The 29-year-old upstart L.A. restaurateur Jeremy Fall has garnered attention and industry support with a slew of high-concept spots. First, he opened a “breakfast bar” called Nighthawk in Hollywood that served dishes like “Drunken French Toast,” featuring pear brandy. Then a short-lived Highland Park bodega with a speakeasy-style sandwich shop in the back. More recently, he debuted a high-gloss retro burger stop at the Beverly Center with custom ViewFinders at each table.
Some find Fall’s larkish sensibility winning, others grating. It’s unrestrained at his first full-scale endeavor, Mixtape, situated in the longtime BLD space along Mid-City’s Beverly Boulevard, which since opening in August already has lured an eclectic crowd. (On any given night you’ll find, say, Judy Greer seated beside a group of DJs and CBD oil entrepreneurs.) It perhaps helps that he’s convinced an assorted constellation of figures — Quincy Jones, Jaden Smith, Robin Thicke — to contribute artwork.
Now signed to UTA and Roc Nation, Fall has here manifested seemingly every whim that’s crossed his mind. Receipts arrive in cassette tape cases (alien to many of the 20-something patrons) and cocktails are named after mood rings, which means the ordering process is cringy. “I’ll have a Sassy. Err, wait, make it a Mischievous.”
Fall knows that what his audience really wants is upscale comfort food, modestly jazzed up. His Jewish-French-Tunisian-Caribbean heritage acts as key coordinates.
There may be no other place in town operating at such a startling polarity between absolute brilliance and total incompetence. Course after course, it’s flabbergasting that the same kitchen (run by executive chef Nathan Santana) can be responsible for such utter blunders and wonders.
The blue corn tostada shell accompanying the steak tartare tastes stale. The yellowtail crudo is jaggedly sliced, swimming in an overwhelming coulis. There are ripeness and quality-of-bread issues with the tomato toast.
Mixtape also does the intriguing-yet-flawed (a pastrami agnolotti; pork belly nuggets with a root beer BBQ sauce and pickled watermelon rind). So why not just pass?
The answer is that a few dishes are so damned good, it’s possible to assemble one of the year’s best new meals out of them. There’s a hearty, slightly spiced and caramelized poutine — Belgian-style fries mixed with shreddings of beef cheek. There’s a subtle, delicate, fried whole rainbow trout. And a buoyant chocolate bread pudding.
Mixtape is an extreme risk. As the cocktail list instructs, Choose Your Mood. Maybe you’re feeling Feisty, or Confident.
7450 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; 323-424-7044; Full bar; Closed Mon.
Recommended: Poutine ($15), whole trout ($29), chocolate bread pudding ($14)
Best Table: One of the recessed booths with sweeping views of the room.
This review is based on multiple visits. Reservations are made under another name. Meals are covered by THR.
This story first appeared in the Oct. 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.