10 Best L.A. Restaurants That Closed in 2012: An Elegy in 10 Parts
The conclusion of every year is a time to catalog both beginnings and endings, to look back over what exactly happened in the twelve months now drawing to a close. Which means that we're getting a lot of lists -- thank you, David Letterman -- as we calibrate and recalibrate, and remember, or try to, what marked 2012.
A. Scattergood Campanile
Every year many restaurants close, but it seems as if this past year was more momentous than usual, even given the vicissitudes of an industry that is known for its revolving doors. Blame the recession, or whatever Tim Geitner is currently calling it. Blame the transitory nature of real estate in this town. Whatever you call it or however you explain it, this was a particularly poignant year to remember for ten remarkable restaurants that didn't make it to 2013. Turn the page.
10. Tar Pit:
A. Scattergood Tar Pit, under construction
Outfitted with Art Deco stylized palm trees, a Kold-Draft double-stacked ice machine and a pizza oven, Mark Peel's speakeasy was only open for a few years, a brief experiment in retro bar food and upscale mixology. Maybe its closing marked the turning point in Mad Men dining, maybe not, but it's a lot harder to find a well-made lobster Newberg these days. 609 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles.
Anne Fishbein Farm Egg Shakshouka, yogurt, sweetbread, pita at Mezze
Chef Micah Wexler's Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant closed in October, after less than two years, largely due to a massive construction project that's still ongoing next door. In the short time it was open, Wexler's restaurant got a lot of very positive attention, especially in these pages, for creative and flavorful dishes, including a lovely ode (when applicable) to foie gras. Just what will happen to the location, previously home to David Myers' much-lauded restaurant Sona, remains unclear. 401 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles.
A. Scattergood Savory
Chef Paul Shoemaker's (Bastide, Providence) first restaurant was also an exercise in Los Angeles expansionism, located in a tiny Malibu strip mall just down the street from Point Dume's surfing beaches. In the two years it was open, Savory made it possible to eat terrifically executed cuisine instead of, well, beach food. The restaurant closed after a dispute with the landlord and part-owner, leaving Shoemaker without a kitchen and local winemaker Emilio Estevez with lots of extra wine. 29169 Heathercliff Rd, #206, Malibu.
7. Yujean Kang's:
For twenty-some years, Yujean Kang's Gourmet Chinese served classic banquet-style Chinese food in Pasadena, long before the dumpling and noodle shops of the San Gabriel Valley were popular, with either food bloggers or respected restaurant critics. Chef Kang was finally forced to close his beautiful doors in July, due to the combination of an expensive lease and the continuing bad economy. You can go to Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village for chandeliers and banquettes, but Kang's beautiful palace will be missed. 67 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena.