April 22, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

MICHELIN Guide Unveils 10 New Culinary Stars in California, Anticipating 2024 Selections

9 Los Angeles Area and Beverly Hills Restaurants Featured as New Additions

The prestigious MICHELIN Guide has announced the addition of 10 restaurants to its California selection, with nine establishments gracing Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. These culinary gems are now featured as “New” on guide.michelin.com, providing food enthusiasts the chance to explore new dining experiences ahead of the annual Bib Gourmands and Stars announcement.

Revealing these additions throughout the year, the MICHELIN Guide aims to continuously showcase exceptional restaurants, with the newly added establishments immediately recognized as “Recommended.” There’s anticipation that some of these may go on to earn coveted Bib Gourmand or Star awards at California’s MICHELIN Guide Ceremony in 2024.

Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the MICHELIN Guides, emphasized the significance of these regular updates and revelations, stating, “By revealing some of the new additions made by our inspectors throughout the year, we enhance our digital tools to further strengthen the ties that bind us to food lovers. We hope that these regular revelations and updates to the selection throughout the year will provide opportunities to highlight the profession and invite everyone to discover and support the restaurants around them.”

In the 2023 selection, the MICHELIN Guide California welcomed ten new Bib Gourmands, four new Green Stars, and six new One Stars. While the complete 2024 selection is yet to be unveiled, Michelin has nine tantalizing spots to keep food enthusiasts intrigued until then.

The Guide’s news entries are the following:

Amour
Cuisine: French Contemporary

Indoors or out? It’s the eternal question in Los Angeles, but even more difficult to decide at Amour. Banquettes and booths beckon on the patio, while the dining room, accessed through a library stacked with vintage books, is loaded with charm down to the very last candlestick. Multicourse tasting menus are on offer, or you can order à la carte from a menu that blends French and Asian influences, such as chawanmushi with Perigord truffles and trout roe. New Caledonia blue prawn carpaccio and a French-style omelet with a quenelle of caviar and Comté foam are just two of the well-executed dishes. Wagyu, sided by crispy matchstick potatoes, is given a hint of sweetness courtesy of a swirl of beet puree, while millefeuille with dulce de leche brings it all home.  

Funke

Cuisine: Italian

Chef Evan Funke, who also runs Felix and Mother Wolf, is at it again with this eponymous restaurant. Set in a three-story 1930s art deco building, it’s a stunning tribute to Italian cooking, with handmade pasta taking center stage (there’s even a glassed-in room to watch them at work). Tall ceilings, red leather booths, and stone tables with brown leather/suede chairs set a stunning tone for a menu that pulls from their sister restaurants while remaining true to itself. Start with their pillowy focaccia, then savor a plate of tender South Pacific blue prawns in a garlicky salsa verde. Handmade agnolotti is perfectly al dente with a rich and creamy filling of sugo di arrosto, erbette chard, and parmigiano reggiano. Finally, torta di cioccolato is a wonderful finish.

Quarter Sheets Pizza
Cuisine: Pizza

Aaron Lindell and Hannah Ziskin’s Quarter Sheets Pizza has nailed that haute hipster vibe with its casual styling and vinyl and cassette collection. The word is out on this Echo Park spot, so expect a wait, but one bite of their inch-thick, pan-style pizzas makes it all worth your while. Baked to order, they’re prepared with flavorful sauce and quality ingredients. Pepperoni is a classic choice, or opt for the pimento grove, a vodka-sauced pizza topped with olives, ‘nduja, and cheese. And, while you might not expect to get serious pastries at a pizza shop, don’t leave without trying at least one of Hannah Ziskin’s pastries. There are a few offerings that rotate often, but the signature Princess cake is a staple that’s worth every bite.

