You might have seen Ray Garcia on the Kelly Clarkson Show or ESPN, or know him as the award-winning chef of Broken Spanish and BS Taqueria in Los Angeles or ¡VIVA! in Las Vegas, but now you can get reacquainted with him at Asterid.
“Asterid seeks to bring people together and connect them through both the comfort of the familiar and the excitement of the new,” Garcia said.
The restaurant opened in March at The Music Center campus, in front of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and is inspired by the melting pot of cultures and richness of LA.
The menu is more diverse than Garcia’s previous restaurants, with items such as a caviar service ($93) that comes with a tamal made from 898 squash — one of the new premium varieties developed by Dan Barber’s Row 7 seed company.
The Cauliflower ($19) is spiced with vadouvan curry and pickled morita chile and given crunch with hazelnuts.
“Personally, I would highly recommend the Shortcake [$15] which uses fresh, local Harry’s Berries and delicious vanilla cream,” Garcia said, “and I know the Maitake Mushrooms [$21] are a favorite with the bright turmeric aïoli.”
Garcia said he is bringing in other new ingredients as well.
“One of my favorites is the pichuberry, which is native to the highlands of Peru but grown in Southern California. The fruit is a bit smaller than a cherry with a beautiful yellow-orange hue.” He said. “On the palate, the pichuberry is bursting with tropical flavor and just a hint of tomato essence. It is a key component in our ceviche dish [$27] where it provides just the right amount of texture, sweetness, and acidity.”
Also on the menu is a chicken liver mousse ($19) and an octopus roll ($21). The latter is dressed with Aleppo chile yogurt and pickled cabbage slaw. The lamb shank ($59) comes with charred eggplant purée, warm flatbread and pickled chiles.
Asterid’s beverage program is led by bar director Chris Chernock, who worked with Garcia at Broken Spanish.
Some signature cocktails include Tequila & Passion Fruit ($19), made with Lalo Tequila Blanco, pineapple, passion fruit, hibiscus and falernum, and a Daiquiri ($18) with Paranubes Oaxacan Rum, Saison Rum, pineapple and demerara sugar
The restaurant was designed by Belzberg Architects, and is described as “warm and modern.” Guests enter through a wraparound outdoor patio into the indoor-outdoor lounge seating near Grand Avenue. The restaurant is 4,000 square feet with a seating capacity of around 180.