An array of food-world heavy hitters from the West Coast and beyond is behind the new Faith & Flower, which opened last week in downtown L.A.
Chef Michael Hung earned a Michelin star as chef de cuisine at San Francisco's La Folie (and was even credited as a consulting chef in Pixar's Ratatouille). Head bartender Michael Lay helped create drinks programs at the hot new Rose. Rabbit. Lie. in Las Vegas and the celebrated Restaurant 1833 in Monterey. Executive pastry chef Ben Spungin came from Carmel's luxe Bernardus Lodge. The owners run both the Pebble Beach and Los Angeles Food & Wine festivals. And the designer is AvroKO, which has built cool spots around the globe and even earned a pair of James Beard Awards for restaurant design and graphics.
The setting is opulent, including a chandelier made from 4,000 feet of gold chain, a huge wall mural by acclaimed street artist Robert Vargas and a partition constructed of vintage 1920s doors. For a more casual evening, there's also a hedge-lined outdoor patio.
But what about the food? The place has an eclectic menu of flavors, from Korean chile-spiked deviled eggs to hand-rolled garganelli pasta with butternut and goat cheese to a mesquite-grilled, bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with country-ham gravy. No one style of cuisine or flavor really dominates - there's plenty of seafood, lots of different meats and a handful of vegetarian dishes - though the menu leans toward a hearty, gastropub style.
As for drinks, the list is split between old-school classics from the early 1900s - think the Negroni and the 1908-vintage Montana Club, a mix of armagnac, sweet vermouth, Fernet-Branca and absinthe - and modern concoctions. like the Bradberry, which contains rye whiskey, ginger, lemon and a topping of tart strawberry lambic.
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That's appropriate to the spot's name, which comes from its location: It's at the corner of Ninth and Flower streets - Flower apparently was called Faith Street back in the 1920s.
You'll find Faith and Flower at 705 W. Ninth St. It's open for dinner Sunday to Thursday, 5:30 to 11 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 5:30 to midnight. Starting April 14, it'll be open for weekday lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.. Weekend brunch service begins April 19 and will be available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Jason Horn has been obsessed with food since he learned the secret ingredient in his dad's chicken soup (he'll never tell) and obsessed with writing since he followed a high-school crush to a literary magazine meeting (it didn't work out). Follow him online at The Messy Epicure and on Twitter at @MessyEpicure. Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.