If you’re looking for an upscale dining experience but also want comfort food, then Towne Food & Drink in downtown Los Angeles is your place.
Helmed by Executive Chef Ryan Morrison, who spent time with Chef Scott Conant’s hospitality group, including as chef de cuisine at Scarpetta Beverly Hills, and consulting chef Eric Hara (Citronelle, davidburke & donatella, Chez Josephine, Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel), Towne is a delightful mix of high and low. Its New American menu features a variety of internationally influenced flavors prepared in a contemporary style. This philosophy extends to the dessert and cocktail menus, which are filled with updated versions of old favorites.
For example, the Kampachi Tacos are made with Mexican avocado, Japanese hijiki, Peruvian aji amirillo and French crème fraîche. It’s like the storied melting pot of America in your mouth.
Then there’s the Bone Marrow Matzo Ball Soup with shiitake mushrooms and beef consommé. This upscale version of Jewish comfort food may even be a bit over the top, but the idea works with the menu as a whole.
My personal favorites include the Lobster Mac, a decadent plate of pasta and cheese rolls topped with lobster, and the Lobster Smokey Pig in a Blanket, a lobster sausage wrapped in a delicate dough and topped with mustard seed relish and lobster mayo. The Wood Grilled Octopus, made in the restaurant’s wood-fire oven and served with roasted tomato purée and crisp artichokes atop a dramatic smear of squid ink, is a must-try. The smokiness of the oven complements the perfectly cooked octopus beautifully.
If you want to go big, get the Crispy Pork Shank (pictured above), which is cooked sous vide and then deep fried to achieve a crisp skin while maintaining a fall-apart tenderness inside. It’s served with sweet and sour cabbage, whole grain mustard spaetzle and mustard jus for a hearty meal.
Then there’s dessert. Executive Pastry Chef Tamara Davis (Aquavit, Boule, Bottega Louie) has created a cornucopia of house-made, fancy versions of childhood favorites, including Twinkies, doughnuts, cupcakes and Push-Up ice cream, which are my favorite here.
Do not leave Towne without ordering a cocktail. Consulting mixologist Jason Bran (STK, XIV, Roger Room) has created a menu with classics and twists on childhood drinks. The South Park with Zava rum, Punt e Mes vermouth and Amargo Chuncho Peruvian bitters is a satisfying brown-and-stirred drink. And then there are the fun drinks: the CoCo Punch made with Jim Beam bourbon, Cocoa Pebbles cereal milk, nutmeg and cocoa pebbles garnish; the Pisco Hawaiian Punch with BarSol Quebranta pisco, apricot brandy and house-made Hawaiian Punch served in a Styrofoam cup; and the pitcher of Towne Kool-Aid with vodka, lime and a Towne Kool-Aid packet. They’re all good, and they’ll all put a smile on your face.
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Note: This meal was hosted.