A Quintessential L.A. Restaurant | Mr. T, Los Angeles, CA
Mr. T, from City of Lights to City of Angels, a restaurant of contradictions
Los Angeles, CA, November 2022
• GAYOT’s Rating: 14/20
• Cuisine: California
• Open: Dinner Tues.-Sat. 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.
• Mr. T is on GAYOT’s:
– 10 Best Outdoor Dining Restaurants Los Angeles
– Best Hollywood & Mid-City Outdoor Dining Restaurants
– Best LA Restaurants for California Cuisine.
I am not sure why Mr. T claims it serves French cuisine, adding that it is “contemporary.” Yes, Guillaume Guedj, the restaurateur behind it is French and operates restaurants in Paris, including the original Mr. T in Le Marais, where Japanese chef Tsuyoshi Miyazaki (hence, Mr. T) is behind the stoves, but…
As you step down from the street, you are welcomed by majestic olive trees planted on the patio. There, it starts to kind of give it away that you are entering a space with more of a California vibe than a French one. Olive trees are mainly to be found in the south of France, and they are synonymous with Provençal cuisine, not contemporary French dishes. Continue walking around the outdoor lounge and patio and the inside, showcasing a large marble bar and a totally open kitchen. These areas are a modern and well-done conceptualization of a Los Angeles restaurant design. Keeping in consideration that L.A. is a city where you can dine outside almost all year round, the designer has integrated and combined the outdoor with the indoor and vice versa. The role is played by the floor-to-ceiling wood frame windows that completely open. The rest of the decorative elements are on the sleek and somewhat industrial side, except for the two booths with red leather banquettes (see photo gallery below).
When it comes to the food, chef Miyazaki along with chef de cuisine Alisha Vannah have elaborated a menu that is très L.A., bringing together ingredients and dishes from around world. The task must have been eased by chef de cuisine Vannah since she is a Los Angeles native and has worked in a few reputed restaurants around town. Here are a few examples:
– Mr. T Lamb Kebab comprises bites of roasted lamb with tzatziki and spicy aïoli
– The “Uni” is a confit egg yolk set on koshihikari rice topped with sea urchin; a must-have
– “Thai” Tuna Crudo is prepared with big eye tuna, nam jim vinaigrette, red flame grapes, jalapeño oil
– in the Summer Caprese, za’atar brings Middle Eastern accents
– Bucatini a la Tequila is where Italy meets Mexico
– Scottish Salmon Kabocha Curry is served with banana leaf steamed vegetables, Japanese pumpkin in a curry sauce
– Pain perdu au chocolat, even though decadent, it is very light with its mascarpone, Amaretto cream on which hot chocolate is poured (see video below, that includes a champagne bottle blindfolded sabrage).
On the less “united colors of ingredients” side, you will find Oeufs Cocotte Caviar served with a cauliflower mousse, almond and crouton; Mr. T Mac N Cheese made with rigatoni, truffle oil, the noble Comté cheese flambé and wild mushroom; a striped bass flavored with a miso sabayon sauce; or a hanger steak frites with a black peppercorn sauce; to be finished by an apple Pithiviers and its vanilla ice cream, (see video below).
Another member of the staff who is happy is wine director Matthew Turner: he is at the helm of an impressive wine list that includes beautiful French wine labels and verticals. Turner knows what he is talking about, he was the opening wine director at Wally’s on Cañon Drive in Beverly Hills.
In conclusion: do not head to Mr. T expecting to dine on French cuisine (like I did), but to immerse yourself in tasty and pungent flavors from around the world that will make you want to return to this venue both vibrant by the décor and peaceful by the greenery.