The past year has been cataclysmic for the restaurant industry, with the pandemic wreaking havoc on owners, servers, bussers, as well as disrupting supply chains, hitting farmers, and more. Building and maintaining a successful restaurant is hard enough during good times, but during a pandemic, it’s nearly impossible.
The good news is that necessity is the mother of invention, and Covid-19 has driven restaurateurs to find new ways of doing business they never thought possible. No more so is this true than at the high end of dining in Los Angeles. Fancy and expensive LA restaurants have been forced to recreate entire business models on the fly, and as a result, turned a disaster into opportunity. The outcome is a new type of takeout and delivery from the city’s best and most creative chefs.
Here are some of the most interesting (and tasty) takeout and delivery options on the higher end of the LA dining scene.
Photo by Anne Fishbein
LA’s most fascinating restaurant, Vespertine is a two-Michelin-star experience from the artistic mind of chef Jordan Kahn. During the pandemic, Kahn has pivoted to delivering themed menus from different regions of the world. His latest for the month of March is a Oaxacan dreamscape with treats like the botana de flor de calabaza y quesillo, which is homemade blue corn tostadas with squash blossoms and hand-pulled Oaxaca string cheese; or the barbacoa de res from ojitlán, which is a smoked prime-rib with chillis and garlic.
Another two-Michelin-star favourite is the kaiseki treasure n/naka run by badass chef Niki Nakayama. To recreate some of her kitchen magic, Nakayama and team started an ekiben tribute (bento box experience) that is inspired by the food found in Japanese train stations. The meticulous boxes include goodies like ebi chilli shrimp sauté, roasted calamari, braised beef sukiyaki, and more.
Diners might be familiar with chef Phillip Frankland Lee’s avant-garde cooking. But what they may not realise is that there’s another genius inside Scratch, and that’s Margarita Kallas-Lee. For those looking for some of the best baked goods in LA, Kallas-Lee offers take-home snacks from her perfect sourdough bread and tres leches cake to her sushi bar bonbons with makrut lime ice cream and sesame shortbread with a matcha shell.
One of the hardest reservations in LA has made it a little easier to get their classic dishes at home. Wolfgang Puck’s most famous restaurant, the Beverly Hills staple Spago, now offers their best-known dishes for takeout and delivery. If you never had the chance to try his applewood smoked salmon pizza or Austrian veal wienerschnitzel, it’s available right now.
This one-Michelin-starred omakase sushi spot serves unbeatable nigiri from a small and simple wooden bar in downtown LA. Without an outdoor option, Q has turned to takeout, offering premium sushi boxes instead. Inside, salivating diners will discover gems like Japanese black throat sea perch, golden eye snapper, super fatty blue fin tuna, and much more.
French LA favourite République is now taking care of all your brunch needs from the comfort of home. Their specially curated brunch for two includes a freshly baked baguette, chia seed pudding, brioche French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, kimchi fried rice, banana poppyseed muffins, and freshly squeezed orange juice. Sadly, you are on your own for bottomless mimosas.
Chef Brandon Hayato Go earned a Michelin star for his unique take on washoku Japanese cooking which includes dishes that are both raw and cooked. Because of the pandemic, Hayato had to turn to takeout and now offer meticulously designed bento lunch boxes on weekend days. The boxes sell out quickly, but lucky diners will find tasty treats like wild Mexican white shrimp shinjo, black cod saikyo yaki, grilled Hokaido scallop shioyaki, and more.
Celebrated chef Josiah Citrin has taken his talents to takeout. With a weekly-changing menu, Citrin and team offer everything from Japanese A-5 wagyu bento boxes filled with succulent sirloin and braised beef cannelloni to French classic menus laced with tuna tartare and a bouillabaisse with black mussels and clams.
Another Michelin-star chef has turned to delivery to stay alive during the pandemic. Chef David Schlosser is known for bringing kappo-style cuisine to the mainstream and is now giving fans of his intricate dishes another opportunity to eat. The delivery/takeout options include Okinawan bento sets with simmered pork belly; duck teriyaki bento sets with shiitake tsukudani and fermented cabbage; or wagyu menchi katsu sets with Hokkaido short ribs.
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