If you’ve been to the beautiful Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles inside the L.A. Live complex in Downtown LA, you’re either (a) a wealthy individual who knows the joy of staying at a Ritz and can afford their room rates or (b) you went to WP24, the neo-Asian fine dining restaurant from Wolfgang Puck on the 24th floor. I fall squarely into category (b) and if you’re looking to experience all (well, most) that WP24 has to offer without the fine dining atmosphere, you can head over to Nest, the new restaurant that’s overtaken the lounge area.
It’s actually the same lounge that existed before, but now it has a formal name and an expansive menu “inspired by” WP24. The views are incredible as you look out over all of Hollywood from 24 floors up in the air, but the menu is really why you’re here. During a recent media preview, I got to sample a huge variety of the menu and a few of the dishes were really outstanding. I especially loved the black bean jumbo prawns with red onion, scallions, and chilies and the bao buns made with baby pork belly in a honey-garlic glaze. Even the General Tso’s Chicken — a dish you can find at take-out Chinese restaurants around the US — was elevated into something much more in the hands of Nest’s Chef de Cuisine, John Lechleidner.
The menu skews heavily towards Chinese, but most of Asia finds its way into the dishes. A fried filet of sea bass is topped with sambal and laid over coconut sticky rice is distinctly Malaysian while the “Thai curry noodles” are, well, Thai. The Japanese-inspired matcha green tea donuts comes with a deliciously creamy yuzu dipping sauce that you might find in Osaka and the entire sushi menu is inspired by Japan, but with options like Hamachi Crunch roll and a Rainbow Roll, it’s obvious that this sushi is more at home in Little Toyko here in LA than actual Tokyo.
In my opinion, Nest is best used as the perfect spot to come before or after an event at the Staples Center. Instead of trying to fight for a seat at The Yard House or paying through the nose for chicken fingers inside the arena, why not hit Nest for a quick cocktail and a nice dinner? I bet your next date isn’t going to be mad when you tell him or her that you’re going to the Ritz and who knows — maybe Wolfgang himself will be there to greet you. He was when I was there…