Los Angeles foodies are an intrepid lot. Not even the worst traffic can deter their search for a good meal. That’s particularly true when it comes to following cult chefs and restaurateurs as they expand via new endeavors. Case in point: Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo with their established hotspots Animal, Son of a Gun, Trois Mec (and offspring Petit Trois), and Jon & Vinny’s. This last one, in the city’s mid-Wilshire area, offers a contemporary Italian menu for dinner (opt for anything—it's all that good) and bomboloni for breakfast that has had residents on the west side dreaming of a version closer to home. Prayers were recently answered when the partner-chefs and architect Jeff Guga arrived in Brentwood.
Entering the 2,300-square-foot space with seating for 100 inspires déjà vu. That’s because Guga stuck to his original tried-and-true palette of pervasive white oak embellished with handmade porcelain sconces by artist Shio Kusaka. “I always considered the space as a box for Shio’s ceramics,” notes the architect, who is a Frank Gehry alumnus. “I would never assume to tell her what to do, but in Brentwood I did suggest some color. One of the lights is the singular yellow exception, showing the lucky table if you can get it.”
Other subtle differences pertain to site and clientele. The newer version is twice the size yet with a lower ceiling. As a result, Guga was able to install larger booths designed to accommodate more families than the original, which is popular with couples. To compensate for the lower ceiling, he needed smaller lighting fixtures. Custom-designed pendants of locally milled brass tubes enameled in black fit the bill.
The overall look is So-Cal clean and modern, yet it also nods to the art world. That’s because Guga has designed studios for artists such as Jonas Wood, Mark Grotjahn, and Thomas Houseago, as well as the powerhouse Gagosian gallery. As for Jon & Vinny’s offerings: They may look artful on the plate, but what they really say is, mangia.
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