First Look: The Fantastical World of Barton G LA
The Gist: Saying Barton G. is whimsical barely scratches the surface. From the table settings to the liquid nitrogen everything to the towering four-foot-tall fork that's part of your "plate," it's really difficult to say what outdoes what at the new West Hollywood restaurant. Miami restaurateur Barton G. Weiss is known for theatrics — he's created thousands of big bombastic events, converted the Versace mansion in Miami to a boutique hotel and restaurant, and penned a superlative-heavy cookbook, The Big Dish: Recipes to Dazzle and Amaze from America's Most Spectacular Restaurant. Subtlety is not his forte.
The Food: Everything is big here — literally. You might find a two-foot popcorn machine on your table or almost three feet of cotton candy swirling atop a mannequin head. Even shrimp skewers are served in a 10-inch glass with blades of grass (and a lot of liquid nitrogen). Everything has height, which is probably supposed to "dazzle and amaze." Seeing some of these dishes enter a room causes "oohs" and "aaahs" from everyone, even the servers. Seeing your dinner companions across the table is another story. Once you get past the crazy get-ups, it's mostly familiar comfort-food dishes with a twist; it's all recognizable. It's also edible, which is surprising given how much emphasis is given on presentation and flash. If there's one restaurant getting away from the tired artisanal, market-friendly monikers, it's this one.
The Space: Situated right next to Nobu on La Cienega Boulevard, Barton G is everything opposite of Zen and minimalist. The napkins are shaped like little chef coats, resting on silver platters waiting for your plates. There's almost too much on the table, so when you sit down, you wonder where they'll put the food. It gets even crazier when you see how things are plated. The design is a mishmash of whimsy with golden chandeliers, draping curtains and pink lights. It's a room that screams for a party, which is what they're after. This is not really a quiet, solo-diner kind of place.
The Details: The restaurant is located at 861 N. La Cienega Blvd., and opens nightly at 6 PM. Call 310-388-1888 for reservations.
Take a look at some of the most extreme dishes and drinks served at Barton G. We're pretty sure this is just the beginning of the whimsy.