|The lounge area is outdoors in the museum's breezeway|
With Ray's Restaurant and Stark Bar, LACMA finally has a restaurant worthy of the sleek new buildings on its campus. And it's really good news for us Variety staffers, since there's not many good places for business lunches -- or post-work cocktails -- within walking distance of our Wilshire offices. Producer Ray Stark wasn't known as the cuddliest of Hollywood honchos -- Tina Brown called him "the hound from Hell" -- but at least his generous daughter Wendy is livening up LACMA with her donation to launch the restaurant with his name under the Patina Group management.
|House-made bread is ultra-fresh|
At lunchtime, the glass-enclosed restaurant is bright and peaceful, half-filled with well-heeled docents and their docile husbands, half with Teva-wearing tourists wondering if a $14 burger is their only option, and even kinda real artists like Mr. Brainwash. There's also plenty of dining on the patio, while the Stark Bar area is completely outside, though well-stocked with heaters. Chef Kris Morningstar has toned down the nose-to-tail urges he pursued at Mercantile and District -- there's no beef deckle, no venison chile rellenos at Ray's. The simple menu hits all the spots this crowd expects -- a perfectly cooked piece of Arctic char ($19 at lunch), a premium burger, hangar steak, flatbreads, along with more modish plates like duck salad, Cornish hen or pork belly.
|Arctic char romances its sunchoke costar|
|Coffee pudding is rich but not too sweet|