More changes are underway at Hinoki & The Bird, the popular Century City restaurant that seems to be shedding opening staff members like water. Head bartender Brandyn Tepper is now gone, as is
founding bar manager and cocktail legend cocktail consultant Sam Ross, who crafted the opening menu.
The first — and most notable — departure at Hinoki & The Bird was opening chef David Myers, who decided to drop from his own namesake restaurant group last June in order to pursue projects in Asia (his first, in Singapore, just opened). A few months later, top-notch chef Kuniko Yagi, who had been executing Myers’ vision from basically day one, also flew the coop.
Now it’s Tepper’s turn. The amiable barman is a notoriously hard worker, and only left Hinoki & The Bird to focus on his cocktail consulting company Cocktail Academy full time. As for Sam Ross, the founding drink man who hails from New York City, he left Hinoki behind a while ago and moved forward with David Myers, working on the cocktails at the chef’s new restaurant Adrift in Singapore.
And with that, Hinoki & The Bird continues to face an unknown future. It’s hard to revamp after a restaurant group shuffle plus a search for a new executive chef and head bartender all in the same year. But if any restaurant can make it work, it’s the perpetually busy Hinoki, which continues to thrive on power lunches and business dinners from the nearby Century City crowd.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this post listed Sam Ross as bar manager, but he was always a bar consultant.