In which Jonathan Gold visits Gary Menes' temporary food installation, Le Comptoir, or “the counter,” a restaurant within a restaurant at the actual counter of downtown's Tiara Cafe. It's a brief incarnation of a restaurant that will continue, Menes said a few days ago, until February. Lucky us.

You are handed handwritten menus — a formality, because you will be served what the kitchen has prepared — and within a few seconds a glass of white Bordeaux is put down in front of you, then a plate of compressed melon, almost the texture of tuna sashimi, served like a ceviche with lime juice, a little olive oil and a spray of cilantro. The bread is sliced from big, blackened rustic loaves, a bit wet on the inside, which Menes has made using a starter he has nurtured for years. So far, so good.

Read the complete story in Gold's Counter Intelligence, “Gone Tomorrow,” and check out Anne Fishbein's photo gallery. Then maybe get in your car.

LA Weekly