Is Spago relevant? Our critic talks through three (very different) recent meals

From the article " Spago will always have its audience."
Absolutely…but it is not getting a penny out of my dining budget that’s for sure.

Bill Addison’s review of Spago carried the same theme of Soleil Ho’s review of Chez Panisse: an aging institution that’s losing relevance…

addison must have been so flummoxed during his first visit he misspelled dessert.

Pastry chef Della Gossett channels Puck’s Austrian heritage into kardinal schnitte , a cathedral of a desert built of rich sponge cake beams, meringue turrets and layers of custardy strawberry-white chocolate crème, all glorified by the ripest Harry’s Berries strawberries.

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The editing is abysmal at LA Times these days.

I’ve had dinner at Spago a few times over the years; I’m soon sad this is Patricia’s first impression.

I would expect that Dr. Soon-Shiong’s paper would handle that word better!


I actually really enjoyed spago and was expecting not to like it. I thought it had a very good qpr for tasting menu. It’s one of the few of the higher end restaurants in LA that is generally better then similar restaurants in NY (that are also more expensive)


It’s almost like 3 different restaurants. You have Chef Tetsu’s tasting menu. You have the regular menu then they have to be ready to do a lot lot of Pucks old stuff for vips that have been going forever

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Also, there is a separate menu of food that is only available at the Bar.

I go for the lebeerknödelsuppe.


Ho missed that Chez Panisse was one of the first, perhaps the first, restaurants to treat staff with full respect, and remains the benchmark. Does any other restaurant have a comparable profit-sharing plan, or a similar roster of alumni enabled by it?

The famous smoked salmon pizza isn’t listed on the menu but is always available on request. Puck’s long-ago reimagining of lox and bagels …

No, that was Ed LaDou’s idea.

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It’s great that Chez Panisse does all those things, but do any of those things affect the flavor on the plate? :thinking:


I’m going by Ho’s own stated policies. She judged Chez Panisse 100% on the food and is apparently unaware of its importance outside of sparking the American farm-to-table movement.

Judging strictly by the food, it’s what it always was. It was never original or creative except, in the early days, in how they found and developed sources for the superior ingredients people now take for granted.