Before performances at the Music Center, theater guests dine on soulful dishes prepared by executive chef Jason Fullilove at Abernethy’s while enjoying the dancing fountains on the plaza.
Abernethy’s offers a unique dining experience, selecting established and emerging chefs whose culinary talent and entrepreneurship appeal to the culturally diverse neighborhoods in Los Angeles.
Fullilove also oversees Barbara Jean, his eatery at the Urban Food Hall at The Fields LA.
Fullilove is wowing pretheater and downtown L.A. locals at Abernethy’s with his made-from-scratch dishes filled with natural, nutrient-rich California fresh produce.
The inspiration for Fullilove’s menu is to provide guests an opportunity to explore lighter and healthier soul food dishes and perhaps keep theater goers from dozing off while sitting in the comfortable theater seats.
“We’ve really flexed some creative muscle to craft a menu that feels elevated and decadent, yet balanced, with the signature down-home flavors and fresh ingredients that I love,” Fullilove said.
His organic wheat buttermilk biscuits are served on a wooden board with a slab of butter, a side of shaved ham and a ceramic bowl filled with an exquisite pepper jam.
The grilled Little Gem salad is served with two grilled heads of lettuce, offering a smoky aroma and flavor. Cara-Cara orange wedges, cubes of roasted yellow and red beets, and thin, crunchy sourdough tuile are artistically scattered around the plate, which is lightly dressed with a pleasing horseradish vinaigrette.
Fullilove, who has been at the head of Abernethy’s kitchen for a month, has already received accolades for his deviled crab toast.
“It’s one of our most popular brunch and dinner dishes,” Fullilove said.
A grilled piece of sourdough bread is topped with colorful ingredients including a slightly tart and citrusy yuzu kosho aioli. Layers of sliced avocado and bright yellow florets made from deviled egg yolk add a pop of color. Succulent white lump crab meat and an orange trout roe heighten the toast.
Vegetarian diners can order an acorn squash rice porridge served with corn, fennel puree and a sprinkling of herbs. Fullilove also prepares a curry-fried cauliflower, offering a kick with kimchi and Sriracha.
My favorite dish is the creative pulled pork agnolotti, which is served with a comforting charred cream corn broth. A touch of lemon nage and curried pumpkin balance the savory and sweetness profiles. Sprigs of parsley and tasty popcorn shoots offer a hint of earthiness and sweet corn flavor with each bite.
Finish off your meal with a slice of buttermilk pie, which is similar to an apple tarte tatin and adorned with caramelized apples.
Make a pre-theater reservation before 6 p.m. Fullilove said he usually feeds about 300 guests before 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Seating at the bar is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
By 7:30 p.m., theater patrons pay their check and head over to see Sting’s “The Last Ship” or “What the Constitution Means to Me,” so locals and walk-in diners can secure a table more easily following their departure.
Since Fullilove is only here for one more month, make a reservation before he leaves his rotating chef post. $$ 220 N. Hope St., Los Angeles, (213)972-8088.
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