You Can Cook for Yourself at This New L.A. Restaurant, as a Treat
The Kitchen at The Gaslighter Social Club is the fourth restaurant now open at The Wayfarer, a new hotel in downtown Los Angeles appealing to tourists who crave a home-cooked meal. Executive chef Francis Dimitrius, formerly of Koi, Villa Blanca, and Vanderpump Rules and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, oversees three on-site dining options, but he's only writing the recipes for The Kitchen, hoping diners will come to cook for themselves.
"Sometimes guests feel left out—or priced out—of hotel restaurants more geared toward attracting all the right locals, but here they can gain access to dishes and prices the lunch crowd can't and make themselves a steak for $20," says Dimitrius. In response, his cook-it-yourself menu starts at $3 for two cookies, and tops out at $20 for steaks, chicken, and salmon, paired with fingerling potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
Anyone off the street is welcome to walk into the lobby restaurant and order a plate of steak picado shakshuka or featherweight milk toast bread pudding, prepared by the chef himself. However, The Kitchen allows hotel guests to walk directly into the Gaslighter's open kitchen, tie on an apron, and command an island of Wolf ovens as they pore over a dozen recipes from breakfast burritos to roast chicken dinners, no gloves or hair net required. (Though a signed liability waiver is.)
They can even pour a drink off the lobby bar's tap wall, and sip a kombucha, cold brew, beer or wine while they break down a bird. Best of all, Dimitrius is never far out of sight to help perfect a technique, like crisping and sealing the edges of an overstuffed burrito in a hot-oiled skillet, or answer burning questions about his time starring on the Bravo reality shows. (He was not required to sign a waiver before leaving the series.)
The Kitchen is a never-before-seen concept that sets The Wayfarer apart from a gluttony of hotels in the neighborhood that includes the Ace, NoMad, and Freehand. Thanks to a zoning ordinance that codes The Kitchen as "residential," all guests sleeping at the hotel can cook for themselves at the restaurant during its regular hours, seven days a week between 6:30 a.m. and 11 p.m.. And while the refrigerators are currently stocked with only the ingredients for the current menu, much of it brought from the Santa Monica Farmers Market across town, the space is stacked with inspiration like the Grand Central Market Cookbook and Alison Roman's Dining In. With advance notice, Dimitrius can write a more sophisticated seasonal recipe for diners, something he learned on the fly while competing on shows like Food Network's Extreme Chef.
And securing a whole room for the night isn't even a requirement. The Wayfarer offers ten shared rooms outfitted in luxury bunk beds–the individual beds are listed on Lilly Rose's drinks menu. In addition to the menu of barrel-aged cocktails made with the hotel's half dozen hand-selected barrels of bourbons and rums, partygoers can close out the night ordering the "Hangover Cure," a bunk bed and cup of coffee for $70, before waking up to homemade waffles.