Circus on stage but not on the plate | REVIVE at Vibiana by Chef Neal Fraser’s Redbird, Los Angeles, CA

By Sophie Gayot

When the circus invites itself to your table

Downtown Los Angeles, June 18, 2022

REVIVE at Vibiana
June 18-July 24, 2022
• Thurs.-Sat. 6:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.; Sun. 5:00 p.m.
• Cocktail, 4-course dinner and a show
• Duration 2 hours and 15 minutes
• Price $250

• 214 South Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
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The 1876 Saint Vibiana cathedral, located in downtown Los Angeles, became an event space in the late 2000s. From the cult of the faith, it has morphed into the cult of culinary and elegant times. Chef Neal Fraser and his wife, Amy Knoll Fraser, have been the masters of ceremony since 2012 when they took over. The restaurant Redbird was installed in the rectory, serving modern American cuisine. Proved by its longevity and the always-packed tables and lounge, chef Fraser must be doing a steady, delicious job in the kitchen—indeed, he does. This summer, for six weeks, the pair has brought San Francisco-based circus Vau de Vire Society under the arcades of the cathedral.

The evening starts with a cocktail party in the courtyard bathed by Los Angeles’ shining stars in the sky. We were welcomed by a gracious mermaid, (yes, they exist, I insist, I even got to entertain a conversation with her), and live singing and piano. Hors d’œuvres and drinks are served and a pre-performance is happening. It’s time to admire some of the dresses the lady guests are wearing. Funny enough, they did not talk to each other beforehand, but, inspired by the circus ’20s theme, they chose ’20s fashion to wrap their bodies. You should try your best when you go; gentlemen are encouraged do the same.

Then comes the part when you enter the majestic cathedral where you will discover that you will be dining right along the catwalks. This a great idea as it makes a total immersion into the show. All the seats are good as the performance is happening right there, in front, above and behind your plate. While dining on chef Fraser’s cuisine, you will enjoy the acts of forty circus performers, aerialists, acrobats and dancers with an original score by Angelo Moore of Fishbone and his band Missing Links with a back-dropped light show.

These are acrobatic and culinary moments to remember.

Here is the menu of the cocktail party:
– Crispy Artichoke, Lemon Aioli, Romesco Breadcrumbs (vegan)
– Spanish Octopus, Salsa Macha, Seville Orange (gf)
– Chicken Liver Mousse Tart, Pickled Cherries, Lemon Balm
– A complimentary welcome drink by Redbird | Vibiana Bar Director Tobin Shea (additional beverages are sold separately).

Here is the dinner menu:
– First course: Jubilee Watermelon Salad with Opal Basil, Wild Rocket, Goat Feta and Riesling Vinaigrette (gf)
– Second course: Peruvian Scallop Crudo with California Olive Oil, Yuzu Kosho and Land Caviar; Vegan option Marinated Hearts of Palm, California Olive Oil, Yuzu Kosho and Land Caviar (gf, vegan)
– Third course: Creekstone Farms Filet Mignon with Black Truffle Polenta, Charred Rapini Ragout and Porcini Jus (gf); Vegan option BBQ Smoked Tofu with Black Truffle Polenta, Charred Rapini Ragout and Porcini Jus (gf, vegan)
– Dessert: Valrhona Chocolate Cake with Green Farm Strawberries and Chantilly (gf)

Photos ©