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I have been traveling so much over the past few months that I feel like I have been out of touch with the Los Angeles restaurant scene. When my friend mentioned that we would head to Yapa after our tour of Lost Spirits Distillery the other night, I was excited to try somewhere new but knew nothing about the restaurant. I was feeling disconnected until I realized that Yapa only opened a couple weeks ago! Instead of being late to the game, I am on time! Yapa is located in Little Tokyo, just on the the border of Skid Row. Also known as Skid Row-kyo, this is where Little Tokyo, the Artist District and Skid Row converge. Yapa took over the space that was previously Seoul Sausage and is the project of Josh Goldman and Richie Lopez.
Journey under the sea at Little Tokyo's newest bar, The Mermaid LA. Tucked among Japanese restaurants and next door to a cleaners in the Honda Plaza in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo, The Mermaid is a tropical themed bar serving cocktails and food in a sort of underwater oasis. The long rectangular space is outfitted with dark wood and rich leather banquets. The sunken bar runs along one parallel wall. Overall, there is a somewhat old-school feel to the space. And, at the far end of the bar is a portal window with a mermaid swimming and smiling at you.
Youthful, passionate, energetic, driven, professional, tasty....these are just some of the descriptions that come to mind about Baldoria in Little Tokyo. Baldoria, which is Italian for a "revelry, merrymaking, a good time," is a restaurant that is celebrating the good things in life. It is about small plates and shared plates; it is about good food, good wine and good drink. Baldoria This little neighborhood gem is also about friendship and fun. It is owned and run by David King, Duke Gervais, Matt Bostick and Aaron Justice. Owner David King previously worked as a sommelier at Mozza and was the beverage director and partner at Cube. It was at Cube that he met chef Duke Gervais and Aaron Justice, who oversees the front of house at Baldoria. It was at Mozza where King met Matt Bostick who is the beverage director at Baldoria. David KingDuke Gervais Matt BostickAaron Justice and Andrea Mai-Tran Baldoria has only been open a few months but the level of professionalism makes it seem as if the restaurant has been open for years. It is because these four guys, who are all in their early 30s, have such great respect for each other, as well as respect and passion for what they are doing. They come from fine dining backgrounds which is reflected in the professionalism and seamless service.