LA Times: Minh Phan’s Phenakite is our Restaurant of the Year

Michael Tessler was honored to join Raina Lewis (Head of Second Home LA) and Chef Minh Phan (Owner of Phenakite) as they celebrated receiving a Certificate of Congratulations from the Los Angeles City Council in recognition of Phenakite's recent win as LA Times' 2020 Restaurant of the Year.


"What is the cuisine exactly? A label seems stifling. If you’ve had Phan’s food before, inspired occasionally by her family’s Vietnamese recipes but shaped mostly by her own culinary narrative, the food here is a larger backdrop for the way she has used porridge as a canvas. Don’t look to the menu for answers. A dish description like “black sesame vichyssoise, rambutan, fermented green figs, Mindy’s Buddha’s hands, lemon verbena oil, ume-rose crisp, rose geraniums, baby shiso” is more of an ingredient poem than a vehicle for insight."

"Yes, there is porridge — a delicious variation that involves abalone — but the real heart of the evening is the moment when Phan comes to the table and sets up a swordfish course for each guest. Fig leaves charred with a blowtorch come into play, but what really matters is her presence. Her eyes dance and crinkle at the corners while she chats; you know she is smiling behind her mask. You feel connection, and your whole body remembers that restaurants are about so much more than consumption. And maybe, like me, you relax and feel hopeful in a way you haven’t for some time."

"In an era when the whole world has been reminded of how swiftly and painfully life can change, this experimental feat affirms that dining remains a vitalizing force in our city. Phenakite is Restaurant of the Year."


Read the LA Times article here.

Learn more about Phenakite here.