Named after the chemical symbol for liquid nitrogen, LN2 in West Hollywood is home to diverse culinary dishes from fire to ice created by chef Chris Robbins and wife Mica Ray in a space that blends three restaurants into one.
A state-of-the-art wood-fired oven is situated at the end of an elegant bar which sits across from the nitrogen ice cream storefront. While signature pizzas like caramelized fig with blue cheese and duck confit with butternut squash and plum hoisin sizzle, Robbins whips up a batch of Madagascar vanilla bean ice cream in under five minutes. Ray is busy pounding out a frozen blueberry smash cocktail at the bar which changes colors of the rainbow.
“I had a bit of a wild adolescence and the kitchen grounded me,” Robbins, the son of a firefighter and nurse tells L.A. Weekly.
“My mother had an issue with eating disorders, I think that’s why I developed this need to feed people. She was the oldest of several kids and there was a lot of pressure on her to help raise them. Her parents were very strict, and everybody was expected to be perfect. She was a loving mother and a wonderful nurse. She was only 42 when I lost her, which is my age now. She was severely malnourished and thin and finally just gave up emotionally.”
That experience helped give Robbins — who started out at 17 as a dishwasher and worked his way up the old school French kitchen style ranks to sous chef at Patina and beyond to executive chef — the drive to see the satisfaction in people eating food . “Seeing that enjoyment makes me happy,” he says of his mercurial concept.
In between the fire and ice, that enjoyment can be found in LN2’s Buffalo duck wings with sriracha-tangerine glaze and 36-hour pork belly with kimchee puree, fried rice, cucumber, orange and minted peas topped with a hen egg. The Hamachi is a delicious sculpture of aji Amarillo, kizami, wasabi, lime, apple, avocado and shoyu pearls.
For a complete departure, the backyard patio is an airy light space perfect for brunch in the heart of WeHo, with items like a keto frittata with avocado, tomato, grilled shrimp, sweet peppers, kohlrabi, swiss cheese and pea tendrils.