Chef Michael Beckman’s Workshop Kitchen & Bar has been a hit in Palm Springs since it opened a decade ago. Now he’s bringing an outpost of the French-inspired restaurant to his hometown of Los Angeles.
The new spot, which opened Friday in LA’s Fairfax District, is serving up two different tasting menus, with a number of supplemental courses and “for the table” dishes. The first five-course tasting option ($90) features fish and beef dishes such as halibut with sauce bouillabaisse, morels, pickled Fresno and tom kha foam, as well as hanger steak with artichokes, beurre rouge and herb salad. The second ($75) is a fully plant-based offering, with plates such as compressed melon with rhubarb tea, blood orange, fennel oil and radish, as well as scarlet runner beans with roasted red pepper coulis, black garlic aioli, okra, tomato confit and nasturtium flowers. Much of the produce is locally sourced, from the Santa Monica or Hollywood farmers’ market, or even Beckman’s own garden.
In terms of add-ons to the prix fixe menus, you can get wood-fired babaganoush or chicken-fried oyster mushrooms for the table. A truffle pizza from the wood-burning oven will set you back an extra $50—but it might be worth it, thanks to the toppings of sungold tomato coulis, shallot marmalade and Australian winter truffle. For dessert, you can opt in to the traveling cheese cart, with a selection of local cheeses, homemade bread and vintage dessert wines.
To accompany all that food, the sommelier Vincent Samarco has curated two optional wine pairings: The $65 version is all local California wines, while the $85 one consists of aged and vintage varietals. There’s also a 240-bottle wine list, if you’d prefer to pick your own poison. And if you’re more of a cocktail person, the head bartender Jessi Lorraine has come up with some creative drink options, such as the Kitchen Sink Martini (gin, blanc and dry vermouths, orange bitters, lemon oil and seasonal pickles) and the Queen of Hearts (tequila blanco, blood orange vermouth, Chareau, salted watermelon cordial and sparkling Chenin Blanc).
The food and drinks themselves are beautifully plated and poured, and that artistry extends to Workshop’s design. In fact, the décor and layout may be one of the more stunning parts of the restaurant. Soaring 20-foot ceilings have allowed for traditional booths to be replaced by tall concrete dining “cocoons,” as the restaurant is calling them. The open kitchen can be viewed from an interactive dining counter, and a large community table is found on the upstairs mezzanine (along with some of the best views in the house).
It’s certainly a bold look to complement Beckman’s bold flavors.
Workshop Kitchen & Bar is now open Tuesday through Saturday, from 5 to 11 pm.
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