There’s a glow inside Hollywood’s new Mes Amis that feels kind of otherworldly. The Wilcox Avenue restaurant is indeed anachronous to the outside, a throwback space for muted jewel tones, big ceilings, and the kinds of burnished brass and patinated marble touches that in lesser hands might feel kitschy, but here feels deep and well-loved. Make no mistake, this dinnertime brasserie from chef Lincoln Carson and the Ten Five Hospitality group is brand new — in fact, it opens Friday, May 27 — but the energy of the room is pulled from a different moment entirely.
The design of this restaurant is not only purposeful, recreating the old Hollywood touch and charm that has become so in vogue in Los Angeles of late, it’s personal for Lincoln, a celebrated lifelong hospitality veteran who has been a part of dozens of openings over the decades. At Mes Amis, he honors the past but isn’t haunted by the closure of his previous French restaurant Bon Temps in the Arts District. Despite national acclaim, Carson and his team were unable to weather the pandemic. Now, there is this project, a place for Carson (and some former Bon Temps staffers) to push toward a new goal in the heart of the hottest dining scene in the city. It is a place to honor their history, and the history of Hollywood — while still throwing one heck of a modern party.
In discussing Mes Amis, Carson talks about “the vibrancy of French cafe culture” and “celebrations of the joy of food,” a nod to the upbeat evenings expected inside the fine French restaurant. Spread across 6,000 square feet of mostly open indoor dining space (save for a leafy drop front patio and private dining room), the Martin Brudnizki Design Studio/Bernadette Blanc-built establishment is ideal for summer gatherings across long banquettes or clustered inside a sweeping booth. Bistro-style chairs are tufted with wide cushions, and the room is overhung by large, low-lit pendant lights, as well as vintage black and white photos of LA parties gone by. A wide selection of celebratory sparkling wines and a roving nightly champagne cart should also help to liven things up.
The bar is sure to be its own scene, a place for groups to grab bites together beneath the soaring bottles. There will be cocktails, of course, touching on gins and Lillet blanc and more bracing glasses of rye whiskey, French aperitifs, and herbs de Provence. As for the food, Carson’s team at Mes Amis will move diners through a concerto of courses, from seafood starters like raw bar towers with dayboat scallops and prawns to richer dishes like a duck pate en croute or a savory vegetable galette. Traditional brasserie mains like steak au poivre, whole poached lobster with charred onions, and large-format lamb Wellington will also make an appearance. The opening menu is below.
As of Friday, diners can find Mes Amis cooking at 1541 Wilcox Avenue in Hollywood, steps from Mother Wolf, Ka’Teen, and the rest of the Ten Five Hospitality compound. Carson will be there in his chef’s whites, undoubtedly eyeing the room from the semi-open kitchen at the back of the building. He’s not hiding — not with food like this, in a place like this — but he is ready to once again return to the LA party. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 5:30 to 10 p.m., with brunch to come in the following months; reservations can be made on Resy.