As of Friday, August 12, dinner at Workshop Kitchen & Bar will no longer require a two-hour-and-change trek out to Palm Springs: third-generation Angeleno Michael Beckman and his business partner Joe Mourani have brought the popular desert destination restaurant’s signature stark design and market-driven, French-inflected fare to busy La Brea — and it’s opening this week.
A Los Angeles location of the restaurant (now housed inside the Continental Graphics Building at 127 S. La Brea Avenue) has been in the works since 2018, with Beckman securing a lease at the historic building that used to house a printing press, as well as now-shuttered restaurant Odys + Penelope, in 2019.
Much like the Palm Springs outpost, the new Workshop Kitchen & Bar leans heavily on Brutalist architecture, bolstered by the building’s Queen trusses, exposed brick, and 20-foot ceilings. Instead of booths, eight massive, 14-foot concrete dining “cocoons” backlit with a soft glow give off the experience of eating within an art installation. A central skylight in the restaurant’s ceiling provides natural light, complemented by hanging light fixtures from Italian designer iGuzzini. The restaurant’s second-level mezzanine offers views of the dining room and a weighty concrete community-style dining table. Beckman worked with Soma Architects founder Michel Abboud on the design, with the goal of a complementary space to the original.
Beckman’s food menu will rely on produce from Santa Monica Farmers Market vendors such Sage Farms, Valdivia Farms, and Gone Straw Farms, as well as fruit and vegetables from Beckman’s own garden. Two five-course tasting menus will be available, both priced at $90. One will feature fish and meat, with dishes such as yellowtail crudo with rhubarb tea, blood orange, fennel oil, and radish, as well as halibut with bouillabaisse sauce, morels, pickled fresno peppers, and tom kha foam. An entirely plant-based menu will offer braised artichokes with gnocchi, sungold tomato coulis, crispy artichokes, and cucumber flowers.
Supplemental dishes, such as an Australian winter truffle pizza from the restaurant’s wood-fired oven and chicken-fried oyster mushrooms with bread and butter pickles, will be available for additional charges. For dessert, there’s also a rolling cheese cart, from which diners can select local cheeses, homemade bread, shaved truffles, and vintage dessert wines.
To complement the food, diners can select from two wine pairings, one composed of entirely California wine ($65) and another featuring aged and vintage varietals ($85). There’s also a list of 240 options by the bottle, with a focus on European and California biodynamic producers.
Cocktails will play as important a role as they do at the original location, with head bartender Jessi Lorraine creating seasonally inflected drinks like the Kitchen Sink Martini (gin, blanc and dry vermouths, orange bitters, lemon oil, and seasonal pickles), Sherry Cobbler (oloroso and east India sherries, Armenian brandy, arak, and a mulberry-and-raspberry compote), and Trocadero Punch (rum, batavia arrack, Aperol, lime, pineapple gum, and sparkling wine).
Workshop Kitchen & Bar will be open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.