There were major tears when Broken Spanish closed up shop. But when that favorite restaurant shut its doors, luckily another one (again led by famed chef Ray Garcia) opened. Enter Asterid, a restaurant that is nothing at all like Broken Spanish. It’s not even Mexican-inspired. But does it meet the high expectations? Here’s the review.
Asterid Los Angeles arrived earlier this year, settled into the old iconic Patina space. Located in Downtown Los Angeles, Asterid is on the ground floor of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The restaurant is in a modern contemporary setting, with a decor that matches what the food aspires to achieve. The room is minimalist, stark and a bit cold — metal combined with wood throughout.
The front room has a bar, but this really isn’t a place you come to socialize. Asterid is where you come to eat. The busiest time for the restaurant is at early-bird hours when there’s a performance next door. Past 8:30pm, the atmosphere is more low-key, and waitstaff have more time to spend with you.
First, let’s level-set. I wanted to absolutely love this restaurant. I was a huge fan of B.S. Taqueria and Broken Spanish, and so I was rooting for Ray Garcia. In a vacuum, the cuisine at Asterid is creative and combines unique flavors. However, if you’ve been to Shukette in NYC or at least to Eyal Shani’s restaurants, the cuisine here isn’t that original. I also have to be a bit harsh and say that — sorry — it’s not as good.
Asterid is billed as modern California cuisine, but I don’t quite understand what’s California about it. The menu has more of an Israeli and Middle Eastern influence, with ingredients like aleppo yogurt, sultanas, and sumac sprinkled throughout. Items like sunchoke rosti with a sunflower crème fraîche and strawberry pepper jam sound interesting, but taste a lot more straightforward.
The cauliflower romanesco, carrots with black garlic and dill yogurt, and maitake mushrooms are all part of a been-there-done-that approach. Tasty, but nothing that inspired discussion or analysis. I had high hopes for the Mexican-inspired aguachile with melon, cucumber, and serrano, but once again, I’ve had this dish at so many restaurants. I’m puzzled by the outstanding reviews from my go-to resources; sometimes I wondered if I dined at the same restaurant.
I continue to see beautiful food on Asterid’s Instagram feed; it seems the restaurant does a lot of private parties. If I lived in Bel Air and planned to throw a shindig, then maybe that’s where I’d go.
I love waiters aspiring to be actors, and commend them for the hustle to make it happen any way they can. Unlike Katsuya though, where everyone is a model and actor, I would venture to say that most of Asterid LA’s staff are restaurant veterans. The service was right on point from start to finish, and the team here clearly believes in chef Garcia and what they’re selling at Asterid LA.
It’s certainly one of the better options if you find yourself downtown. I just wouldn’t leave my neighborhood or go out of my way for Asterid LA.
Q: Is Asterid Los Angeles open for lunch?
A: Asterid is not open for lunch, only for brunch on Sundays. Hours are below.
Q: Is Asterid LA good for families?
A: The food here isn’t your straightforward buttered noodles, so unless your kids are mini-gourmands, it isn’t ideal.
Q: Is Asterid a formal restaurant?
A: It’s California casual, which is one of its selling points for a restaurant that focuses on high-end cuisine.