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Sweet and Savory

BY Lesley Balla | December 14, 2017 | Feature Features

Dominique Ansel goes way beyond the Cronut with his first full-service restaurant at The Grove.
A look inside the restaurant, which is located at The Grove

A ROLL ISN'T just a roll at Dominique Ansel’s new restaurant at The Grove. Pull-apart milk bread, a soft and airy Japanese-style roll, comes to the table in a purple corn husk. Shaved cotija cheese sits on top like a shower of the season’s first snow—or at least the fake snow that falls at the outdoor mall every Christmas. I pulled off a peg, took a bite, and it was filled with delightfully sweet-savory corn pudding. This is Ansel’s elote bread, a fun twist on dinner rolls inspired by his favorite street food: Mexican grilled corn. What else would you expect from the guy who created the croissant-doughnut hybrid that took the world by storm?
189 by Dominique Ansel is the first restaurant of its kind for the award-winning chef. After mastering the dessert and pastry program at Daniel in New York City, Ansel ventured out on his own to open a small bakery where he made amazing kouign amann, edible chocolate chip cookie shot glasses filled with vanilla-scented milk; and, of course, the iconic cream-filled, sugary Cronut that garnered (and still does) hourlong waits. He now has several bakeries and cafes in New York, London and Tokyo, but chose Los Angeles for his dream restaurant.

Set in the heart of The Grove, directly in front of the dancing fountain, Ansel’s two-story complex is a stunner. There’s a chic bakery and cafe on the first floor—mostly gleaming white, except for a couple of colorful murals and cases filled with beautiful treats. If you want quiche, fresh salads, a saucy sundried tomato chicken sandwich, frozen s’mores on a stick or a sweet little morsel that resembles a sort of Picasso-ed California sushi roll (but is in fact mousse and cake), this is where you’ll stop.

But make sure to go past that line—there is almost always a line at the bakery—and you’ll be whisked upstairs to a lovely dining room with a bustling little bar on one side and a fast-paced kitchen on the other. This is where Ansel’s new magic happens, where he and executive chef Hyun Lee create versions of familiar dishes with new twists.

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