremeal.co.uk

The LA dining scene isn't just a stage for the

beautiful people; there's some seriously good

eating to be had WORDS NATASHA HUGHES

Top: Providence restaurant in Los Angeles. Above: a

fresh sea scallop from the award-winning eaterie

A

great meal in a restaurant is

like a well-executed piece of

theatre or a tightly scripted

movie. Good food is a given

of course, but it needs to be

accompanied by perfectly

stage-managed service run by impeccably

cast waiters who look the part. And then

there's the set design (sorry,

décor): the ideal restaurant

should have a visual vibe that's

the equivalent of the food it

serves. And someone needs to

think about the soundtrack, too.

Little surprise then that Los Angeles gives

great restaurant. After all, the city is home

to a vast cast of wannabe actors, directors

and designers, as well as those who've

actually made it big in Hollywood. Perhaps

surprisingly though, LA's restaurant scene is

no triumph of style over substance.

Take Animal (animalrestaurant.com) for

instance. One of LA's hottest restaurants of

the moment has a punk aesthetic: casually

dressed waiters have tats and piercings,

the music is loud, but not so loud you can't

have a decent conversation, and the décor is

fashionably spartan. Meat is Animal's raison

d'être, and its head-to-tail approach takes

culinary inspiration from the Far East, Mexico

and Europe. Hallmark dishes include strips

of crisply fried pig's ear spiked with chilli and

lime and topped with a fried egg.

Animal's Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo are

also partners in Trois Mec (troismec.com),

along with celeb chef Ludo Lefebvre.

Reservations for Trois Mec are harder to

come by than hen's teeth - they're released

in fortnightly tranches, and diners pay for

their meals in advance via a ticketing system.

Prices vary depending on the menu and at

time of writing it was $75 (approximately £50)

for a spot in the tiny, stripped-down space

and the chance of rubbing shoulders (literally)

with Hollywood aristocracy.

Other relative newcomers include Curtis

Stone's Maude (mauderestaurant.

com), where the menu changes

monthly to focus on a key

seasonal ingredient, and Pot

(eatatpot.com), a Korean

restaurant specialising in intensely

– avoured hotpot dishes. Admirers of robust

– avours will — nd much to like about Osteria

Mozza (osteriamozza.com). As the name

suggests, the focus is Italy. The menu is

strong on mozzarella- and burrata-based

dishes, as well as the obligatory pastas: calf's

brain ravioli is both delicate and rich, while

the squid ink chitarra in crab and sea urchin

grazing

LA's restaurant scene is no triumph

of style over substance

PHOTOS: NIGHT+MARKET DISH COURTESY OF LAURE JOLIOT

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