In a wide-ranging new interview with GQ, chef Jordan Kahn gives a spacey (and sometimes hard-to-follow) reveal to the ins and outs of his upcoming Culver City fine dining restaurant Vespertine. Housed inside Hayden Tract, the artistically-minded endeavor won’t just be any ol’ place to wine and dine — Kahn says he actively wants people to feel like they’ve left Earth behind, or perhaps never stepped foot on it at all.
There are numerous details to parse through in the story, so Eater went ahead and teased out some of the more crucial quotes from Kahn himself. For example:
“[The food] doesn’t come from local—it comes from a place that doesn’t exist.” Here, Kahn tells writer Marian Bull that the menu he’s working to craft will be unlike anything the world has ever seen before, historically or otherwise. He later refers to dishes like a whisper-thin shaved pile composed of white asparagus, macadamia nuts, and squid as “very new cuisine. It’s not derivative of anything.”
Vespertine’s building “is a machine artifact from an extraterrestrial planet that was left here like a billion years ago by a species that were moon worshippers.” Kahn is intent on building a world in which to surround diners, and that includes a mythology about people, places, and time itself. Apparently that stretches to an ethereal understanding of the building as well, which despite the alien verbiage was actually built by architect Eric Owen Moss. He later tells Bull that the restaurant “has its own gravity.”
“I want you to appear as a ghost, and I want you to disappear. I want you to take Eleven Madison Park and make it the opposite.” Kahn hopes for Vespertine to be a new kind of dining and service model, where instead of luxury touches and expectant waiters, guests are given the (sort of) silent treatment. They will also all be “dressed in custom, androgynous uniforms”, naturally.
Honestly, the entire GQ article is worth a read, and provides many more uniquely Kahnian insights into Vespertine (like how the wine glasses will have their logos etched off so as not to let customers know they came from Earth). Though there’s no timetable for the opening just yet, walkthroughs and mock service nights have reportedly started up, so it can’t be long before guests start treating themselves to one seriously spaced-out dining experience.