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Auburn restaurant
Photograph: Jesse Hsu

Auburn, home to one of L.A.’s best tasting menus, permanently closes

By
Stephanie Breijo
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In a loss to the Los Angeles fine dining landscape, this morning chef Eric Bost’s sleek, modern and innovative Melrose restaurant, Auburn, announced its permanent closure due to coronavirus.

Bost’s tasting-menu concept was built like no other locally, democratizing a traditionally formal affair with à la carte selections and a choose-your-courses format that made the République vet’s artful, delicate plates accessible to budgets of every size. Lauded across the city for its creativity and elegance, Auburn was our own number three best new restaurant of 2019, as well as one of our top restaurants in L.A.

The announcement comes as a shock, and follows yesterday’s equally surprising news of the closure of Bon Temps, our number two best new restaurant of 2019 and also one of our top restaurants in the city. At a time when bars and restaurants struggle with decimated sales due to statewide dine-in shutdowns, as well as the uncertainty of the industry’s future, permanent closures can appear the most prudent option and Auburn and Bon Temps are far from the only restaurants facing this reality. 

“It boiled down to economics,” Bost told the Los Angeles Times, who first reported the news. “Unfortunately it was just not possible. Restaurants already work with such slim margins, and really no room for error, that it was just too much risk to continue to try to finance something when there’s really no clarity on the end.”

Auburn’s formal menu laid out a procession of either four, six or nine aesthetically astounding courses, depending on your hunger, with your choice of which dishes caught your eye: a dish of hearth-roasted quail under thinly shaved matsutake mushrooms, perhaps, or the scattering of velvety petals and seeds under folds of a rich Époisses cheese. At its minimalist bar, tucked near the entrance off Melrose, the more casual corner of Bost’s concrete-and-skylight oasis offered a few of the tasting menu’s exact courses for as little as $8 apiece.

In the weeks following restaurant shutdowns, Bost and his team turned to $39 family-style curbside menus and discounts on boxes of local produce to buoy the restaurant’s staff during the pandemic. 

Time Out has reached out to representatives of Auburn regarding the restaurant’s closure; we hope that someday we can once again share news of the the talented chef. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for Bost’s return.

Auburn opened in March of 2019 and was located at 6703 Melrose Ave.

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