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Every year Michelin releases its city guides and, inevitably, there are winners, losers and restaurants which keep their rating. Some new restaurants open to critical acclaim, earning a star(s) shortly after opening and others use the Michelin Plate and Michelin Bib recognition as a stepping stone to their star(s). Others, are happy to be high quality yet casual restaurants who aren't gauging their success based on the guide. I've previously written about the introduction of the Michelin Plate in a New York City piece, and again about its demise in a Los Angeles post when the recognition was removed from the guide in 2022 without notice. However, I never mentioned or wrote about the Michelin "Bib Gourmand" accreditation which was considered a higher ranking than the Plate, but below one Star, and has been in the guide's arsenal since 1997. You may have seen the logo of the Michelin Man licking his chops, and similar to the Plate designation, it's awarded to restaurants that have been recognized for offering a high standard cuisine for a reasonable price, i.e. an appetizer, entrée and dessert for $45 USD. Perhaps their similarity is why the guide made away with the Plate. No celebrity sightings, but definitely some exceptional cuisine. These are some of Los Angele's Michelin Bib restaurants - and their respective neighborhood.
Son of a Gun - Beverly Grove
On the trendy strip of unique shops, vintage clothing boutiques and hip cafes of West 3rd Street, you'll also find Son of a Gun restaurant. Opened since 2011, SoaG is one of four restaurant concepts by O.G. Los Angeles chefs & restauranteurs, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo. Resembling what a game lodge in the middle of LA would look like, the space is adorned with nautical & hunting trinkets up to the ceiling to match their modern take on a surf & turf based menu. The atmosphere is light and playful, but they are serious about, and well known for, their Nashville Hot Fried Chicken Sandwich. Still, I had to go with the Lobster Roll and a unique approach to Big Eye Tuna. At the time of its inception, SoaG was the duos third concept together, part of a partnership that has been running strong for over a decade. Of their four restaurant concepts, Chefs Jon & Vinny have impressively earned Michelin Bibs at three of them. For more information visit www.SunofaGunRestaurant.com.
Lobster Roll, Celery, Lobster Aioli
Big Eye Tuna, Leche De Tigre, Avocado
This is pounded Big Eye Tuna wrapped around fresh guacamole in a citrus-base marinade.
Despite the kick in this homemade leche de tigre I enjoyed every spoonful. I've never had anything so refreshing, yet both spicy and smooth thanks to the extra virgin olive oil. Genius.
The Micheline Guide's "Bib Gourmand" logo, originating from the Michelin Man. Yes, from the tires.
Jon & Vinnys - Fairfax
Los Angeles is known for setting trends and pushing boundaries, wether it be fashion, food, cinema, etc. This newest experimental concept is centered around the senses, more specifically visual and taste. An LA based chef duo have proven that taste bud receptors are enhanced when food is served and consumed in a fully immersed environment of ultra violet light. ... Although it's a little early for April fools, I am indeed joking.
Chefs Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo are at it again with their Italian Michelin Bib offering, namesake restaurant, Jon & Vinny's Italian. Yes indeed, I'm talking about the same J&V from Son of a Gun restaurant above. No, I was not paid for this post (unfortunately), just call it a coincidence. Since opening their first location on Fairfax in 2015, there are now four J&V's Italian locations throughout LA. Two years after establishing their homemade pasta and casual Italian menu, the duo would go on to create an impressive partnership with Delta Airlines to cater long haul flights out of LAX, pleasing both patrons on the ground, and in the skies.
I know, I left you hanging on the ultra violet light joke; After the sun sets on the sleek, all wood dining space, and there's no more natural light shining through the sky lights, the restaurant lighting becomes intimate. Furthermore, if you happen to be sitting next to the large purple neon sign advertising the wine shop, Hellen's, in the back of the restaurant...your photos turn out purple too. I never use flash in a restaurant, (and you shouldn't either).
I don't say this often about food I've enjoyed at a restaurant, and don't tell my grand mother, but J&V's ricotta ravioli may be the best constructed ravioli I've ever hard. The dough was thick yet delicate and not chewy. The ravioli was 100% filled with slightly sweet ricotta, but not watery in the slightest; A++! For diners with a sweet tooth, J&V's offer soft serve cream ice cream for dessert at breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. For more information visit www.JonandVinnys.com .
"Bronx Bomber" - Fennel Sausage, Tomato, Mozzarella, Onion, Garlic, Oregano
Jon & Vinny's Italian interior - source
Ricotta Ravioli, Pomodoro, Parmigiano
Perhaps the best constructed Ravioli I've ever had.
Cavatelli, Fennel Sausage, Fennel Pollen, Breadcrumbs, Kale
Strauss Family Creamery Soft Serve Vanilla & Chocolate Twist
(The only acceptable way to order soft serve, in my opinion 😎)
Kazan - Carthay
Translating to "volcano" this diner can attest that, truly, Kazan's homemade soba noodles are an explosion of savory flavors. Being uninitiated to the world of ramen and even less to the plethora of options in LA, I felt it was a sign from the noodle gods when I read "No.1 Upscale Ramen Restaurant in Los Angeles". Not only are Kazan's delicious soba noodles homemade, but they are made in their onsite noodle lab, in the restaurant's front window, using customized equipment. With 10 years of experience and now on his second ramen restaurant venture, Chef Ryu Isobe has created his own signature noodles using a fusion of French and Japanese techniques. This perfectly al-dente noodle sets Kazan apart, and although some might see it as non-traditional, the use of upscale ingredients like lamb chops and truffle oil will keep patrons thinking "Kazan" every time they think "ramen". Made fresh daily noodles and rich stock, Chef Ryu's bold East meets West flavor combinations have earned Kazan the Bib Gourmand distinction. Diners can enjoy both casual outdoor seating or in the dinning room showcasing an intricate wood designed ceiling and feature wall resembling palm frons. The truffle seasoning and Chef's signature chicken based broth were so creamy and delicious, that by the time I was done with my pork ramen, much like the Michelin Man, I was licking my lips too. For more information on Kazan visit www.KazanBeverlyHills.com.
Sake Crispy Wings
Chicken Wings Smoked in Sake overnight, with Japanese Seven Spices, Fresh Lemon and Soy Sauce
Kazan's Original Hirauchi Soba Noodle, Pork, homemade Shrimp Wontons,
in a creamy, rich both with Truffle seasoning, White Onions and Parsley
Where the magic happens. Restaurant front and kitchen where Chef makes fresh noodles daily.
From some of the most tasty Big Gourmand spots on the busy streets of LA to a secluded island in the French West Indies. Get a glimpse into beach front dining gems on the island of St-Barths, here.