City Guide: Los Angeles

Getting the Dirt with Abbott Kinney Up-and-Comer Scott Winegard

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Reinventing Chicken Wings in Culver City

Read about Akasha ›

Vegan Mexican Food Was This Chef’s Lifelong Dream—Now It’s an A-List Hotspot

Read about Chandra ›

Dining in an 1876 Cathedral with Neal Fraser

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Waking Up A Tired Stretch of Melrose with New Wave Riviera Cuisine

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Seating the Stars at an Old-School Hollywood Institution

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Leaving the Beloved Animal to Create a Critic’s Darling in Koreatown
Here’s Looking at You owner Lien Ta wanted to open a chef-driven restaurant. In her eyes, that chef could only be Jonathan Whitener.

“This place is a story about Jonathan growing up in Southern California,” says Lien Ta, co-owner of Here’s Looking at You with Chef Jonathan Whitener. “He grew up in a Mexican household and he learned about food three times a day. Even at school, he was swapping lunches with all the Japanese and Vietnamese kids.” Here’s Looking At You joins Commissary, Le Comptoir and Guelaguetza as the new guard of non-Korean restaurants opening in Koreatown. When Ta heard of the location through a friend and now, landlord, she immediately contacted Whitener, who she met while managing at Animal (the Fairfax restaurant that launched the careers of both Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, and the "snout to tail" movement in Los Angeles). Whitener was the chef de cuisine there for three years, and Ta had been carefully watching his talent bloom. “I asked Jonathan to come see the available space, and he drew me a menu. It was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen.” Now months after the place has opened, Whitener’s dishes are still Willy Wonka-esque in their whimsy, yet mastered in their references and execution. Dabblers from Venice to the Valley are flocking for the baked yellowtail collar, coated with burnt red "Nashville spice," topped with wafer-thin apple slices and pickled snake beans, or the heady, fennel and mustard seed-spiked veal sweetbreads. Such delights are a fine interlude to bubble-gum ice cream infused with lychee and botanicals, and inspired cocktails like the Almost-Original Mai Tai (which takes its cue from Trader Vic's) that are on par with any serious bar program in town. Completing a multi-sensory experience, the music pops off on a whole other layer. “Jonathan makes all the playlists,” says Ta. “It’s a lot of old school hip-hop or 80s hits. One whole list revolves around Kanye West or 90s rock songs you forgot you loved.” This place is definitely a story about growing up in Southern California—and about Southern California growing up.

Here's Looking At You
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3901 West 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90020-4202

“I asked Jonathan to come see the available space, and he drew me a menu. It was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen.”