City Guide: Los Angeles

Leaving the Beloved Animal to Create a Critic’s Darling in Koreatown

Read about Lien ›

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

Read about Scott ›

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 ›

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

Read about Stephen ›

Seating the Stars at an Old-School Hollywood Institution

Read about Christian ›
Dining in an 1876 Cathedral with Neal Fraser
After opening a handful of beloved Hollywood spots, a chef brings his knives—and zealous imagination—downtown

“I want to do a Per Se at Burning Man,” muses Redbird chef Neal Fraser. This is just one of his many Dali-esque ideas (he also once cooked a tasting menu for food bloggers made with McDonald’s ingredients), but then, his five-years-in-the-making restaurant is housed inside a historic Roman Catholic cathedral, and was called “a grand pleasure machine” by the L.A. Times. Fraser draws influences from his travels (he vividly remembers a butterfish baked in clay in Kyoto, served with mountain vegetables in season just three days out of the year, and he cried when he tried Dan Barber’s food at Blue Hill Farm) but can just as vividly glean from the Los Angeles gems just under his nose: Torigoya Robata and Angelini Osteria are a couple of places he frequents. Fraser says the food at Redbird nods towards Mexican, Korean, Japanese, Chinese and South American flavors, and his favorite ingredients are wild game, kabocha squash and dover sole. He loves being in downtown Los Angeles because it’s not driven by one thing, meaning, of course, “the industry.” He shakes his head when he recalls the 2007 writers’ strike, which cut his business in half. (He then had two restaurants on Beverly Boulevard, flocked by writers and directors.) Today, though, with Downtown’s recent openings of the Broad Museum and Hauser Wirth Gallery, plus MOCA right across the street and Disney Hall less than a mile away, a date downtown now offers a cosmopolitan one-two punch: see some art, eat some art. As if we needed any more reason to go, now the Metro can carry us there all the way from Santa Monica if we please.

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114 E 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

“A date downtown now offers a cosmopolitan one-two punch: see some art, eat some art.”