Welcome to The Gatekeepers, a monthly feature in which Eater roams the city meeting the fine ladies and gentlemen that stand between you and some of your favorite tough-to-get tables.
Elizabeth Daniels 10/11
Patina is the flagship and namesake eatery after which chef Joachim Splichal’s mighty Patina Restaurant Group is named. The contemporary French restaurant originally opened on Melrose in 1989, then in 2003 relocated to its current home near the Disney Concert Hall. It's a tried and true staple for concert-goers looking to spend a bigger buck, those celebrating a birthday or graduation, and is one of the few fine dining establishments left in this city. Over the years Patina has accrued a slew of accolades, inclusive of a Michelin star and a rare four star LA Times review, so naturally this vet draws in more than a steady business. Eater recently shot the breeze with General Manager Christian Philippo to learn about service and "The Patina Standard."
It's 8 PM on a Saturday night. What's the wait for a table? We try to not make any clients wait. When there is one, it will be no longer than 15 min.
How do you deal with a VIP when there are no tables left to give? We will make a table somewhere else in the restaurant. While setting this up, the VIPs are happily enjoying a glass of Champagne and conversing with our lovely hostesses.
What's the most outrageous request from a customer that you've accommodated? While we appreciate and understand each guest’s needs, it is a little harder to appreciate how a diner can leave with the full Patina experience when arriving at 7PM, looking forward to a beautiful 3-course meal they must finish in time for their show at 8PM!
Any requests that you couldn't accommodate? I am French, that phrase is not in my vocabulary.
Do you get a lot of customers who've been to other Patina Group restaurants? Yes, a lot.
What's the best dish on the menu? They are all amazing dishes, but for me it is a matter of weather and how I’m feeling on a certain day. On a particularly beautiful day, which come often, the Vegetable Mosaic is a perfect fit. On the cooler and rainy days, I’ll go straight for Chef’s Lobster Volute or a game dish from our fall menu.
How did your four star LAT review last year affect business? It brought in a lot of new people, especially a very nice crowd during our mid seating. The review helped us reach a new type of diner, to show that Patina may be a fine dining restaurant and offer the highest level of hospitality, but we are more than just a special occasion restaurant.
When you're not at Patina, where are you eating? Mainly at my home. I have a great kitchen, and a very nice herb and vegetable garden. I am not often home, so it is always a pleasure when I am able to enjoy it.
What's your most important gatekeepers tool? The Patina Standard: Every guest leaves happy.
Is there anything that you'd like to tell diners that have never been to Patina? Yes, there is no time better than another to come to Patina. And when you do come, please share your comments – especially the bad ones, if there are any! This is the only way for us to improve.
·All Gatekeeper Coverage [~ELA~]