Curtis Stone isn’t just a pretty face. Bravo junkies know him best as the host of Top Chef Masters (and various spin-offs), but the Australian-born chef is also an acclaimed restaurateur who just last week opened his second Los Angeles eatery, Gwen. Located on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard, it’s being heralded as one of the city’s biggest restaurant openings of the year.
Here now, nine things to know about Stone’s newest venture, courtesy of Eater LA:
1) Like his other LA restaurant, the 25-seat Maude, the restaurant is named for one of Stone’s grandmothers.
2) Appropriately, it’s a family affair: Stone’s partner in the restaurant is his brother, Luke.
3) Gwen’s in-house butcher shop not only supplies the kitchen, but also sells to the public seven days a week; here, patrons can find everything from house-cured meats to dry-aged Australian Wagyu beef, plus game meats like rabbit and grouse.
4) The restaurant uses Tock, the ticketed reservations system created by Chicago restaurateur Nick Kokonas (Alinea, Next).
5) It’s tasting menu only, and will run you $190 for two diners not including tax, tip, or drinks. (Check out the first lamb-centric edition of the five-course menu here.)
6) Vegetarians, take heed: Said tasting menu is heavy on the meat, showcasing charcuterie from the butcher shop and whole animals that are broken down in-house and cooked over the kitchen’s live fire pit or Argentine-style asador.
7) Fellow Australian export Mitch Bushell is leading the “low-waste cocktail program,” turning throwaway items like cherry pits into drink components.
8) The dining room has an intriguing Art Deco-meets-steampunk/post-apocalyptic glam vibe, with luxe touches like chinchilla barstools (!) anchored by rustic concrete floors.
9) Expect fancy cutlery: According to Tasting Table, “When it’s time to eat, servers bring by a box of varied steak knives, including the coveted 9.47 knives from French producer Perceval, for diners to choose from.”
10) The sprawling 7,000 square-foot restaurant only seats around 80 people, with three different settings: the main dining room, a chef's counter, or a more secluded wine room. (Tucked away upstairs is Stone’s R&D lab.)
11) Diners can also grab a seat at one of the two bars to order smaller bites from an a la carte “butcher scraps” menu (think terrines and smoked lamb ribs).
• Curtis Stone’s Gorgeous New Restaurant Opens Tonight [Eater LA]
• All Gwen Coverage [Eater LA]