02 Apr Old Meets New at Faith & Flower
As new restaurants continue to open further and further east in Downtown LA, the new Faith & Flower is located in the heart of Downtown LA, on the corner of Flower and 9th, in the former short-lived Towne Food & Drink. This long-awaiting restaurant is the vision of David Bernahl and Rob Weakley from Coastal Luxury Management and Stephane Bombet, who opened Picca, Mo-Chica and Paiche.
Faith & Flower combines the glamour of old Hollywood with the modernity of current Downtown LA. Everywhere you look you will see a balance of old with new. As you walk in, the restaurant, which seats 140 people, is lined with sofas along the wall, and to your left is the bar and lounge with long communal tables. The main wall from the front entrance is made up of vintage doors from the early 1900s (except one that was a dressing room door for Bob Hope). No attention to detail has been spared, even the host stand is an original ticket booth from an old theater in Downtown, and plates are vintage. But then adjacent to the bar is a mural of a woman by renown street artist Robert Vargas.
Adorning the ceiling, is a large chandelier, using over 4,000 feet of chain and hanging just above the raw bar at the entrance, representing the old glamour while the light fixtures above the bar add an urban feeling.
At the helm of the bar is mixologist Michael Lay, who comes from other Coastal Luxury Management properties – Restaurant 1833 in Northern California and Rose.Rabbit.Lie in Las Vegas. The menu is inspired by Los Angeles the 1920s, and features a combination of classic cocktails and original recipes. We started with the crisp, light Angels Flight made with Denizen Rum, Yuzu, Palm Sugar and a Keffir Lime Leaf.
Once we sat down, we shifted to wines for the rest of the night. Jared Hooper is running the wine program and he and his staff are happy to suggest pairings for your courses. We left our choices to Jared who surprised us with some spot-on pairings.
Michael Hung, former chef de cuisine at San Francisco’s La Folie, is at the head of the kitchen, and desserts are by French Laundry alum Ben Spungin. The menu is eclectic and has influences that range from Asia to Morocco. And, our server Brian was very knowledgeable and friendly as he helped us select items from the menu.
The Sauteed Monterey Calamari with Moroccan Spiced Vinaigrette, served on grilled sourdough, was light and tender and cooked to perfection.
Dungeness Crab Toast with Jicama, Pickled Sea Beans and Green Goddess Aioli was packed with fresh crab and the pickled sea beans added a tart saltiness to the dish.
For the uni lovers out there, the Santa Barbara Uni with Fava Beans, Preserved Meyer Lemon and Watercress is dominated by the uni flavor.
For the first three dishes, Jared selected the 2013 Brokenwood Semillon from the Hunter Valley, Australia and the 2011 Trimbach Riesling from Alsace, France. The citrus and lemongrass notes of the Semillon paired beautifully with the crab toast, but I especially loved the minerality of the Riesling with all three dishes.
The Black Eyed Peas with Braised Greens and Smoked Bacon is a simple but hearty side dish that is full of flavor.
English Peas and Gold Beets with Smoked Sheep’s Milk Ricotta was delicate and ever-so-slightly sweet. The peas, beets and ricotta were all soft but the little crunch of tiny croutons added texture and a nice little surprise.
The Whole Tai Snapper Roasted in Seaweed and Embers and Charred Scallion Vinaigrette was presented table-side and was a light piece of fish with subtle Asian flavors. We enjoyed the Tai Snapper with the 2012 Girault “La Sillicieuse” Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, France and the 2012 La Cosecha Grenache Blanc, Rousane, Albarino blend from Santa Barbara, CA.
For dessert we had the Stumptown Coffee Bean Creme with Almond Sponge, Star Anise Meringue and Coconut Sorbet which had a rich coffee taste but was a light, almost airy dessert. My only complaint about the desserts was that in the low-lit restaurant, it was hard to see the light colored desserts on the white plates.
The Goat Yogurt Panna Cotta with Yuzu Granite, Puffed Wild Rice and Honey was tart and almost sour. It was a refreshing way to end the meal but I was partial to the creaminess of the other dessert.
Faith & Flower
705 W 9th St., Los Angeles, CA 90015