MICHELIN Guide Inspectors spend all year on the road uncovering the best restaurants to recommend—and what they've found is too good to keep a secret. That's why, over the next few weeks, we're adding new restaurants to the MICHELIN Guide California leading up to the announcement of Bib Gourmands and Stars in late September. Bon appétit!
Jeong Yuk Jeom (Downtown)
Courtesy of brothers Andrew and Jaeyong Son; with a name that denotes the Korean word for "butcher," it's no wonder they proffer only the most premium beef. Items like dry-aged prime rib or meaty short rib—arrive on a tray to be grilled table-side. Minimal embellishments, like soy and salt, ensure maximum enjoyment.
Konbi is the brainchild of Chefs Nick Montgomery and Akira Akuto, who present a unique menu of Japanese sandwiches, product-focused small plates and Proustian pastries. Tuck into the pork katsu sandwich, a panko-crusted pork filet dabbed with tonkatsu sauce, mustard and set between slices of soft bread.
Chef Minh Phan is a firecracker, as she greets guests like old friends and pours wine for all who look thirsty. The staff share her enthusiasm as they dish up Asian-inspired items. Best of all is the abalone liver porridge accompanied by more of the mollusk roasted with Maggi aïoli.
Say hello to the coolest cat in Pasadena. All day, guests lounge in the parlor nibbling on cheese and charcuterie. Come night, the kitchen grill roars with life. Cornbread eclair with chicken liver mousse is an easy decision, but choosing between the cavatelli with braised lamb and lamb fat gremolata or the half chicken with smoked jus is no small thing.
Pasta | Bar (Encino)
Chef Nate Tauer and owner Phillip Frankland Lee are the main players of this hip and lively spot. Your tasting may kickoff with the mushroom duxelles cannolo, starring a brik pastry shell and agrodolce; tailed by potato and sunchoke custard with crème fraîche and caviar. The mastery of this team lies in their ability to take advantage of Cali's natural bounty, with thrilling results.
Birdie G's (Santa Monica)
Chef Jeremy Fox's homespun delight serves up square meals with satisfying swerves. Juicy grilled chicken takes a tropical turn with a mango-pineapple chimichurri; while jiggly Jell-O pie makes a comeback, infused here with strawberry, hibiscus, and garnished with candied rose petals. A thoughtful kids’ menu keeps tots happy, allowing the grown-ups to luxuriate in hand-picked wines that go with each special.
Citrin (Santa Monica)
Located in the same building as sister restaurant Mélisse, the offerings here afford plenty of choice including a modest prix-fixe alongside à la carte options. The cuisine displays Chef Josiah Citrin's signature combination of French technique with an abundance of California's seasonal produce, focusing on updated takes on classically continental flavors with modern, global touches.
Gabi James (Redondo Beach)
The team preares a litany of Spanish and coastal French plates, finished with California flair. Consider the likes of pan con tomate imbued with garlic salt or tortilla Española with paper-thin potatoes and sherry vinegar aïoli.
Kazan (Beverly Hills)
Noodle spots may be all the rage, but few prepare such a memorable handmade version of the delicious soba as Chef Ryu Isobe. His brick-lined structure, marked by a bright yellow sign, certainly seems at odds with the ritzy locale, but rest easy as the interior design is chic to the core—imagine brick walls lined with gold-tinted patterns, an inviting open kitchen, and stocked bar.
The food is contemporary American with a Californian accent, and dishes—not unlike diners themselves—are eclectic and stylish. Sharing is key to fully appreciate this menu, which offers the likes of toasted quinoa as a base for a petit half avocado filled with scallop ceviche with lime, pickled jalapeño, shaved radish, and lavender flowers. Glazed lobster with vanilla risotto renders such rich and sweet flavors that you won't miss dessert.
Hero image: Agnes. Photo by Yoshihiro Makino, courtesy of Agnes
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