Chef’s salad with LALA farm lettuces, daily vegetable selection and walnut marigold dressing at P.Y.T. in downtown Los Angeles.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Potato chipati bread at P.Y.T.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
The bar at P.Y.T.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
P.Y.T. has a worn mosaic-tile floor and high ceilings.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
One of the best things I had to eat this summer was a whole celeriac cooked by Daniel Berlin, of the restaurant that bears his name in southern Sweden. The unlovely root, probably his most famous dish, had been roasted for nine or 10 hours in the embers of a slow wood fire, and when it came to the table it looked like a smoldering baseball plucked out of a stadium pyre.
The chef himself appeared, and carved the vegetable with the ceremony you might expect he might take with a goose. I reached in to take a piece, and he shooed my hand away. He directed me to scoop out the interior and put it into a small bowl, where he moistened it with a thin, umami-rich broth. And when I tasted it, the effect was less that of the tart, crunchy celeriac I knew from salads and pan roasts than of a dense, pulpy mass, sweet as fruit, that seemed to have concentrated the essence of all vegetables everywhere into a single, slightly smoky spoonful. It was spectacular.