When Bill continued the conversation turned to the story of Test Kitchen. The original Test Kitchen occupied the spot where Sotto is now. Ricardo Zarate’s Picca is in the same building right above the space.
As Bill explains it while he was deciding what was going into this space (with Picca being built above) the thought was to do an iteration of a pop-up in that space. The eventual concept was to bring big deal chefs into the space for a week to cook the menu of their dreams and perhaps test new ideas. The only publicity was an e-mail blast to folks who signed up to get it. The media did the rest by picking this up and promoting it as hidden dining! The demand for a seat at any of the Test Kitchen evenings well exceeded the available room thereby creating high interest in future programs!
Ricardo Zarate functioned as host chef and John Sedlar also helped out. Walter Manzke, Neal Fraser, Javier Plascencia, and others were part of the ambitious effort. Steve Samson and Zach Pollack (who now occupy the space with Sotto) were also part of the series.
Republique is looking at a late August or early September launch in the former Campanile space on S. La Brea Ave. It will include a 95-seat café in the style of Joan’s on Third as well as a French bistro that will be Walter’s adaption/refinement of Church & State (where he also previously ran the kitchen.)
Redbird is Neal Fraser’s long in the works restaurant for the former rectory building at St. Vibiana Cathedral in Downtown Los Angeles. The project is in plan check with the City and depending on construction issues is aiming for a late fourth quarter opening.