Alta Adams brings community together in historic West Adams

Alta Adams is a year-old restaurant in the West Adams neighborhood that immediately became a nexus of community. Chef Keith Corbin characterizes his cooking as“California soul food:” oxtails over rice, fried chicken, smothered steak, collard greens, macaroni and cheese. Corbin grew up in Watts, where his family has lived for generations, and was raised on these foods.

The menu Corbin created with chef and restaurateur Daniel Patterson also gives these Southern celebration dishes some West Coast inflections. Without sacrificing rich flavors, he shaves yams into delicate layers for a gratin sweetened with almond milk and a daub of brown butter. West African red palm oil’s nutty earthiness enriches squash and peanut soup. Vinegar, chile flakes and smoked oil give his collards satisfying depth. The standout oxtails lull in a gravy infused with miso and soy.

Alta is a newcomer on the Times’ annual 101 Best Restaurants in L.A. list, chosen by critics Patricia Escárcega and Bill Addison. The restaurant’s big-hearted sense of hospitality makes the place as much of a draw as the food — as do fun cocktails like the Lunchbox, a liquid take on peanut butter and jelly.

5359 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 571-4999,