At Vespertine, the last word in outlandish eating, staff are on a mission to “disrupt the course of the modern restaurant” as pioneers in the immersive culinary scene.
Something of an overnight sensation in southern California, the eatery was propelled to the top of Los Angeles Times critic Jonathan Gold’s prestigious annual rankings after its launch last year.
From the volcanic stone crockery and chefs’ aprons woven on a loom used for Samurai garments, to the attentive ballet of waiters dressed in monastic black, everything has been orchestrated to stimulate much more than the taste buds.
“We more or less created and synthesized a world that you’re stepping into,” says chef Jordan Kahn, hair swept into a raven black curtain on one side and shaved on the other.
“We want you to wander around and experience it however you want.”
In LA’s thriving foodie scene, Vespertine has emerged as part of a new generation of restaurants where the experience of eating is matched by an equally sumptuous feast for the other senses.
Dialogue, a tasting menu restaurant in nearby Santa Monica, promises an experience “playing on the senses and emotions” while adventurous diners in Beverly Hills can try Somni, Catalan for “dream.”
Even old hands like Austrian celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, the head of a gastronomic empire, are getting in on this high-concept culinary high-wire act.
His The Rogue Experience — an eight-seat counter in West Hollywood where the tasting menu changes periodically — aims to “challenge expectation and push the boundaries for the future of food.”