Barton G. the Restaurant arrives in Los Angeles from Miami with a West Hollywood location, which opens tonight for dinner service. The menu features what the company calls "theatrical fine dining." So while the prices and atmosphere of the small, modern dining room and outdoor patio are in keeping with what you might expect of a fine-dining restaurant, the delivery methods and presentation style are more reminiscent of a theme park. Chef Scott Linquist and executive pastry chef Luis Vasquez will helm the kitchen in the first few months; the search for the L.A. chef who will take over is ongoing.
Lobster pop tarts arrive at the table in a toaster. Popcorn shrimp is bagged from a popcorn machine. Giant chocolate eggs are presented on a phyllo nest. Cotton candy is shaped on mannequin heads to depict Marie Antoinette's hairstyle. Several cocktails on the menu are served overflowing with cooling liquid nitrogen, delivered with safety warnings so guests allow the dangerous vapors to dissipate before drinking.
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Given the restaurant's Willy Wonka approach to dinner, it's no surprise that founder Barton G. Weiss has a background in event planning; the Barton G. company still produces events and consults on menu planning. In 2002 Weiss became a restaurateur and opened Barton G. the Restaurant in South Beach. After many delays in construction, the L.A. location is now the first expansion.
Weiss also has a new cookbook out, celebrating the success of Barton G. in Miami. The Big Dish: Recipes to Dazzle and Amaze From America's Most Spectacular Restaurant was just released by Rizzoli. One of the pages in the cookbook reads, "You can never have too much fun with food." With the launch of Barton G. the Restaurant in L.A., Weiss will find out how much Angelenos like to play with their food.