Lede of the year:
One of the best tasting menus in Los Angeles is served on a folding table, in a dark alley next to a dumpster.
that’s super cool…
though i personally prefer eating menus (to tasting)
I really liked this part
Though Phan said the tasting menu format suits her “110% more” than a la carte dining, the $158 cost prompts a certain level of guilt. “As a community supporter and organizer, I feel really torn,” she said. “The price point is prohibitive for some people and I miss seeing people every day and feeding them on that level.”
But the new format, serving fewer guests, fewer times a week at a higher price point, created a better work-life balance for Phan and her staff, and that, she said, was something that couldn’t be ignored.
I do not blame chefs for doing (and charging) what works for them. But it is reassuring to read that they understand the macro pros/cons.
Me, as well. Tasting menus have never really done much for me. Although, again, very educational for me to read about why chefs might strongly prefer it.
A single menu of the day served to all diners is less work for the chef and kitchen, less wasteful, and more profitable.
If instead of a Thomas Keller-style tasting menu of 15-30 canape-sized portions the restaurant serves larger portions of a smaller nuimber of dishes, that’s even less work for the chef and kitchen.
Saison made that change after Skenes moved on.
Ironically - anajak is going further away from the tasting menu. Only offering it on very select dates.
Indeed. Friday-Sunday, one seating at 7pm. Presumably fully booked half a second after new dates open up on Resy.
Had the chance to go on Thursday 7/21 for a la carte en route to Santa Barbara.
Wine List – Super stacked IMO. Lot of great bottles to choose from
Lab Tot- tastes like the Isaan Northern Thai sausage mix, but in a meatball and deep fried. I thought these were awesome
BBQ Pork Collar, in a strange way, tasted like a really good hot dog to me. Something about the smoke and the sweetness emulated a great hot dog. Obviously, the texture of the pork collar was significantly better. Great dish
Drunken Noodles w/ Chicken - pretty good. Not my favorite version, but tremendous wok hei and doesn’t feel overly greasy or over-seasoned.
Dry Aged Sea Bream w/ Nam Jim Seafood Sauce - the dry-aged flavor is lost on me; if anything it’s just a concentrated tasty fish. The nam jim sauce is addictive, and I can see why it’s used for their raw fish in their omakase/TTT. This did feel expensive @ $48, but a delicious dish.
Haw Mok, Steamed Fish curry custard this was my favorite dish of the night. Texturally, it’s an awesome Korean steamed egg. Flavor-wise, it’s a delicious red curry perfumed with coconut. I had a similar dish in June @ Ugly Baby in Brooklyn, and I think this is superior in almost every way.
A la carte wise, I think Anajak is a great local restaurant, however, living in Highland Park, it’s difficult to choose it over the many places in Thai Town, which is significantly closer to me and cheaper.
I’d definitely be interested in returning for their Omakase/Thai Taco Tuesday to see what boundary-pushing food they’re cranking out.
Even less than that as some weekends they don’t have the staffing to do it. It’s so different from their core menu that if even one of the sous chefs are gone it has a tough time being done.
It’s the curse of the size of their kitchen.
But it’s glorious when you can get it. A really boundary pushing type of meal. Not everything is a hit but when it does hit it’s. A flavor party in your mouth.
For me, it’s hard to beat the massaman brisket curry. It’s not spicy at all, but the textures and flavors just sing.
Why does the LA Times choose its restaurant of the year in July? Lots of months left in the year.
Who knows? Four of the previous five were announced in April or May.
La times food bowl
Also Emmy awards are in September. Oscars were March.
? The Food Bowl is in September.
Yeah but they do promotion leading up to it. Hence announcing it now
Has anyone ever successfully booked the omakase here? I had a resy in february that ended up getting canceled during a covid closure and I reached out to see if they could rebook me to no avail.
I can never find it.
the only time I ever see leads for the omakase is on IG stories when there is a magical last minute cancellation.