Chef Gary Menes' Le Comptoir -- located in the Historic Normandie Hotel in Koreatown (the permanent location of his former popup at Tiara Café in Downtown Los Angeles) -- offers a tremendous six-course prix-fixe menu for two seatings each night at 6:00 and 8:30 PM. As a recent diner lucky enough to snag a reservation at the counter-only seating, I enjoyed the most intimate observations of the five-man team artfully executing each plate on Menes’ vegetable-centric, “hyper seasonal” menu. Focusing on exactly what he wants to cook and utilizing produce from his Gladys Avenue Urban Farm, where many of the restaurant’s ingredients are grown, Menes’ culinary skill (honed at restaurants like Patina, The Dining Room, Ritz Carlton SF, Melisse, and the French Laundry) was evident in my first bite of his “amusing” crispy rice and shishito pepper amuse-bouche. With perfectly complimentary wine pairings, each dish -- from the Japanese Sweet Potato Velouté, to the Tranche of Roasted Blue Hubbard Squash, to house-baked bread made with a 19-year-old sourdough starter, to the Fricassée Cauliflower – left me happily sated, and then some. However, in ultimate gourmand fashion, I also sampled the supplemental dishes on the menu, as I found the Chef’s foie gras; pan roasted scallop; and carnarolli rice with winter black truffle dishes too beautiful to pass up! Menses’ respect for his ingredients is inherently evident, as is the profound collaboration of his cooking brigade. I was enthralled watching the team behind the counter moving seamlessly (while cooking on hotplates!) to craft this utterly perfect meal.
Dress: Deadly Dames Hotrod Honey Dress in Gold & Black Stripe Knit
Glasses: Bonlook Urban Dandy in Black
Lips: Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in American Doll
Brows: Anastasia Beverly Hills DIPBROW® Pomade in Auburn
Bag: Kate Spade