Fifty Seven Debuts, Here's What You Need to Know (and Eat)

By Lesley Balla  |  March 28, 2014
Credit: Jakob Layman

Cardiff Giant, the group behind West Hollywood hot spots like The Churchill, The Hudson, Clover Juice and nightclub du jour DBA, debut their most ambitious concept yet - Fifty Seven, a new progressive American restaurant now open in the former Heinz 57 loading dock in the Arts District Downtown. This adds just a little more oomph to this busy corner that also anchors Bestia, Bread Lounge and Stumptown Roasters. Chef David Nayfeld, most recently from New York's Eleven Madison Park, is at the stove, with the intention that new chefs will rotate through the kitchens every few months. Here are a few things to know before you go, plus a preview of some of Nayfeld's opening dishes in the slide show below.

1) While Nayfeld is an exciting addition to our dining scene, don't get too used to his menu. The concept here is that every few months a new chef will lead the charge at Fifty Seven. He'll be around through the summer most likely. Those behind Fifty Seven promise to attract some of the best chefs of the country, who will stay for varying degrees of time.

2) Following the current trend, it's prix fixe only. There are two menus to choose from: a three-course tasting menu for $48 and a six-course for $85. For the smaller, you choose your dishes from menu items that read like ingredients: "brassica, roasted garlic, lemon, parmesan;" "potato salad, pancetta, mustard, pickled eggs;" "halibut, asparagus, morels, parmesan;" "heritage pork, spring pea, carrot, lettuce;" and for dessert, "chocolate, Valencia orange, earl grey, salted almond brittle" or "meyer lemon, ricotta, parmesan sable, basil." The larger menu is comprised of dishes selected by the chef, generally featuring everything on the smaller menu, plus three special additions. The menus will change weekly and seasonally.

3) The drinks. There are seasonal cocktails shaken and stirred at the bar, along with a California-heavy wine list. If you want to drop in for a drink without a reservation, you can nibble from a "snack" menu for the bar area only, but you can't get the prix fixe. You might find things like bratwurst with whole grain mustard and torn bread, housemade pickles and deviled eggs with celery relish.

4) They give back. While water isn't free - it'll set you back three bucks - there's a note on the menu that the restaurant donates a portion of those sales to the LA Food Bank.

5) There's entertainment. The Downstairs at Fifty Seven will feature artist residencies, musical performances, lectures, salons and more. So the restaurant could be a one-stop shop for a night out. Look for more details soon.

Fifty Seven opens daily at 5:30 PM. 712 S. Santa Fe Ave.; 213-816-8157

  • Credit: Jakob Layman

    From the "snacks" menu, which is available only in the bar (and for drop-ins who don't want to commit to a prix fixe dinner), the La Tur is simply dressed radicchio leaves and fresh market apple.

  • Credit: Alen Lin

    The bar area looks out into a funky alleylike patio. The whole thing feels very Downtown LA, very now.

  • Credit: Jakob Layman

    One of the meat options sings of spring: roast lamb with fava beans, pearl onion and handmade tortellini.

  • Credit: Jakob Layman

    The "pickled garden" is another option from the snack menu, which includes anything fresh of the season, like cucumbers, carrots, squash, baby beets and more.

  • Credit: Alen Lin

    The main dining room.

  • Credit: Jakob Layman

    From the tasting menu, you can also choose the heritage pork chop with spring peas, carrot and lettuces. 

  • Credit: Jakob Layman

    Dessert options include this lovely looking brown butter cake with pineapple and coriander.

  • Credit: Alen Lin

    That Arts District patio will be packed during the balmiest summer nights.