As above, so below. Mrs. Fish – a new downtown L.A. hangout from the same team that runs rooftop restaurant and bar Perch – is opening Saturday the newly remodeled basement of the same Pershing Square-adjacent building, with a vibe and food program that can potentially further change the way people eat, drink and party in the new downtown.
Instead of walking into the historic building's lobby as you would to catch the elevator to French-bistro-inspired Perch, entering the futuristic Mrs. Fish requires you to go through two nondescript doors further down the block and then down a tunnel-like concrete staircase, before entering a 6,800-square-foot, multi-tiered interior space anchored by a stage for live music.
Its bricolage interior blends classy nostalgia with hip, rock 'n' roll nightclub (think: a motorcycle in a glass-enclosed case, pre-distressed wrought-iron banisters, a 5,500-gallon suspended fish tank wrapped around the exposed concrete pillars), and its food and drink options show equal imagination.
Less restaurant and more bar/venue, the tables are tucked away in low-slung nooks, and the menu (from chef Greg Bernhardt, formerly of Church & State) needs no utensils to consume.
“We wanted to challenge the chefs to do something different,” said Director of Operations Joseph Ojeda, who once worked as a chef at places like Social Hollywood and The Mondrian.
A ceviche-style shrimp cocktail comes with a side of mashed and fried plantains on which to load the togarashi-infused creation; a caprese salad comes instead on a crostad topped with buffalo mozarella, heirloom tomatoes and a basil pesto; and the Pigs in Zen puts mouth-watering cubes of pork belly on skewers under a drizzle of sherry-maple-soy glaze and carrot slaw.
Also on the menu are more elevated offerings, like the $100 fishbowls in lieu of bottle service options and three types of cavier, one for every price point.
“I want caviar to be like hot wings here,” said Ojeda. “You get a piece of butter toast and you smear on the caviar—it's such an experience and it's a shame it's intimidating to people. We want them to feel comfortable enough here to order it as they would hot wings at a bar.”
House cocktails include tequila, pisco and cognac-based drinks, with the flagship being The Flaming Hetfield, made with house-infused draft bourbon and topped with a caramelized orange slice.
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Mrs. Fish opens to the public Saturday night with a focus on live entertainment.
Mrs. Fish, 448 South Hill Street, Basement Suite, Los Angeles