All posts by Joey Schoenberg

Vespertine

Vespertine is a restaurant in Culver City, CA. It has only been open for about two years. Known as one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles, I expected nothing less than perfection. That is exactly what I got. Vespertine isn’t a normal restaurant, it’s an experience. From the moment you drive up, it will amaze you. The architect Eric Owen Moss created a beautiful work of art to house one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles. The building is four stories. After you drive up, the valet takes your car, and you are brought to the garden for some birch juice until your table is ready. When they are ready for you, a waiter will escort you directly up to the second floor where executive chef, Jordan Kahn, is waiting. He greets you and asks if there are any dietary restrictions that he should know about. If there are any restrictions, he will quickly take that into account and prepare something you can eat. After meeting Kahn someone will take you up to the roof to enjoy your first four courses. If you are cold, there is a blanket right next to you on the couch. The roof has a remarkable view of the Hollywood sign and all of Culver City. The first four courses are finger food (snacks), one after the other. Kahn takes dishes that could be considered simple and adds his own unique flair to the dish, for example the “chips and dip”. Using kelp as a different type of chip is their way of elevating the dish. At Vespertine you will find yourself eating more flowers than you could imagine. Kahn uses ingredients that are supposed to be sweet or savory then flips the flavors, and it tastes better than before. For example, sunchokes are normally supposed to be savory, but by caramelizing them it adds a new depth of flavor. This is not an easy task, but they do a really good job. When you are finished with your finger food someone will take you to floor one (the dining room), where you will finish most of your meal. I had wished the dishes were spaced out a little bit more, but the food was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Kahn uses ingredients that are rarely used in a restaurant. He combines them with a simple ingredient that when put together tastes so different from the food you usually eat. He plays with different flavors and textures. Vespertine isn’t all about the food. They incorporate their environment into everything they do. The entire structure is surrounded by glass so you can always see outside. Vespertine adds mystery into some of their dishes, making it so you don’t know what you are eating until you start eating. Sometimes you may need a flashlight to see inside the bowl. For the last part of the meal a waiter will take you to the lobby for a digestive snack and tea on what appears to be a table hung by wires in the air. This was the perfect ending to a perfect night. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!

First Course: (Chips and Dip) Giant Kelp and Chickpea 
Second Course: Burnt onion and Black Currant cookie

Third Course: Artichoke, Poppy Seeds and Chamomile (No picture) 

Fourth Course: Milk bread and Abalone Mushrooms
Fifth Course: Concord grapes, Horseradish and Tradescantia
Sixth Course: Trout Roe, Almond and Radish
Seventh Course: Puffed Quinoa, Amberjack, Salted Plum and Burnt Onion
Eighth Course: Sweetbreads, Rose and Begonia 
Ninth Course: Young Potatoes, Wheatgrass 
Tenth Course: Sunchokes, Lovage and Brown Butter
Eleventh Course: Roasted Beets, Black Bantam, Black Trumpet, Quince Vinegar and Snap Peas
 Twelfth Course: Kiwi, Spruce, Black Raspberries, Meadowsweet and Black Carrots 
Thirteenth Course: Almond, Cucumber and Redwood
Fourteenth Course: Caramelized Sunchokes and Candy Cap
Fifteenth Course: Organic Sweet Pears