Angeleno Magazine threw a cozy little shindig at Bar Nineteen12 in honor of the magazine's fifth annual restaurant awards (August issue) last night. In a nutshell: Two hours, lots of champagne, chefs of every ilk, and Angeleno's restaurant critic Brad Johnson in disguise because he tries to be as anonymous as possible, and yet he was the most conspicuous man in the room with his plaid hat, sunglasses, and collar-up jacket. He fooled no one. We spied Spago's Lee Hefter (does he ever smile?), Kris Morningstar from Blue Velvet, Neal and Amy Fraser, Jason Travi and Thierry Perez from Fraiche. We chatted with David Myers, Josh Loeb and chef Samir Mohajer from Rustic Canyon, Josie LeBalch and pastry chef Jonna Jensen, Madame Chocolate's sexy Hasty Khoei, and Minx chef Joseph Antonishek.
On the gossip front: Things are still going well for Abode's Dominique Crenn, who said that Sunday brunch is a total winner but Saturdays are working out so well. "Santa Monica can be tough," she said, we think referring to the weekend beach scene. Akasha Richmond is still working on Akasha in Culver City. Chocolatier Jonathan Grahm from Compartes said he's adding an outdoor lounge to the Brentwood shop. We heard that Bastide is at least still a few weeks out, but isn't it always? And we were told to get thee to The York in Highland Park, just because it's worth it. Johnson told us the goal for the party was to give the chefs a night out, and mission accomplished: They were out, they drank, they mingled. He said the only two chef no-shows were "Wolfgang and Nancy." Then he told us he reads Eater "at least four times a day." As he should.
Since we had nothing but champagne and one delicious frog leg at the party, a few of us went to the Polo Lounge for a late dinner. After asking for a table in the garden, we were told that "It's jam-packed back there, totally full, it will be too long for a table." Five minutes later the maitre d' came back and said, "Oh! A table opened up!" and then led us to a half-filled patio. Half. Filled. Typical.
Modern Luxury refuses to publish their magazines online, so here is the full list of this year's Angeleno Restaurant Award Winners. Nothing shocking here, except that Catch won best design; we find it a little too contrived. What's with so many runner ups, Brad?
Restaurant of the Year: Pizzeria Mozza
Chef of the Year: Neal Fraser, Grace
Best New Restaurant: Fraiche
Best New Restaurant, Runner-Up: Abode
Best New Restaurant, Runner-Up: Hampton's at Four Seasons Westlake Village
Best New Restaurant, Runner-Up: Catch at Casa del mar
Best New Chef: Josef Centeno, Opus
Best New Chef, Runner-Up: Carolynn Spence, Bar Marmont
Restaurant Design of the Year: Catch
Restaurant Design of the Year, Runner-Up: Murano
Pastry Chef of the Year: Kristy Choo, Jin Patisserie
Pastry Chef of the Year, Runner-Up: Adrian Vasquez, Providence
Wine Service of the Year: Sona
Wine Service of the Year, Runner-Up: Rustic Canyon
Gastropub or Wine Bar of the Year: Tasca
Vanguard Award: Spago
The issue also has an interview with Abode's Dominique Crenn about being a women chef in a man's world, and a piece about chef-driven restaurants opening on the Eastside, including Reservoir---from Grace alum Gloria Felix and Elizabeth Belkind---and which should open in the former Netty's spot by the end of this month.