Counter Chic

food at Le Comptoir
The lineup at Le Comptoir. (Photos by Sam Hernandez)

There are only 10 seats at chef Gary Menes’s new Le Comptoir—a former pop-up that’s now found a permanent home at Koreatown’s Hotel Normandie—and 10 reasons why you should snag one of them immediately.

1. The divine vegetables: The six-course prix-fixe menu is comprised almost entirely of vegetables: think lofty French-inflected dishes like Japanese yam velouté, mushroom fricassé and a tranche of butternut squash with preserved cherries.

2. The seed-to-table sourcing: The majority of the produce is sourced from the chef’s certified-organic Gladys Ave Urban Farm in Long Beach, where he personally works daily.

3. The tasty supplements: You can supplement your plant-driven prix-fixe with delish grain or protein dishes like Japanese scallop with tomato reduction and broccoli leaves.

4. The sustainability practices: Menes composts fruit and vegetable peels and coffee grounds to fertilize the farm’s soil.

5. The clean meats: The restaurant uses consciously sourced seafood and beef from grass-fed, humanely raised animals.

The dining area at Le Comptoir
Get up close with the man himself, chef Gary Menes. (Photo credit: Sam Hernandez)

6. The chef’s skills: Menes cut his teeth at The French Laundry and Mélisse—need we say more?

7. The small scale: The diminutive counter allows Menes to maintain the close farm-to-plate connection. “If I have one perfect cauliflower in my garden,” he says, “then that’s the one I’m going to use. That can only feed 10 people.”

8. The entertainment factor: The open kitchen and close proximity of the chef allow for interactive culinary theater.

9. The single-origin coffee: Coffee geeks, this one’s for you.

10. The reasonable tab: At $67 per person for six courses (with supplements running $14 to $35), dinner at Le Comptoir won’t leave you empty-pocketed.

On a scale of 1 to 10? We give it a 10.

Le Comptoir
3606 West 6th Street, Los Angeles