Top Chef Winner Mei Lin Opens Chinese-American Restaurant Nightshade In Downtown LA

nightshade

In the hustling and bustling Arts District in downtown Los Angeles lies Nightshade—one of the city’s new must-try restaurants. Chef Mei Lin brings her Chinese roots, having been born in China and growing up in her parents’ multiple Chinese restaurants in Detroit, as well as her extensive experience, from building her resumé in the restaurants of some of the most recognizable and celebrated chefs in the country, including Michael Symons’ Roast in Detroit, Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Las Vegas and Michael Voltaggio’s ink. in Los Angeles. Together with managing partners Francis Miranda and Cyrus Batchan of No.8 hospitality group, this flagship concept is Lin’s first restaurant, quickly gaining popularity among the locals.

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“Ultimately, my aim is to recreate dishes I’ve come to love over the course of my career and lifetime, learning how to do things the traditional ways, but infusing new flavors and maybe some non-conventional techniques to achieve my ideal version of it,” began Lin. “I’ll learn how to perfect the traditional and classical way to make something so that I have a firm understanding and respect for the process. Then I experiment to see how a new element to the process or a new ingredient might affect it differently, and work on it until it’s where I want it to be.”nightshade

In addition to her significantly impressive kitchen experience, Lin enjoyed several nationally-recognized accolades, including winning Esquire TV’s Knife Fight, being named one of Eater’s Young Guns in 2014 and Zagat’s 30 Under 30 list. She also won her season (season 12) of Emmy-winning television show on Bravo TV, Top Chef.

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The prospering Arts District in downtown Los Angeles is the perfect area for Nightshade’s Chinese-American cuisine, where its industrial aesthetic coupled with a natural color palette with pops of accent colors, like the lush, emerald green banquette seats, make for a very Instagram-worthy space. Hanging botanical plants with rose gold and soft gray-accented pieces add to the overall vibe, as do the white-washed brick walls, light wood finishes and strong, but elegant marbles. A bar counter with accommodation for 8-to-10 guests is situated in front of a semi-open kitchen, where all the magic happens.

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Menu highlights include the Hokkaido scallops with coconut vinaigrette, crispy ginger and coriander; truffled Dungeness crab congee; squid ink tagliatelle with cuttlefish Bolognese and gochujang; the prawn toast with Cantonese curry; the Szechuan hot quail with Japanese milk bread and house pickles; the lasagna with pork ragu, tofu cream and prickly ash; and of course, the bone-in Angus short ribs, served with bibb lettuce, bonito habanero emulsion, fermented radish, mint and pickles.

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Nightshade: 923 E 3rdStreet, #109; (213) 626-8888; nightshadela.com
Hours of operation: Tuesday-Thursday, Sunday 5-10pm; Friday-Saturday 5-11pm

 

All images courtesy of Nightshade, shot by Wonho Frank Lee.

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