After nearly 40 years in business, Spago is finally offering takeout.
Of course, Wolfgang Puck isn’t the only fine-dining chef forced to adapt in the coronavirus upheaval; with thousands across California newly out of work in the restaurant industry, and L.A. under a new “safer at home” order, some of the best chefs with the most haute, high-end tasting menus are reconfiguring their concepts.
Some are turning their intricate menus into family-style feasts, while another is selling an off-menu item to pay for his employees’ healthcare. Here’s how some of L.A.’s best chefs are turning to takeout and delivery services—and how you can help support them while eating deliciously in quarantine.
Wolfgang Puck’s sunny flagship is offering takeout for the first time in its 38-year history, and we couldn’t be more excited. That trademark, caviar-topped smoked salmon pizza in our own homes? Talk about doing quarantine right. Spago’s rolling with the punches and rolling out a fantastic family-style meal at a fraction of its usual prices, giving us a multi-course offering—with some of the most famous dishes in the city—for only $49 per person.
Every meal includes the iconic agnolotti (currently featuring English peas and French black truffles); sides of warm white asparagus, spring vegetables, steamed jasmine rice, and a cheesy smoked bacon and potato terrine; plus desserts like fresh cookies and shortbreads, a warm triple-berry crisp and fresh berries. The hard part is choosing your appetizer, with options like the smoked salmon pizza and the white asparagus soup with Maine lobster, and ditto the entrées, with choices such as Hong Kong-style king salmon, a roasted half Jidori chicken, and prime filet mignon.
Quarantining with little ones? Spago’s even got a takeout kids’ menu, sporting à la carte Jidori chicken fingers, cheese pizza, and rigatoni with beef bolognese, plus take-and-bake cookies and brownies and a hot chocolate mix. (And when the little ones start to drive you crazy in all that isolation, Spago’s got you covered with bottled wines to-go, too.) Call 310-385-0880 to place your order; nearby, Puck’s high-end Chinese restaurant, Chinois, is also offering an à la carte pickup and delivery menu with options like Shanghai lobster and the cult-classic Chinois chicken salad.
Now you can take your entire family to the stars, and at an affordable price, too. Chef Jordan Kahn’s immersive, imaginative Culver City tasting-menu temple to precision and the otherworldly launched family-style delivery and takeout dinners this morning, giving us Vespertine’s two-Michelin–starred technique in comforting, approachable form. It most likely won’t arrive as alien-planet flowers, à la courses in Vespertine’s regular tasting menu, but we’re all in on Kahn’s take on family dinner regardless.
Meal kits cost $49 per person, and can be portioned for two to six, and involve wagyu beef brisket with a smoked onion glaze and griddled Indian parathas; crispy-skinned roast chicken thighs with herbs from the Vespertine garden; organic greens with shaved sunchokes and a buttermilk dressing; squash gratin with gouda and shishito peppers; and farro risotto with brown butter and mushrooms. For dessert? Chocolate chip cookies from sibling spot, Destroyer, and almond and brown-butter brownies. Order the menu via the restaurant’s usual reservation system, Tock.
Dave Beran breathed new life into Los Angeles fine dining when he launched his tucked-away tasting-menu spot, Dialogue, then managed to do the same for classic French cooking with his follow-up, Pasjoli. Now, given the times, he’s turning his attention to takeout—and reinvigorating those menus, too.
Dialogue is typically a procession of 20-or-so hyper-seasonal courses, but now you can taste it in three: The one-Michelin–starred restaurant is offering one of the best values of all with a $35 three-course takeout dinner. (We know, we can hardly believe it ourselves.) Available in both an omnivorous and a vegetarian track, courses can include either ponzu-glazed pork belly with mustard greens, a radish-and-fennel salad, some miso-roasted carrots and garlic pea tendrils, and a dessert of Beran’s beloved, off-menu burnt Basque cheesecake, or, for vegetarians, the curry roasted cauliflower with vegetable miso soup, a garbanzo-and-raisin salad with house-made naan, and that same cheesecake. You can even tack on bottles of wine and beer, and if you really love that cheesecake, you can now order it whole, for $65, and 100 percent of the cake’s proceeds benefit the staff’s healthcare. Orders can be placed here.
At Pasjoli, Beran’s elegant French bistro, the pared-down à la carte menu brings a little bit of luxe to your quarantine. Of course, there’s no tableside caviar service, as there is in the restaurant, but you can order Pasjoli’s imported and domestic caviar to enjoy at home, and you can also dig into menu stalwarts like the house-cultured French butter with fresh baguette. The menu rotates and has included options such as cassoulet, and Beran’s even started serving some high-end comfort foods: a grilled cheese sandwich with Bayonne ham, for instance, and a French dip sandwich made with braised short rib. Order for pickup by emailing email@example.com.
Embraced by all and easily one of the best sushi restaurants in Los Angeles, the one-Michelin–starred Shunji Japanese Cuisine is amazingly now offering takeout. You won’t be able to see Shunji Nakao (“the Richard Gere of the sushi world”) expertly forming your nigiri for a bit, but in the meantime, he’s launched gorgeous bento boxes that come artfully arranged (and we wouldn’t have expected anything less).
Nakao’s bento come sushi-forward, with a handful of options to choose from: There’s a $48 10-piece sushi box full of chef’s omakase and one cut roll; a $70 deluxe sushi bento, which involves 10 pieces of omakase and assorted small plates; add-ons for uni (sourced from Santa Barbara or Japan, your call); and a $40 bluefin toro dan, which layers slices of luscious tuna over rice.
Boxes are limited each day, so call 310-826-4737 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to order in advance.