“Everything is from scratch, we don’t pre-buy anything except for my bread, which is from LaBrea, but that’s baked fresh every day,” chef Michael Martinez tells BlogDowntown about Vault XXI, a high-end lounge he helped open September 4th in an old bank in Little Tokyo’s Galleria. The veteran chef was recently nabbed for the restaurant while working at the Ritz-Carlton, along with pastry chef Jocelyn Tubig, who was purloined from O.C.’s Pacific Palms Resort. The concept here is super high-end, with over 100 craft-beers and micro-brews on a massive list, 50 varietals of wine, and liquor that leaps above the top shelf with a $50,000 bottle of scotch. And the food?
In addition to thin-crust pizzas and all-organic produce from small farms, Martinez lists such luxuries as sashimi-grade seafood, dry-aged steaks, “Kobe” burgers, lobster bisque, and five and seven course tasting menus served in VIP rooms. There’s even an ultra-VIP room, if you’re so VIP you view all other VIPS as common douche bags, located inside of the bank’s vault where reservations start at $5,000 for a nine-course tasting menu. Clearly, these guys care not about the current restaurant trend of down-scaling.
“What we want to do is provide an exceptional product: cuisine and liquor but in a casual environment,” Martinez tells Blog Downtown. And sure enough, while much of food comes from small farms and strives for indulgence, rotating artwork might come directly from the streets, with the first exhibit by the extremely talented graf artist CODAK, as part of an ongoing emphasis on local artists. Looking, last we checked, is still free, as is its Facebook page.
Vault XXI, now open for lunch and dinner, 333 S. Alameda #115. Downtown. 213-625-2001.
Vault XXI Opens in Little Tokyo [BlogDowntown]