At The Royce, Langham Huntington's New Restaurant: "Molecular Is Over"

Royce chef David Féau

The RoyceRoyce chef David Féau

Wander down the hallway of the Langham Huntington, Pasadena, past the thick brocades and the crystal chandeliers and suddenly, you're confronted with the glowing black and glass door frame that is the new entrance to the new restaurant, The Royce.

The former Dining Room at the former Pasadena Ritz-Carlton is now the home to The Royce, a light, bright, less formal restaurant that aims for the space between dazzling cooking technique and unfussy California cuisine. It opens tonight, November 12th.

Be prepared for a stunning set of glass-walled wine rooms, airy decor and a menu long on fresh, French flavor. And a new chef: David Féau.

There is a bit of legacy to live up to, and down to. The latest menu mutation under chef Michael Voltaggio emphasized the kind of science-experiment cooking known as molecular gastronomy. Meals featured dessicated cheese powder, gelatinous cubes of concentrated sauerkraut, lamb's tongue (unfortunately not rendered unrecognizable) and an array of flavors and textures that not even NASA would send into space.

New chef David Féau, earned pedigrees from Guy Savoy and was in charge of the stoves at New York's famed Lutece and its Las Vegas outpost. He was most recently the corporate executive chef of the Patina Restaurant Group's West Coast culinary operations.

Féau recently summed up his approach: "It's straight-forward flavor. There is no molecular. Molecular is over!"

Instead, the menu is divided into simple categories: cold and warm; hot and raw; fish and shellfish; meat and poultry; and two, $85, five-course tasting menus, including a vegetarian "California Garden" selection.

Though the plates won't be covered in spinach foam, they will include a number of adventurous ingredients and pairings. A 62-degree quail egg, chervil relish, cinnamon-grilled matsutake mushrooms and chestnut milk make appearances on the menu. Prices range from $16 for a warm foie gras appetizer with huckleberry, to $39 for an entree of New York steak with spiny lobster tail and marrow bone. And perhaps best of all, the menu features this blog's all-time favorite: squid ink spaghetti.

the dining room at the Royce

Diana Michelsonthe dining room at the Royce

the Royce

Diana Michelsonthe Royce

the wine room at the Royce

Diana Michelsonthe wine room at the Royce

a garden view of the Royce

Diana Michelsona garden view of the Royce