Rotisserie chicken with black garlic spaetzle, bok choy and chicken jus
Walking up to The Manufactory LA, you’re overwhelmed by the siren smell of sourdough. You know, the one that beckoned as you finally got to the front of the line at that little San Francisco bakery all those years ago and saw Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson working boules on their wooden workbench. Tartine was worth the wait back then. And their latest project downtown is worth the wait now.
The Manufactory LA—a collaboration between James Beard Award-winning chefs Prueitt and Robertson (co-founders of San Francisco’s iconic Tartine Bakery) and Chris Bianco of Phoenix’s legendary Pizzeria Bianco—is one of L.A.’s most hotly anticipated openings of late. It’s taken an inordinate amount of time to open, and it’s still not at full capacity. But that’s understandable given how difficult it is to open a restaurant in Los Angeles, especially one of this size and scope.
Within The Manufactory LA, Tartine Bianco offers breakfast, lunch and dinner.
To call this a restaurant is a bit of a disservice; it’s really more of a development-within-a-development. Located at ROW DTLA, The Manufactory LA occupies nearly 40,000 square feet and includes a bakery, a coffee and ice cream window, a retail marketplace, an all-day cafe, a dinner-and-weekend-brunch-only restaurant, a coffee lab and a coffee roastery.
It’s admittedly a bit overwhelming entering the space, trying to decipher where to go first. In the first few weeks, the staff was similarly overwhelmed: During one lunch service, they were unable to even take down names for seats for another hour. But two months in, the dining room at Tartine Bianco, The Manufactory LA’s seasonal, all-day cafe, is firing on all cylinders.
This is the food you fell in love with at Tartine in San Francisco—which is to say, the focus is on seasonal California cooking. And, of course, the bread. You absolutely want to order their chicken liver tartine, a hearty slice that’s slathered in smooth terrine, then dotted with dollops of fresh kumquat curd and little slivers of blood orange. It’s a chicken liver toast that gives the iconic version from Animal a run for its money. Paired with the deceivingly simple-sounding buttermilk little gem salad with shaved fennel and crushed hazelnuts, and a crisp Sancerre rosé, it’s exactly the meal you want to be eating on Tartine Bianco’s outdoor patio in the spring and summer.
On the cozier side, there’s a large-format Colorado lamb shank with spinach, sunchoke, salsa de semillas and toum (you know, like that garlic sauce from Zankou Chicken) that’s worth a try. There’s also a hearty selection of dips, like eggplant with fermented peppers, or butter bean hummus with kale furikake and chile oil. To sop them up, you definitely need to order a large basket of bread. (Leftovers are coming home, and you’ll be thankful.)
The Alpine Amari Quince “Collins”: pastry cream-washed rye whiskey, fresh citrus and aromatized wine
There’s also a wicked wine list from the likes of wine consultant Taylor Parsons and chief sommelier Jake Malmberg, whom many know from his time managing the programs at Osteria Mozza and République. The cocktails are worth noting too. There’s a really fun and funky menu that includes a savory section, as well as drinks made from ferments like kefir and kombucha, a tactic that’s not only delicious but also helps offset oft-wasted produce from the kitchen. And since you can write that off as #health, that means you can clearly justify dessert, another given considering the pedigree of the chefs at hand. The pastry team makes a fantastic brownie sundae ice cream, as well as a knockout spiced spelt date cake topped with brandy toffee sauce and orange Creamsicle ice cream.
But here’s the real pro move: Grab yourself a hunk of cheese from the market on the way out to go along with your leftover bread for the next day. You can thank me later.
Malted brownie sundae with burnt caramel and banana
THE MANUFACTORY LA
Prices Cocktails, $13-$17; small plates, $12-$24; large plates, $30-$42; desserts, $11-$13
Hours Tartine Bianco: 8am-10pm; The Market: 8am-7pm; Ice Cream + Coffee Window: 7:30am-4:30pm; Alameda Supper Club: Sun.-Thu., 5-10pm; Fri.-Sat., 5-11pm
Photography by: Dylan + Jeni and Jakob Layman