Los Angeles
New American Restaurant

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Chef Jordan Kahn’s otherworldly restaurant Meteora has been open for almost a year, so it’s a little strange to include it here. But in recent months, they have switched the format to tasting menus: a five-course dinner with lots of optional add-ons or a 16+-course ‘omakase.’ Kahn and the team seem particularly suited to this menu style, and the procession of courses has focused the chef’s wild instincts without caging his imagination. Make no mistake; this is still a far-out, utterly unique experience. Influences come from across the globe, both backward and forward in time, and ingredients are transformed using elemental techniques like hot rocks and lots of live fire. A “ceviche” of compressed melon is topped with a melon seed leche de tigre, then served with an aged spruce tip which is meant to be torn and added by hand; the combination is unusual and alchemical, sharp, and creamy with a hit of high-toned spruce resin that lingers on your fingertips. A scallop topped with longanisa-spiced oil, pineapple, habanero ash, and lime hits almost like al pastor, but a burnt yam topped with smoked trout roe, grilled hazelnuts, papaya, and a butter emulsion is like nothing else. Wine pairings are clever and fun, focusing on natural wine from volcanic soil, and cocktails are complex and unfamiliar in the best way. In the early days, the menu was expansive and beguiling—for better and for worse—but now it feels curated, directed. It is a guided walk through an alien garden instead of bushwacking through primitive forest.

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