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The 10 Best Quotes from Vespertine's Yelp Reviews

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Amateur critics sound off on LA’s trippiest tasting menu

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Crystalline ice plant
Photo by Jeff Elstone, Courtesy of Vespertine
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

Jordan Kahn’s brand new LA tasting menu restaurant Vespertine may well be, as its press materials put it, be from “from a time that is yet to be,” and “a place of shadows and whispers”, but as a restaurant in America in this, the year of our lord 2017, Vespertine is also a place to Yelp about.

So what do the Yelpers have to say about Kahn’s gorgeously indecipherable plates of black food matter and his moody building (ahem, spaceship)? A lot.

Vespertine is responsible for some of the most amazing quotes on Yelp right now. I hate how jealous I am of these Yelpers for knowing more about the ~experience~ than I do. Read on for their thoughts:

1. Alien Food vs Earth Food

“When you are annoyed by the 10th dish of this alien food and you realize food from earth taste way better, the ominous odd scifi music on repeat kind of drive you nuts. lol.” — Flora C.

2. Un-Instagrammable

“They didn’t allow any photography, but it was some of the most creative (but still delicious) cuisine we’ve ever tasted. Much of it was deliberately un-Instagrammable, even if someone tried to break the rules, as the food was often tucked into nooks of custom-made tableware.” — Barry E.

3. Once-in-a-lifetime Status

“This restaurant/experience will and should blow up over food journalism, no doubt. I hope that there’s a Netflix special, coffee table book, or Chef’s Table for Kahn and his team’s breathtaking work. This is a one-in-a-lifetime meal that lasted 4 hours for me. There is a bar set in the culinary world and Kahn has upped it to an untouchable stratosphere. It was a joy to be greeted by Kahn before heading to the rooftop. His vision is so strong and all the small details at this place are worth it.” — Sherry T.

4. Want Some “Formed” Proteins?

“Frequently showing his roots in Pastry by using manipulated ingredients and concealed textures, the ‘Red Spinach’ dish one of the night’s best with folds of fuchsia hiding a Sorghum sweetened Pudding of Tapioca, Lobster and Beets with an astringent finish, it was as hour three approached that the first ‘formed’ protein of the meal arrived, a rare appearance for Turkey in fine dining finding the Bird juicy and moist amidst Ancient Grains, acid and a hint of Tarragon.” — Michael U.

5. It’s About Obsession

“My husband and I are seasoned foodies, having just returned from El Celler de Can Roca in Barcelona, so we are not easily (or often) floored by food. And while food is at the center of Vespertine, it is about so much more than that. It is about escape and surprise, sensation and suspension of disbelief, and most importantly, it is about obsession.” — Alene T.

6. Is it a Failure?

“In a very brief nutshell: service was attentive but unnatural, atmosphere was overall a bit dark and dreary, and food was creative but unnecessarily complicated.

I applaud the desire to execute such a bold vision, and also admire the chef's mastery of pure culinary technique (no doubt).

But when taken together, the restaurant as a whole fails.

Miserably.” — Jake S.

7. Is it the GOAT?

“Vespertine is an experience with architecture, space, time and food. It the most unique, beautiful and delicious at the same time, the best meal ever.” — Danielle N.

8. It’s a Sensory Dance.

“We had a unique and expansive experience at Vespertine — the architecture, music, flatware, ceramics create an amazing space for a thought provoking series of dishes. The food is another element of a wonderful sensory dance — a long dance 4 hours.” — Barbara L.

9. Who Vespertine Is For

“You are paying (dearly) at Vespertine for a conceptual, artistic contemplation on food as opposed to eating a meal or having a friendly interplay with your server. If you might roll your eyes at a modern art museum, this might not be a good experience for you. If you would be bored out of your mind on a boat on a beautiful grey day, this might not be a good experience for you. If you think James Turrell is on to something and you have a goodly sum of money burning a hole in your pocket, then you will be in for an enjoyable, contemplative evening.” — Brad F.

10. Some Actual Details

“After appetizers, a staff member takes you to another room for the main course — this room only has about 6 tables so it feels very intimate — each dish complements the next — they are small bites but in total they bring out about 18 — all of them varied and a delicious to the palette [sic] — my personal favorites include: one that was some kind of dried fish skin covered with a black plum creation, and the duck liver with chocolate.” — Naibe R.