Around here, there are two things that motivate most of our life choices: good design and good food. (A little known fact: Mr. Spazio is a chef and former restaurateur). When good food and good design come together we'll stop at nothing (including the purchase of a place ticket) to book a reservation.
While there are plenty of examples of well-designed five star restaurants in Boston and New York, it is Gwen, the LA-based butcher shop-meets-restaurant by chef Curtis Stone and his brother, Luke, that has been at the top of our list for places we need to dine as soon as humanly possible since it opened a year ago this month.
We're of the mind that when food and decor come together in a thoughtful and complementary way, it elevates what would have been a nice meal into a total sensory experience, and by all accounts, that's exactly what's been going down at Gwen.
First there is the food. The meat-centric, prix-fixe menu is described as "primal elegance," and the renowned LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold called Gwen's rack of venison "one of the most profound things [he's] ever eaten." Chef Curtis Stone, whose as well-known for his showmanship (he's a host of Bravo's Top Chef All Stars) as his cuisine, cooks each meal in an open kitchen, within full view of his diners, giving the entire room a captivating show.
The grand and sophisticated but decidedly masculine design, spearheaded by hOme Studios in Brooklyn (and also owned by a team of brothers), is meant to underscore both the menu and create a mise-en-scène for Stone's cooking techniques. That includes the literal portions of the menu that you'll see from your seat, which hang in Gwen's glass-enclosed dry age rooms. Naturally, there's plenty of leather, but it's mixed with a rich selection of materials like copper, pink marble, crystal and velvet, which play up the 1920s Art-Deco provenance of the dining room.