A lot of us turned to outdoor events during the pandemic, and truth be told, we came to like them better for a number of reasons beyond the safety factor. Indoor events are back as part of L.A.’s re-opening, but some things are just more fun al fresco. “Torched” from Gastro Garage at the W Hotel Hollywood is a good example.

We attended the event just as things opened up, when it was held on the hotel’s top level in the nightclub known as Drai’s, a hot spot with the glitzy bottle service crowd. It was poolside on the roof before that, a feature that felt more complementary with the combustible energy of the show.

We’re glad to report that “Torched” is moving back outside, to the hotel’s lounge patio called The Station for Summer. The lobby-adjacent area at the W has always been a best kept secret in terms of Hollywood cocktailing destinations. Its live jazz nights and DJ bookings were always on point, and the decor, featuring whimsical furnishings and a dramatic staircase, adds to the ambiance.

That’s hot. (Muse Media)

The event’s move here facing the Pantages Theater (across the street),  is sure to add to the locale’s sizzle. “We have been on the move for 8 years doing pop-ups and events all over the world, wearing masks long before the pandemic,” says co-creator Adam Manacker. “With 20 sold out dates and serving nearly 2,000 people, Torched at the W has been Gastro Garage’s longest standing residency.”

The show offers a deconstructed dinner prepared by blowtorch, incorporating brioche donuts (don’t be on a diet for this one). Nitrous foams, meats, cheeses, oils, and more are cooked via molecular gastronomy to create different textures and flavors. It’s an 8-course high energy experience with “Gastro Tanks,” “Drill Bits” and “Gastro Mechanics,” turning up the heat in more ways than one for a night that feels raucous, automative, and sort of post-apocalyptic in its mechanical theme.  It’s definitely not like any other seated dinner you might have in L.A.

The Station (Courtesy W Hotel)

With a number of “mechanics” on board, the Garage also caters and does off site events in different cities. The new location (which is enclosed by windows so onlookers can get a gander too) will be like a Hollywood HQ, allowing G.G. an “action station” in the lobby on weekends with guests able to order one tank at a time if dinner seating is sold out.

“We were fortunate to have the W as our home during the pandemic providing people a unique and safe, outdoor dining experience while indoor dining was closed,” add Manacker. “The challenge of coming out of the pandemic has been managing the exceptions of what the future holds for each venue. We like to call ourselves a band of traveling food pirates, and are always inviting venues and event planners to reach out to discuss bringing our fiery dinner experience to their location.”

Gastro Garage’s “Torched” at the W Hotel (the Station), 6250 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood; Fri. & Sat., 7 and 8:30 p.m.; starting July 9. More info at thegastrogarage.com/

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