Liu’s Cafe
Cuisine: Chinese

Liu’s Cafe is just the sort of casual spot you’ll come to again and again. Arrive early, as seats fill quickly, then order at the wood counter, where you’ll get a sneak peek into the bustling kitchen. You’ll also spy on their selection of pastries, which definitely shouldn’t be overlooked. Order the house-made pork wontons for a tender, tasty treat, and be sure to get the extra egg noodles to soak up that wonderfully kicky chili oil. Braised pork belly rice is another dish of pure comfort, and no matter what you have, everything is complemented by a pot of tea, such as milk oolong. Finally, the pastries grab attention from the very beginning, and closing out with a dessert like the citrus curd tart with shaved fennel salad is everything you want it to be.

sawa
Cuisine: Japanese

It’s tucked in the basement of an office building in Downtown LA and isn’t easy to find (they even send a video with directions), but this sleek, edomae-style omakase with a sprinkling of seats at the counter is worthy of a visit. The fish is sourced from Japan, and bluefin tuna hails from Mexico and Spain. The cocktail pairing is a nice complement. Nigiri is left to shine with a stroke of nikiri and simple toppings of yuzu kosho or ginger, but items like the shredded sous vide scallop roll prove that they’re willing to be playful, too. Shrimp cake with panko-battered, deep-fried lotus root is spot on, while minced spearhead squid topped with Hokkaido bafun uni tucked in nori hits all the right notes. Soy sauce cheesecake is a smooth and rich ending.

UKA
Cuisine: Japanese Contemporary

Two chefs (both formerly of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations) and two waiters take great care with the details at this sleek hideaway nestled within Japan House at the Ovation Hollywood. Here, the fish is sourced from Japan and flown in twice weekly, then cured in-house. Bonito is made in-house, and other products are sourced locally for the best quality. It’s all part of the kaiseki dining experience at UKA, where guests are invited to savor six or nine courses. Most of the menu leans traditional, as in the kabutamushi, a dumpling made with shredded turnip and filled with Japanese sea bream, while French influences make their way into dishes like grilled abalone with a butter ponzu sauce and wagyu with a red wine jus and miso butter sauce. 

Pollo a la Brasa
Cuisine: Peruvian

Peruvian in Koreatown? You bet, at least at this family-owned and run spot that has been at it for more than thirty years. Expect a casual neighborhood restaurant that’s a touch warm on the inside from the heat of the live-fire cooking. All of the chicken is cooked over a wood fire that you can smell a block away and delivers smoky meat with a crispy skin that’s marinated with their family secret. While there are a few options on the menu, make sure that you order the chicken by itself or choose from their sides, but don’t skip their twice-fried French fries and consider ordering a second container of their spicy green aji sauce. The wait times can be a bit long, so call ahead for take-out or wait patiently.

Little Fish
Cuisine: American

Once itinerant Anna Sonenshein and Niki Vahle now welcome guests to their Echo Park location, where they share space with a mini market. Come for breakfast or lunch—both are delicious. As their name suggests, the menu is seafood-focused, but steak and vegetarian offerings are also on offer. Mornings are met with items like fish tartines and fish and mushroom congee, while lunch features heartier sandwiches like their signature fried fish. The beer-battered Pacific striped bass is tender and sweet, then topped with American cheese, kewpie mayo, and dill pickles on a potato bun for a midday meal that is as satisfying as they come. Not a fan of fish? The broccoli rabe melt with kabocha squash spread, provolone piuccante cheese, and chili garlic is a standout. 

Sushi Sonagi
Cuisine: Japanese

Don’t expect to drop by Sushi Sonagi when the mood strikes, as this eight-seat sushi counter is only open on the weekends and hosts just two seatings nightly. Those who have planned ahead will be rewarded with an enticing multicourse omakase prepared by Chef Daniel Son, a second-generation sushi chef. Chawanmushi, an ankimo tart, and minimally dressed nigiri are all part of the experience, though it’s the dolsot sekogani, or female snow crab stone pot rice, that makes a big impression. Presented to guests in the pot, then heated to produce a crispy crust, it’s then portioned to eager diners who delight in the richly seasoned meat. End with a charcoal-roasted sweet potato topped with house-made white sesame ice cream.

in Dining, NEWS
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