Cold Brew Coffee
Beignets, Powdered Sugar
Cinnamon Roll, Pecan Praline
Chorizo Burger, Brioche, Pickled Red Onion, Avocado, Fried Egg
Cast Iron Cornbread, Steen’s Butter
Warren Pear, Spicy Greens, Candied Bacon, Goat Cheese, Spiced Pecans, Pomegranate
Cream Biscuits, Honey Butter, Pear Butter
Fuyu Persimmon, Urfa, French Feta, Winter Herbs, Bee Pollen, Honey Vinegar
Broccoli di Ciccio, Sheep’s Cheese, Brown Butter Pecans, Country Ham Vinegar
Venison Burger, Brioche, Pickled Green Tomato, Fried Leeks, Garlic Aioli
Blistered Snap Peas, Black Quinoa, Sesame Date Butter, Feta
Black Cornmeal Pancakes, Bacon Maple Syrup, Persimmon
Crisp Polenta, Maitake Ragu, Fried Egg, Crème Fraiche
French Silk Tart, Pistachio, Tonka Cream
Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Ice Cream, Almond Toffee / Lemon Verbena Ice Cream
With the slow revitalization of Downtown Los Angeles there is no area that has changed as much over the last five years as The Arts District, a collection of Restaurants joining galleries, clubs and bars with Manuela emerging in late 2016 as part of Hauser & Wirth at 901 East 3rd Street.
Built out the old Globe Mills Complex and now featuring rotating exhibits alongside shopping, Food and Beverage, the latter two overseen by Chef Kris Tominaga, it is immediately upon entering the fluid indoor/outdoor space that guests will notice a small sign introducing Manuela, though the overflowing patio will probably catch eyes first as will the stylish interior.
Best described as “New American,” or perhaps “Farm to Table,” the Restaurant’s reliance on local farms and purveyors reading like a virtual who’s who across menus for lunch, brunch and dinner, it was midday Saturday that options were perused for a party of six, fifteen items slowly rolled out by servers including one green haired woman who seemed stoned or lost as she wandered aimlessly and spilled Lattes unapologetically when placing them on the table.
Not a cheap Restaurant, but at the same time lower priced than many SoCal hotspots that put far less effort into sourcing, it was with locally roasted Beans in the form of Cold Brew that Brunch began, Beignets piled with Powdered Sugar disappointing as they were flat and doughy though everything was on the up-and-up following first bites of a golden Cinnamon Roll liberally topped with toasted Pecans and housemade Caramel.
Transitioning swiftly to savories, a request for items to be coursed out only loosely followed, it was alongside pricey but impactful Cornbread that the first of two Burgers was divided, housemade Chorizo topped in Red Onions and the glue of Egg Yolk plus Avocado delighting even those averse to spice while a Pear Salad with Bacon, Feta and Pecans also dazzled in terms of sourcing and composition.
In a way repeating course two at this time with a quartet of Bread, Burger and Salads, the “Broccoli di Ciccio” unfortunately coming up short as “Sheep’s Cheese” was thin and funky Milk that overwhelmed everything, it was leaving much of that $12 behind that attention turned to fluffy Biscuits with impressive Pear Butter alongside finely ground Venison on a bun with vibrant Garlic Aioli, though Tominaga’s best dish on this day may just be seasonal Fuyu Persimmons topped in African Pepper, French Feta and Bee Pollen plus sweetened Vinegar.
Continuing an impressive display of Vegetables with Shell-on Peas topped in diverse textures and flavors, the Sesame and Dates forming unexpected dance partners, it was returning to Persimmons that Pancakes made of Cornmeal proved lighter than most would assume while ground Corn that had been fried formed the base to hearty Mushroom Ragu crowned by an Egg and tangy Crème Fraiche.
Only aware of Desserts available during Brunch by calling in advance, the staff already assured of 20% autograt overzealous to turn a table, it was here again that Manuela delivered by way of Cookies featuring puddles of Dark Chocolate plus world-class French Silk improved by Tonka Bean Whip, though the smooth Lemon Verbena Ice Cream stole the spotlight for others.