Hot New Restaurant -- Mess Hall
THR’s pick of the week for industry dining finds elevated New American standards at a storied address in Los Feliz.
The Quick Pitch: Recently just another Italian cog in the generic Louise’s Trattoria chain, this historic Eastside property (see below) has been brought back to the Zeitgeist by the same ownership as an astute, decidedly on-trend meditation on all-American eats. Which is to say that the Caesar salad features kale lettuce and the ahi tuna entrée a whiskey-peppercorn sauce, while mustard greens, white cheddar grits and Tabasco butter accompany the center-cut pork chop. For dessert, the classic S’more can’t help but be a deconstructed interpretation: chocolate cake bread pudding, marshmallow ice cream and graham cracker tuile.
The Insider’s Dish: Cecil B. DeMille purchased the property in 1940, turning it into the last L.A. branch of the Brown Derby mini empire. (Its architecture remains intact.) By the 1990s, it was known as just the Derby and was the center of the neo-swing revival, where bands like the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy performed. The space was immortalized during this incarnation in Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn’s Swingers.
The Must-Order Item: Corn on the cob covered in smoked tomato butter.
The Industry Neighbor: Shonda Rhimes’ shingle ShondaLand.
4500 Los Feliz Blvd., L.A., 323.660.6377, messhallkitchen.com