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Ortolan Chef Christophe Émé to Open La Brea Avenue Wine Bar and Restaurant

The fine dining chef has been under the radar for years

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Chef Christophe Eme wearing sunglasses and posing with crossed arms at a restaurant in Los Angeles
Christophe Emé
Matthew Kang
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Christophe É, whom many longtime fine dining fans in Los Angeles might remember at the old Ortolan on West Third, is plotting a new endeavor for the first time in over a decade. Named Kass, it’s a 40-seat wine bar and restaurant located along La Brea Avenue in the former Wilde Wine space. If all goes well in the next few weeks, Kass should open by March 2018.

This is Émé’s first new restaurant project since Ortolan closed back in 2011. The fine dining restaurant received a one-Michelin-star rating and numerous local accolades, but succumbed during the Great Recession. That space eventually became Bianconi.

As for Émé’s new project, the French chef (who’s married to actress Jeri Ryan) seems excited at the prospect of cooking for the public again. For years Émé was focused on private dinners and underground parties for celebrity clientele, but with Kass, he plans to create an approachable wine bar with a tight menu of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. When asked about the name, Émé says he originally had a difficult-to-pronounce French name in mind, but decided to go with a memorable, and more pleasant, moniker.

Émé thinks most diners will spend about $50 to $60 after a glass or two of wine and a few plates. He’ll also plan to offer reasonably priced $40 wine bottles to keep it approachable for the neighborhood, though oenophiles will certainly see rare and unique finds that should pique their interest.

Unlike Ortolan, which was a classic French-style fine dining operation with white tablecloths and structured service, Kass will be easy-going and everyday. Eventually he hopes to return to the fine dining realm once he establishes Kass.

Émé announced last week on Facebook that he had received the keys to a new restaurant space, and he anticipates a quick turnaround. Wilde Wine Bar is already built out, and will just undergo a few cosmetic changes before Kass opens.

Kass. 320 South La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036.