Haute Spot: Ray’s and Stark Bar at LACMA

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We checked out Ray’s and Stark Bar over at LACMA the other night. Ray’s, named after the late movie producer Ray Stark, is the Patina Groups latest endeavor. The restaurant appears to be a large concrete box framed in glass, and as you would expect, there are lots of colorful Herman Miller chairs tucked under thin tables, Bertoia chairs out in the bar and other “designy” touches. Well, this is LACMA is it not?

The restaurant has a subdued and relaxed feel in which to sample Executive Chef Kris Morningstar’s Mediterranean farm-to-table inspired menu prepared in their wood-burning oven and grill. Morningstar is a veteran of AOC, Patina, Blue Velvet and most recently District and Mercantile. Stark Bar serves drinks crafted by Neve Ice founder and famed LA bar smith Michel Dozois. There’s plenty of seating outside in the Stark bar and on a warm night it’s a pretty nice place to grab a “handcrafted drink.”

The Menu is quite inventive and contains a dizzying array of ingredients to support the Octopus, Trotters Scallop Sashimi, Pork belly, Lamb, Duck and Pigeon that are featured. The food is quite nice if not spectacular; I had a hanger steak and a Risotto with ramps that was a bit runny and overcooked but still had a fresh flavor. I’d say the standout for me was this sinful coffee pudding I had for desert. Nice. Truthfully I think Ray’s and Stark Bar are more about the surroundings. It’s a large open space with compelling modern design elements and you are quite aware that you are “in the Museum.” Hey, maybe some culture will rub off.

It’s still rather new and we’ll have to wait and see if they develop a crowd beyond those who were at an exhibit earlier. We’d certainly recommend a visit if you’re at LACMA, and if you’re in the mood for something stylish and different, give it a try. After all, what better way to sit and enjoy artist Chris Burden’s Urban Light, which is on display and visible from your table.

To read more from Project Lena, check out their blog at projectlena.com or visit their Facebook page.

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