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Jordan Kahn’s Two-Michelin-Star ‘Alien Spaceship’ Restaurant Vespertine Is Reopening

Plus, a Brazilian steakhouse switcheroo, a report on Koreatown restaurant workers, and more

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Vespertine in Culver City.
Vespertine in Culver City.
Anne Fishbein
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.

After being closed for dine-in service since March 2020, Jordan Kahn’s Vespertine announced it will open in Culver City and plans to hire a new front- and back-of-house team. Lauded by the late critic Jonathan Gold as the former top restaurant of the Los Angeles Times 101 and given two Michelin stars in years past, Vespertine was the subject of a lengthy Eater investigation into its work culture in February 2022.

That report revealed former workers were often pushed to the mental and physical brink in order to execute Kahn’s vision for the ambitious tasting menu restaurant. In return, the restaurant through its public relations firm stated that former employees were orchestrating a “smear campaign.”

When it opened in 2017, Kahn described the building, designed by Eric Owen Moss, as a “machine artifact from an extraterrestrial planet that was left here like a billion years ago by a species that were moon worshippers.” Since 2022, Kahn has been busy operating Meteora on Melrose Avenue in the former Auburn space. Destroyer, his daytime Culver City restaurant across from Vespertine, is still in operation.

99 Ranch opens in Westwood, with a food court on the way

Popular Asian grocery store 99 Ranch soft opened in Westwood after years of construction, reports Time Out LA. The location will also feature a food court that opens next week with Lima Nikkei hand rolls, 99 Ranch Market Hot Deli, and Monkey King Brewery. Eventually, One Zo Boba and Noodology will open there in early 2024, giving West LA denizens a new destination for Asian groceries and food.

A Brazilian steakhouse switcheroo in Gardena

The former W Steakhouse in Gardena has closed and made way for a similar business named N Steakhouse that Yelpers say is under new management. W Steakhouse originally opened in Koreatown in March 2022 and expanded to Gardena back in September 2023. Operations and staffing seemed a bit rocky from the get-go, according to a manager in October. N Steakhouse has received positive early reviews since its opening in early November.

A Skid Row Thanksgiving last Saturday

Some Los Angeles-area restaurants worked with nonprofit Make a Move LA to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the Skid Row community in Downtown on November 18. Participating restaurants included iPic Theaters, Pasjoli, Metro Cafe, Pine & Crane, Cobi’s, Yardhouse, the Tuck Room, and Sip and Sonder Coffee Shop, feeding 200 people. Anyone interested in furthering efforts to serve the Skid Row community can reach out to Make a Move LA.

A new theater with dinner in El Segundo

Rendering of Cinema West: Beach Cities in El Segundo.
Rendering of Cinema West: Beach Cities in El Segundo.

The former Arclight Theatres in El Segundo is turning into CinemaWest: Beach Cities, scheduled to open in summer 2024. Inside, Beach Cities Pizza will serve wood-fired pizzas, cocktails, and craft beer alongside 16 upscale movie theaters with laser projection and Dolby Atmos sound. The idea is to operate an upscale lounge environment to counter the big box, cookie-cutter feeling of other theater chains.

A report on the difficult situation for workers in Koreatown

A new report by KIWA, the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, and the UCLA Labor Center, shows that restaurant workers in Koreatown undergo incredible challenges and difficulties, including housing insecurity, wage theft, and low wages. Almost half are burdened by rent, and some live in overcrowded situations, according to the study. ABC-7 has a summary of the report here.

The study also found 72 percent of workers earn low wages, less than two-thirds of the median hourly wage for Los Angeles County. The study recommends the industry establish standards of worker pay and a corridor ordinance to enforce those workplace standards. Koreatown currently contains 704 restaurants, with something like 7,000 workers directly involved in the restaurant industry.

Vespertine

3599 Hayden Avenue, , CA 90232 (323) 320-4023 Visit Website