Jean-Georges the restaurant will soon be no more, at least in Beverly Hills. The fine dining hotel spot from namesake French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten will close this week inside the Waldorf Astoria property, ending a six-year run for the restaurant overseen by one of the world’s most awarded chefs. The facility will quietly convert to a new restaurant named Espelette from Waldorf Astoria chef and culinary director Steve Benjamin.
First opened in June of 2017, LA’s Jean-Georges was a glittering new outpost that catered to the Waldorf Astoria’s famously high-end clientele. It was the first West Coast restaurant for Vongerichten, who has long enjoyed international fame as one of France’s most recognizable culinary figures. Vongerichten has properties from London to New York to Japan, though Los Angeles has proven a tougher nut to crack for the Michelin-beloved chef, it seems. That’s not to say that Jean-Georges Los Angeles was a bust; the restaurant managed to make things work for six good years, nearly half of that in a pandemic. Vongerichten will continue to have a hand in the upstairs menu at the Rooftop by JG bar and lounge.
The Waldorf Astoria won’t have to wait long for the new downstairs tenant, as Espelette is expected to open on May 12 in the same space. Look for an all-new menu from chef Benjamin, who joins a number of other culinary stars in operating lobby-level hotel restaurants around Los Angeles. That includes everyone from Le Coucou’s Daniel Rose (who operates Cafe Basque in LA) to José Andrés, Wolfgang Puck, and LA’s own Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne, the faces behind Caldo Verde inside the Downtown LA Proper Hotel.
The loss of Jean-Georges is notable not only because it marks at least a partial LA retreat for one of the world’s most acclaimed chefs, but also because the switcheroo goes down in Beverly Hills, one of the hottest dining areas in all of Southern California right now. A ton of top culinary talent has been attracted to the city in recent years, from globetrotting chefs like Massimo Bottura and Daniel Boulud to local star Evan Funke and New York City Italian destination Marea, which is coming to Camden in early 2024.