The duo behind Echo Park’s inventive cafe Triniti are up to something new in Hollywood, and it’s already sounding pretty unique. Joseph Geiskopf and David Wynn are in the finishing stages of a unique new restaurant to be called Kensho, dropping on the famed and historic grounds of Hollywood’s Yamashiro restaurant.
Kensho is trying to be something somewhat unique for Los Angeles: a tight, modern Japanese-ish-by-way-of-LA playplace that seats only 25 diners at a time. Geiskopf will be at the center of it all, working a single induction burner and Big Green Egg outside to turn out tasting menu-sized a la carte portions at dinner. There will also be a tight wine, beer, and sake list, as well as a full bar for cocktails.
During the day, Kensho is meant to act as an upscale cafe, removed from the bustle of Hollywood below and with views that sweep over the city. That means rare coffees and housemade pastries, plus options like ground-to-order matcha service. Unlike Triniti, Kensho should feel like a fully-formed restaurant (especially at dinner), instead of just a coffee shop that doubles as one of the neighborhood’s most inventive places to eat.
The restaurant is already in rare air given its unlikely location. For those unfamiliar, Yamashiro is one of greater LA’s oldest places to dine. The 1914-era palace was for decades a private mansion and, later, a cocktail club for the wealthy Hollywood elite. The property was purchased in a contentious legal battle several years ago, and still has much of the original artwork and architecture, including the famed 600-year-old pagoda outside.
As for Kensho, the restaurant is a rework of a former horse stable on the grounds, only part of the way up the driveway. The 25-person seating will be split between the interior dining room and an outdoor patio, with the kitchen in the middle of it all. Expect a daytime opening with limited hours likely in early March, with more formal dinner service to follow.
Kensho. 1999 N. Sycamore Ave., Los Angeles, CA.