When Tsuyoshi Miyazaki and Guillaume Guedj, the chef and restaurateur, respectively, behind one of Paris’s hottest restaurants, Mr. T., wanted to open an LA outpost, they turned to a local stalwart.
Miyazaki picked Alisha Vannah, the executive chef at the beloved Margarita Manzke restaurant Republique, to lead his kitchen and bring her seasonal approach to cooking to Mr. T.
Now the sleek restaurant sits alongside other buzzy spots such as Gigis and Tartine on Sycamore Street and is serving up casual fare with upscale twists. Vannah trained with Miyazaki in Paris and has created a menu focused on sharing plates influenced by French, North African, and Asian flavors.
“What we are doing is melding the flavors and cultures of LA into the heart of Mr. T,” Vannah said, referring to the California cuisine techniques the team is using at the LA outpost. It will serve some of the signature dishes from the Paris restaurant alongside new creations using local farmers’ market produce and herbs from the restaurant’s on-site garden.
The menu will evolve constantly based on fresh produce. Right now, ingredients from farmers’ markets such as heirloom tomatoes from Munak Ranch, O’Henry peaches from Dinuba, and burrata make it into the summer caprese salad. Pickled radish and roasted tender-crisp turnips balance out the fatty caramelized duck.
The cross-cultural influence continues through dishes such as the short grain koshihikari rice bowl topped with a confit egg yolk and sea urchin cream; chicken tsukune skewers presented like a mille-feuille pastry alongside a sweet potato puree and candied kumquats; and a vegetarian croque madame sandwich using portobellos and French truffles.
Vanna’s favorite preparation on the menu is her tuna crudo with a nam jim vinaigrette inspired by the namesake Thai chile dipping sauce. Vanna recalled her mom bringing the sauce with them to family outings at Redondo Beach to eat with seafood they purchased at the fish market there. The crudo is a nod to those memories.
References to hip hop classics play a central role in the drinks menu. The Can’t Knock the Hustle, named after a Jay-Z song, features Japanese whiskey and amaro with a hint of smoked cinnamon, and the On the Run, named after a Beyonce and Jay-Z collaboration, has vodka, blackberries, and a foam made with elderflower liqueur. There’s also an extensive wine list at Mr. T’s with more than 20 offerings by the glass, and a selection of bottles from Burgundy and Bordeaux curated from Guedj’s personal collection.
The drinks theme continues into the space where 90s hip hop beats fill the industrial space designed by late architect Richard Altuna and Guedj. The restaurateur sourced wood just outside of Mexico City for the chairs. Expect pops of stone, white quartz, and concrete throughout, alongside space for 110 diners. Floor to ceiling windows look out onto the massive outdoor seating that’s spread across the terrace outside the restaurant.
Mr. T is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30pm to 11pm with reservations available exclusively on OpenTable.
Kristin Braswell is a journalist and founder of CrushGlobal Travel, a company that customizes travel guides and authentic experiences around the world.