The city of Los Angeles, containing more than 26,000 restaurants, is a culinary universe unto itself. Like LaLa Land’s celebrity firmament, stars rise and fall amid this dazzling and diverse food scene. Today we are going to take a look at two stars newly arrived from the NYC universe: the buzzy Restaurant at the NoMad Hotel, the craze-inducing dessert destination Milk Bar, as well as that rarest of stars (the one that does not fade), the timelessly inventive Sotto.
The Restaurant at the NoMad Hotel
The NoMad didn’t just arrive in LA with its Old World elegant yet somehow cutting-edge hipster thoughtfulness intact as a hotel, but also as an utterly unique dining experience. Daniel Humm and Will Guidara’s Eleven Madison Park in NYC was officially designated “World’s Best Restaurant.” Now they’ve brought their food game to LA.
Sotto arrived on the scene in 2011 and quickly assumed its place at the top of the LA food world. It was crowned the #1 restaurant in LA by LA Magazine that year. Six years later, the late great food critic Jonathan Gold — whose Best 100 Restaurants in LA are the foodie bible of Southern California — wrote that Sotto had achieved “canonical importance in the Los Angeles food scene.” The restaurant features a 15,000-pound wood oven and a focus on southern Italian cuisine. The pizzas are a marvel (try the Guanciale, with house-cured pork jowl, ricotta, scallion, and fennel pollen) but don’t stop there — miraculous inventions beckon, such as the olive oil poached cod (with orange saffron broth, olives, and pistachios) or the casarecce noodles (tossed with braised Colorado lamb and sheep cheese). Sotto’s star shines brightly.
As we speak, there’s a likely a line around the block outside Milk Bar Bakery, Christina Tosi’s Momofuko-spawned NYC pastry and cake shop. There’s a good reason for the line: this is the most definitive dessert mecca in humankind’s history. Pumpkin Dulce De Leche cake? Check. Pistachio Lemon Brioche? Oh my god yes. And cookies and crack pie and soft serve ice creams and the bagel bomb.