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If you’re taking in a show at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Ahmanson Theatre or the Walt Disney Concert Hall, be sure to take in the food at Kendall’s Brasserie first. This gorgeous, fine-dining gem by the Patina Group is conveniently located at the Music Center, mere paces away from some of the best arts venues in Los Angeles County. And the food is like a perfect prelude or exciting first act.
The sprawling dining room is elegant yet comfortable, outfitted with cushy booths and an assortment of tables for parties large and small. Despite the spaciousness, Kendall’s fills up fast on show nights, so get there by 6:00pm and let your server know your curtain time. The staff are all extremely mindful that many customers are heading to the theatre after dinner and they move you through your meal accordingly without making you feel rushed.
On a recent visit, I was hurrying to make a 7:00pm curtain and had plenty of time to enjoy my meal after a 5:45pm arrival time.
I started with soup to warm things up on a chilly Los Angeles evening. The French onion soup proved a delectable first course, a steaming cup of perfectly seasoned broth topped with a thick layer of heavenly Swiss cheese. It’s almost a meal in and of itself, but I made sure to leave room for the meal ahead. A salad came next, mixed baby greens with grapes, St. Nectaire cheese and ice wine vinaigrette. In contrast to the comforting soup, the salad was a crisp, cool pick-me-up.
For the main course, it’s hard to choose between the seafood selections, pasta dishes, poultry and other protein offerings here. The slow braised short rib called my name, as did the herb-crusted rack of lamb with garlic confit sauce. Ultimately, my love of seafood won the battle when I opted for the grilled salmon served with soft polenta and chanterelle mushrooms. After one bite of this perfectly flaky fish filet, it was clear I had made the right selection. The salmon is melt-in-your mouth delicious, and the moist polenta was a perfect pairing. Seafood is truly the central attraction here, with offerings such as the plateau prestige ($59), a platter that includes prawns, oysters, New Zealand green mussels, littleneck clams, diver scallops on the half shell and half a Maine lobster.
It’s easy to see why Kendall’s is so popular. Though fine dining is the main draw, they’ll accommodate those simply stopping in for a glass of wine and a cheese plate, or coffee and dessert. The lemon cheesecake is a wonderfully sweet indulgence, a medley of fruity flavors that includes orange curd and raspberries. The bar area is usually crowded with gaggles of business people or theatre-goers sipping wine. Corporate meetings and private affairs are often booked here due to the exquisite menu and convenient downtown locale.
After dinner, it took me three minutes to walk to the Mark Taper Forum and I was in my seat with plenty of time to spare. Had I not hit Kendall’s before the show, my evening would certainly not have been complete. Patina Group chef Joachim Splichal can’t seem to go wrong – he certainly hits all the right notes at Kendall’s Brasserie.
Kendall’s Brasserie is located at 135 N. Grand Ave.
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