FoodDaily Dish

Fifty Seven, with revolving chefs, to open next week: First up, David Nayfeld

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Fifty Seven, a restaurant in the former Heinz building in downtown’s Arts District, is expected to open Thursday, March 27, with chef David Nayfeld heading the kitchen.

A two-story space, Fifty Seven will house the upstairs restaurant as well as a downstairs performance area (food won't be served downstairs). The restaurant, from hospitality group Cardiff Giant, is intended to feature a rotating roster of chefs from around the country. The chefs in residence would helm the restaurant for varying amounts of time.

Nayfeld, who has worked at restaurants such as Eleven Madison Park, Cru and Jöel Robuchon’s Mansion, will be the debut chef, setting much of the tone, service and kitchen staff for Fifty Seven. "The team I set up stays in place," Nayfeld says. "Being the first chef I’m the beta program, I’m creating this format.

"I want it to become a breeding ground for the best chefs in the country."

Nayfeld says that if fine dining is "when you take all of your concentration and all of your passion and all of your skills, and you focus it toward your task or your guest experience," then Fifty Seven is fine dining. "It's not about white tablecloths, suits, pretense, toques, tweezers. I use tweezers, but it’s not about tweezers."

His three-course prix fixe and six-course tasting menus will be served in the 60-seat main dining room, along with "snacks" that also will be available in the bar area, which has an additional 55 seats.

Dishes on his tasting menu might include cochon de lait with cippolini onions, sherry vinegar and potato; spiny lobster with subtle hints of orange, fennel and licorice; and monkfish grilled over binchotan, finished in the oven and brushed with clarified butter, served with foraged nasturtiums, baby artichokes and mussels. 

Diners in the bar area can order a la carte, where snacks include house-made bratwurst with whole-grain mustard, torn bread and salsa criolla; a pickled garden of lemon cucumber, carrot, squash, cauliflower and baby beets with red miso; and deviled eggs with a filling of creamy egg, mustard, ground mushrooms and pickled celery relish.

Cocktails will focus on classics with spirits from local distilleries and fresh ingredients. Seasonal additions will be created to complement dishes coming from the kitchen. And a wine list will highlight California vineyards.

Fifty Seven, where guests enter through an alley patio, was designed by Milo Garcia of Studio MAI (Gjelina, Hinoki and the Bird). The restaurant features high ceilings with exposed beams and acid-washed concrete floors, along with elements of wood, metal and exposed brick. The bar area includes communal and private tables, and the dining room has pine tables, woven banquettes and an open kitchen at the front of the building, along Santa Fe Avenue. 

Fifty Seven will be open Sunday through Wednesday 5:30 to 10 p.m. and Thursday to Saturday 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. 

712 S. Santa Fe Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 816-8157, FiftySevenLA.com.

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