Tracking down the new restaurants that are actually worth your time is a constant undertaking, especially in LA. New places are always opening up, and quite often, they’re pretty good. But even more often, they’re all very much the same. There’s no greater kiss of death for a new restaurant with good food than walking out completely unable to differentiate between that meal and every other flash-fried-cauliflower-who-gives-a-f*ck you ate this month.
On paper, Kali is definitely one of those restaurants.
The stark, modern space is lovely, but is it exactly going to move the needle in the “well, this is different” category? No. And at a first glance of the menu, everything seems about what you’d expect. There’s some pork, a $14 risotto, and your official comeback vegetable - the beet. No harm, no foul, but just don’t expect any of this to leave a lasting impression on us, right?
Because the plates start hitting the table and you realize things actually are different here. That $14 is actually a bowl of wheat berries, black garlic, and toasted cheese heaven. It’s chewy, savory, and downright phenomenal. The beet comes out in tartare form with an egg yolk bullseye in the middle - this is not only the best dish at Kali, it’s probably also one of the best looking plates of food we’ve seen in awhile. And that bee pollen almond panna cotta situation? Phenomenal. And we’re just going to go ahead and tell ourselves it made us healthier.
You’re definitely going to spend $30 at lunch here, but with the daily Paramount power lunch parade nearby, this won’t be a long-term problem. And the five course tasting menu for $65 at dinner is actually a great deal. So whether it’s for an unstuffy business lunch, dinner with the parents, or sexy date night, Kali’s menu and surprisingly casual space delivers.
Kali is not a perfect restaurant, but it’s still a d*mn good one that’s clearly unafraid to change up the familiar. And that’s exactly what sets it apart.
This dish is an all-out blockbuster. You’d think there’s no way this could taste as good as it looks, but it does. It’s fresh, fulfilling, and one of the best things we’ve eaten all year.
The meat is good, but it’s everything else on the plate that makes this a must-order. The celery puree at the bottom is excellent, and the charred salsify (a root vegetable) is something we could eat all day every day.
Incredible. Everything works in this dish, and it starts simply with the fact that they use wheat berries. Does it have the curb appeal of the other dishes? No But if they sold that toasted cheese on top, we would buy it in bulk.
It’s another delicious-as-it-is beautiful situation, we only wish there was slightly more of it.
We liked this dish fine and it’s certainly nice to look at it, but it just doesn’t hold up next to the others for us. The pistachios were an excellent choice (because they’re pistachios), but otherwise this is an avocado over some fresh vegetables and we feel we could probably make a poor man’s version of that at home.
Is it possible to eat a dessert and feel healthier afterwards? It is with this thing. There’s bee pollen and everything else you would never expect in a dessert. If we had one complaint it’s that we would want it to be a bit sweeter. And also the ability to order three without shaming ourselves.