Critic’s Notebook: Chaya Brasserie, Los Angeles


Chaya Brasserie’s recent nip/tuck was so subtle, I can barely spot the differences. The biggest change at this East/West classic (where tuna tartare was supposedly invented)? Now when I call to reserve a table, I’m asked which menu I prefer: the tasting menu (three or five courses) or the à la carte?

“I have no idea until I see both menus,” I say. Supposedly, each is reserved exclusively for one side of the restaurant or the other, but in the end, I’m offered both and told I can order from whichever. I can’t come up with a single combo on the prix fixe menus to get excited about. But the à la carte selections, oh yeah. House-cured salmon rillettes with wasabi cream. Foie gras and chicken liver parfait with yuzu jelly! Yellowtail crudo with Mexican mole? The mole isn’t so much a sauce as an essence—and it’s heavenly. 8741 Alden Drive, L.A., 310.859.8833


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