But as the food comes out -- a bowl of supremely creamy but airy hummus topped with just the right amount of pickled vegetables, a tall pile of frisee tossed with shaved Cheddar and nutty dukkah, a swirl of cool and tangy house-made labneh hiding under a flourish of za’atar -- it all becomes clear. Mh Zh is one of Los Angeles’s best restaurants, and one of the best examples of modern Israeli cooking today.
Chef and owner Conor Shemtov didn’t buck every trendy restaurant convention to be “cool” or go “against the status quo.” He just doesn’t really care about much beyond the food. “I’m just concerned about delivering value to the guests and the neighborhood,” Shemtov says. “I wanted to take away from the formality of most restaurants and for it to just be about eating good food.” It’s a refreshing break from the current hospitality zeitgeist where restaurant groups are churning out shiny, manicured, and, frankly, cookie-cutter restaurants driven by what plays on Instagram. Mh Zh is an antidote to over-the-top experiential restaurants, like Vespertine on the other side of town, where the food trumps a chef’s self-indulgence.