Situated on a couple of stools at the recently-opened Sack Sandwiches on the Sunset Strip, former Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio and jetsetting New York chef/entertainer Eddie Huang got down to business, chatting it up for a lengthy interview with the Hollywood Reporter. Namely, which is better: New York’s long-dominant dining scene, or the vibrant, dynamic LA market?
Mostly the pair played it safe, agreeing to agree on a lot of places like Peter Luger’s in New York, and Sushi Park here in L.A., but it was certainly interesting to hear each chef be honest about their own city’s perceived faults. Here are some of the best tidbits from their new Hollywood Reporter interview.
Fast food wins. Both Huang and Voltaggio agree that not only is Southern California the birthplace of modern fast food, it’s still doing it at a high level today. Asked to name the single best dining innovation to come out of Los Angeles, Huang even mentions the drive-thru. Voltaggio, for his part, says the City of Angels made it okay to take the tablecloths off the tables.
An update for Dan Tana’s. The two take a pretty great tangent on Dan Tana’s, the West Hollywood red sauce institution. Voltaggio says it’s a "roomful of people that do not belong together," adding that he’d love to see New York chef Wylie Dufresne take the place over and "flip it on its head" sometime.
Where’s the aguachile? Huang dogs his own city’s Mexican food scene, decrying the lack of good aguachile available anywhere in the five boroughs. His option for changing that? Bring in Coni’Seafood, which he says would "destroy anybody else’s attempt at Mexican food." Not a bad idea.
All in the timing. And what about Voltaggio’s LA gripe? Diners who don’t respect their reservations. People show up whenever they want, regardless of the listed time (and sometimes not at all), and that sense of built-in entitlement is not only bad for the kitchen, it’s bad for the city as a whole.
Check out the entire Hollywood Reporter interview, with video, here.