Nic Adler's New Restaurant Has One Rule: Don't Say "Vegan"

Danielle Adams; Inset: Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images
Avocado crispy rice with ponzu, citrus and cilantro for $14 (Inset: Adler)

The culinary director of Goldenvoice opens up about how his Beverly Boulevard restaurant reimagines L.A. dishes through a "plant-based" lens and a ban on any hippie-dippie aesthetics.

Nic Adler, son of music producer Lou and the culinary director of Goldenvoice (the company behind Coachella), knows there are plenty of omnivores who think of vegan food as inedible. So at his new Beverly Boulevard restaurant, Nic's, he's banished the word — along with any hippie-dippie aesthetics. This despite, or perhaps because, he's practiced veganism for nearly a quarter-century.

Though Adler also has launched a mini-chain of local burger joints called Monty's with Impossible patties, the latest of which is opening in Echo Park, Nic's is not about ersatz dishes meant to approximate the pleasures of meat.

"There are no air quotes here, no tricks," he says, "I wanted great service and beautiful stemware."

He brought in chef Steven Fretz, who made his name at the late, acclaimed Church Key, to reimagine classic L.A. dishes through "a plant-based" lens, from the Chinese chicken salad at Chin Chin to the agnolotti at Spago. The resulting menu features chilled soba noodles, summer corn agnolotti and chickpea tagine.

"It's an idea of growing up here," Adler says, "from the '70s to the '90s."

This story first appeared in the Aug. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.