File this under “Things That Could Only Happen in LA”: Dave Beran, one of Chicago’s most decorated fine dining chefs, is opening up an 18-seat tasting menu counter at the Santa Monica Third Street Promenade. The expensive affair will drop at the second floor of The Gallery, a remodeled former food court along one of greater Los Angeles’s most touristy stretches.
The LA Times first caught word of Beran’s restaurant, which is to be called Dialogue. The plan, they say, is to offer only 18 seats per night, spread across mostly counter space in a tight 800-square-foot room. It’s not too dissimilar to what Beran has been doing since he first moved to Los Angeles a year ago, actually, having just wrapped up a run with The Rogue Experience, a Wolfgang Puck test kitchen dinner series that feeds only eight per night.
Places like Le Comptoir and even Scratch Bar have been following a likeminded model closely for years in Los Angeles, while others like Jordan Kahn are beginning to do their own takes on experimental fine dining. Beran, who cooked for years at Alinea and then won a James Beard Award while running the show at Next, is likely to fall into his own quirky, thoughtful dinner-only path, with ticketed seats going for nearly $200 all-in, before tax and booze.
The really interesting part is the decision to add Dialogue to the Third Street Promenade. Many restaurants have come and gone along the pedestrian boulevard over the years, but those that have traditionally done well tend to cater to a wide swatch of down-the-middle, often price-conscious diners — certainly not upscale types who prefer pre-purchasing their fine dining meals weeks (or months) in advance. Then again, the restaurant is situated rather close to the Santa Monica Farmers Market.
Even Dominique Ansel, who is opening up at The Grove, is playing things pretty straight with a bakery and more contemporary sit-down restaurant. By way of example, the first two confirmed tenants for The Gallery were an ice cream shop and a low-cost place to get pre-made food bowls.
The Times says construction is still underway on the small space, and it’s looking like tickets will be available beginning late July for an early August reveal.
1315 Third Street Promenade
Santa Monica, CA