First Look: Miles Thompson's New Menu at Michael's

By Lesley Balla  |  September 20, 2016
Credit: Michael's

Ever since opening in 1979, Michael's has served as a launching pad for culinary talent. Not only did Jonathan Waxman, Nancy Silverton and Mark Peel come out of Michael McCarty's kitchen, but so did Sang Yoon (Father's Office), Brooke Williamson (Hudson House, Playa Provisions, The Tripel) and many others. It's time for a new generation to take the reins, and Miles Thompson, a young chef with a penchant for super-local ingredients, a deft hand and the kind of creative energy Michael's needs, is at the ready.

A 30 Under 30 honoree (class of 2013), Thompson was last at Allumette in Echo Park, where his innovative menus caught the attention of local and national critics. He honed his progressive style after stints at places like Nobu, Son of a Gun and Animal, and doing his own pop-ups around town. His is a new version of California cuisine, which should be right at home at the birthplace of LA's modern restaurant scene. Expect things like potatoes a la pancha with Parmigiano-Reggiano, bonito flakes and furikake aïoli; pork cheek sandwiches on Brazilian cheese bread; and baby lettuces with herbs, seeds and red wine vinaigrette. That's just a start; take a look at some of the current offerings below. 

The menu isn't the only thing that's new at Michael's. Although there were some renovations a few years ago, there's been more nipping and tucking inside and out, with a new cocktail menu to boot. That patio is still a winner. The restaurant opens Monday through Saturday, 5:30–10:30 PM. 

1147 3rd St.; 310-451-0843

  • Starters include things like blistered baby broccoli with braised pigs ears, spicy peanuts and soft egg Milanese.

  • Bread is no longer a throwaway entry to the meal. During a recent tenure at SHED in Sonoma County, Thompson learned more about bread baking, and he's showcasing that new knowledge with buckwheat sourdough and sunflower and sunchoke butter.

  • Handmade ricotto gnudi is served with lamb sausage, spigarello and preserved orange. 

  • Octopus confit with green tomato mustard, red Fresno chilies and tangerine. 

  • Duck is a staple at Michael's, and Thompson's updated version carries on the tradition with a huckleberry juniper pickle, water spinach and delicata squash. 

  • For dessert, roasted barley pot-de-crème, which is almost like a whipped pudding, with rosemary and chamomile-strawberry sauce.

  • For cocktails, beverage director Meredith Hayman (Bestia, Faith & Flower) takes cues from the local farmer's market for her drinks. The El Paseo is a blend of blanco tequila, mezcal, Crème de Pamplemousse Rose, agave and watermelon granita.