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LA to NYC: Stop Opening Your Restaurants Here

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Fighting words from an ill-informed LA writer

The Nomad
The Nomad, which is opening an outpost in LA soon

Apparently Los Angeles isn’t interested in locations of New York’s greatest restaurants. Writer Joel Stein penned a piece for Los Angeles Magazine this week saying that he doesn’t want outposts of star establishments like Cosme or The Nomad in LA. He loves restaurants like The Spotted Pig and Jean Georges when he’s in New York — but that doesn’t mean they should be transported to the West Coast. He argues:

[When] I eat in a city, I want to experience the terroir. In Kyoto I crave precision; in Barcelona I crave invention; in Indianapolis I crave being anywhere else. Why anybody in Tokyo would go to its Grand Central Oyster Bar outpost to mimic the experience of quickly slurping bluepoints before running to make the train to Ronkonkoma is one of a million things I don’t understand about that city.

By simply mimeographing their Manhattan restaurants, these New York chefs mistake us for Vegas, which is Epcot for Americans who are not interested in other countries.

He adds that the restaurateurs are welcome to open LA-specific, farm-to-table restaurants in California, just not new locations of their New York ones.

Fair point, Joel! But here’s some advice from New York food writers to LA food writers: Know the restaurateurs before you knock them. Stein mentions that he doesn’t visit several LA outposts of restaurants like Tao and 21 Club, but Eater New York will counter that those places don’t have strong culinary reputations, anyway.

Meanwhile, the other chefs that Stein mentions, like Enrique Olvera of Cosme and Daniel Humm of the Nomad, obsessively care about seasonality. In fact, our bet is that the lucky ducks of Los Angeles may even end up experiencing better versions of these chefs’ restaurants due to superior access to produce in California. The Nomad team has already noted that they plan on making use of the local bounty.

Obviously, quality and locality won’t be clear until the restaurants actually open and the dust settles. But give it some time, man.

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