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What Vespertine’s Early Yelp Reviews Are Saying About the Other-Worldly Experience

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The food might require a visual flip book

Vespertine, Culver City
Matthew Kang
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Chef Jordan Kahn opened up his high-minded new restaurant Vespertine last week, but visuals on the restaurant space and the food experience is still rather hard to come by. Instead, Kahn has been keeping a tight leash on what gets out — only showing off random spheres (it’s actually fish?) and blades to help heighten the suspense. It seems to mostly be working, except on Yelp where a select few first-time diners have chosen to type up their early experiences.

It’s worth noting that even over on the crowdsourced restaurant review platform no interior shots (or even food looks) appear. Instead there are four unique reviews as of July 10 (each giving five stars) and loads of detailed spoilers about what the experience is actually like. Feel free to keep reading if spoilers are no big thing; otherwise, look away.

First up, here’s an overview of what the night will look and feel like:

As you drive up a staff member greets you by your name- then a second person escorts you to the elevator which opens with a huge pleasant surprise , Chef Kahn is there to meet and greet you, shake your hand, thank you for being there - he also asks about dietary restrictions- all the staff wear dark post-apocalyptic garb- presumably made out of wool- so you immediately are transported into another realm- the futuristic waffle shaped glass and steel building make you feel you're on a spaceship.

From there it’s a walk up to the rooftop for pre-dinner snacks, then to the dining room. Apparently there are only six tables in the actual dining room, and the evening is spread over something like 18 courses. Post-dinner there’s a garden option located downstairs, which the Vespertine website says costs $30 extra and, while not mandatory, is “highly suggested” for all guests. The whole thing is grassy and filled with stone that doubles as seating, with heating elements inside for warmth.

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So what is dinner actually like? According to another Yelper, emotions abound at every turn.

The attention to detail was fantastic and it felt like there were basically no kinks left to work out. (Except that the wine glasses stick to the acrylic table. Maybe another emotion you are supposed to feel?)

But, for another, all that headiness can sometimes leave one scratching their heads:

One small critique: the dishes were introduced simply (ex: white asparagus, endives). I wished I had more of a description for each dish like an optional flip book. All the dishes are so complicated that I wished for more detail into what I was eating.

And finally, the most important LA question, answered:

The valet is complimentary, that's also a plus.

In all, the folks who have dined early at Vespertine (some of whom wrote their experiences on Yelp, others who have talked to Eater staffers directly) seem to have very positive things to say, if a bit guarded. There’s a lot of “it’s a totally unique experience” qualifiers being thrown around, but otherwise it seems that Jordan Kahn’s space ship (literally) to stardom has successfully launched into orbit. Now it’s just a question of when the reviewers show up to begin handing out stars.