Whether or not there’s an East Coast media bias no longer matters — the Los Angeles restaurant scene has become impossible to ignore. Bon Appétit just anointed downtown's Alma as the nation’s best new restaurant and the city has seen a crush of innovative, flavor-forward concepts open recently. And things do not seem to be slowing down at all. With that in mind, here are nine of the most promising openings or spin-offs for the fall in L.A. County.
Roy Choi is overseeing the food and beverage action at this high-profile Koreatown opening with The Sydell Group (also of The NoMad Hotel to New York City). The hotel has been tight-lipped, though we know one restaurant is Pot, which Choi teased at a dinner with Wolfgang Puck and David Chang at the Hotel Bel-Air in June. The Houston Brothers, who’ve opened themed cocktail bars like La Descarga and Harvard & Stone, is handling the hotel’s bar component. 3515 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown, thelinehotel.com
LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal revamp
Global travelers will no longer bemoan an LAX layover given all the new dining options at Tom Bradley International Terminal, which gets a September 18 green light. The deck with clean, modern lines houses chef-driven concepts like Border Grill (modern Mexican from Mary Susan Milliken and Susan Feniger) and The Larder at Tavern (seasonal sandwiches and salads from Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne) and ink. sack (Michael Voltaggio’s re-envisioned sandwiches). Fast casual options include 800 Degrees (wood-fired pizza) and Umami Burger. Petrossian’s caviar emporium adds a touch of luxury. Also featured is Lamill Coffee Boutique and sweets from both Short Cake and Vanilla Bake Shop. lawa.org
NIGHT + MARKET Song
Chef Kris Yenbamroong is opening a second, stand-alone NIGHT + MARKET in Silver Lake, building on the success of his no-holds-barred Sunset Strip original. He’s shooting for Thanksgiving for his Thai spin-off [Song means “two” in Thai]. Yenbamroong describes his approach to design as an “organic process” and promises a “liberal use of linoleum.” For food, expect a similar complement of beer– and wine-friendly dishes, including larb, fried chicken, sausage, possibly some “party wings” and most definitely pork. Unlike West Hollywood, which Yenbamroong sees as a destination, he envisions Silver Lake as a neighborhood spot. “I just want people to enjoy the food and feel comfortable at the restaurant and for it all to be 'normal,' in the best sense of the word,” he says. 1521 Griffith Park Blvd., Silver Lake, nightmarketla.com
Din Tai Fung
This October, Frank Yang is expanding his family’s Taipei legacy at The Americana at Brand, a 15.5 acre mixed-used development in downtown Glendale. Two locations in Arcadia aren’t enough for Din Tai Fung, which already dominates San Gabriel Valley proceedings with limited edition soup dumplings, pan-fried rice cakes and soup noodles. In Glendale, Yang’s incorporating bamboo steamers to the mix, which should help take dumplings to new heights. Did we mention that they’re also adding juicy pork dumplings studded with shaved Italian truffles? 889 Americana Way, Glendale, dintaifungusa.com
Chef Alvin Cailin and co-owner Jeff Vales have built a reputation for serving refined egg dishes from a truck, which often parks by West Hollywood’s Palihotel and the Arts District’s Handsome Coffee Roasters. This fall, they’ll open a brick and mortar restaurant in downtown’s increasingly epic Grand Central Market. The offerings won’t only be breakfast, though coddled eggs or The Fairfax — a behemoth with scrambled eggs, onions, cheddar and Sriracha mayo on brioche —will be severed. For lunch, expect an egg-topped burger and carnitas…topped with a fried egg, natch. 317 Broadway, Downtown, eggslut.com
Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese
Eric Greenspan, the bigger than life chef who’s pretty much permanently stuck on tilt, recently placed The Foundry on Melrose on hiatus — and is now gearing up for his long-awaited grilled cheese shop next door. The 2008 Grilled Cheese Invitational champ, who once helmed Patina and slayed Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America, is featuring eight sandwiches on Melrose, including The Champ with raisin walnut bread with taleggio, beef short ribs and apricot caper puree. The Johnny Apple Cheese with pastrami and mustard on sourdough is also planned. Look for mini latke bites and seltzer drinks made to order “mixologist style.” Chef Greeny described a monthly sandwich that will focus on “Americans who make cheese and market-fresh produce,” and a “postmodern” environment with long counter and natural colors. 7465 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, greenspansgrilledcheese.com
Orsa & Winston
Josef Centeno, of Baco Mercat and Bar Amá, continues his domination of downtown’s Old Bank District by annexing the former home of Rocket Pizza Lounge and naming it after his two dogs. Orsa & Winston’s menu will change daily and offer two main dining options: omakase or family-style prix fixe. Both will combine Italian and Japanese sensibilities. A close friend helped Centeno design the “contemporary and simple” space, which contains an open kitchen and seats less than 30 people, including counter seats. “This is the restaurant that I tried to do pre-Bäco six years ago,” he says. “Bäco Mercat and Bar Amá are of course restaurants that I am passionate about and I put my all into them, but this is also an opportunity to get back to the kind of cooking for which I was trained. For me it's coming full circle.” 122 W. 4th St., Downtown
Top Chef finalist Brooke Williamson and chef-husband Nick Roberts are building on their Playa del Rey success by replacing Tower 42. The duo’s once again tapped DEX Design Studio, who molded The Tripel and Hudson House, to create a “refined rustic aesthetic” look for the space’s multiple concepts. Playa Provisions encompasses four concepts in one, with a main dining room devoted to seafood, and the other three facets currently kept under wraps, though Roberts did hint at a “one stop shop for the neighborhood.” They’re aiming for a November debut. 119 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey
It’s not like Walter Manzke, the driving force behind the rise of Church & State, has been keeping silent since his early 2010 departure from the Arts District bistro. He, wife Margarita, and some family members launched two branches of a booming bakery café called Wildflour. Manzke also opened an East L.A. meets Tijuana taqueria called Petty Cash in Mid-City, which has proven popular. This Fall, the Manzkes and restaurateur Bill Chait are replacing famed Campanile with a multi-faceted restaurant that will serve three meals daily, plus baked goods and coffee. The vibe will lean more casual when the sun’s up, and more moody and refined at night. Despite the name, the well-traveled couple’s culinary offerings won’t be limited to France. 624 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles
Joshua Lurie is the L.A. based founder of Food GPS.