Ray’s & Stark Bar

amuse bouche

One of the great pleasures of the summer is enjoying a night out at LACMA (the Los Angeles County Museum of Art). On Fridays, there’s live jazz in the courtyard and with the current Tim Burton exhibition, the museum is hopping. On top of that, the new Ray’s and Stark Bar with Chef Kris Morningstar (most recently from Mercantile and District) brings a new dining experience for museum goers.

I went last month to check out the on-going film series at LACMA. Before the film, we enjoyed dinner at Ray’s and then headed back to Stark Bar afterward for drinks.

Owl & Pussycat

I enjoyed one cocktail at dinner, the Owl & Pussycat (rum, lemon, simple syrup, strawberries, chilis) . The cocktail list is by “barsmith” Michel Dozois  whom I know from his Neve Ice company.

Owl & Pussycat - view of the ice

I just love the big block of ice. It kept the drink nice and cool without watering it down so much. The picture is as is- no tweaking, that color is brilliant! And the taste? Sweet like summer.

funghi agnolotti

squid with padron peppers

The menu at Ray’s constantly changes with what’s available. Quite a lot is grown on the premises. I would say the menu is Mediterranean influenced. We started with two appetizers to share. I immediately knew I wanted the squid with the padron peppers. My friend was persuaded by me to try the funghi agnolotti. The squid was so tender and went well with the vibrant peppers. It was instantly my favorite. Then I had the agnolotti and changed my mind that this was my favorite appetizer. The skin of the agnolotti was so thin and supple. I thought the hazelnuts in the dish were also great.

sea bream with mussels


I really liked eating with my friend because she chose all the things I would have ordered- seafood and more seafood. The mussels in her sea bream dish were beautiful. Such glossy shells.

My own halibut dish with mushrooms and sun chokes was just amazing with the rich buttery sauce. I was really happy with my dinner. I’d been before for lunch and thought it was fine (I had a salad and a sandwich then). Now I think this is where you should go when you have more time to linger. But we had to run to make our film.

house-made oreos

We were given the house-made oreos with our check. Ah! This is one of the reasons why I love Chef Kris! I adored those damn cookies at Mercantile and was so bummed when they stopped making them. I suppose the chef found his source for the chocolate again.

mint daiquiri


Italian Stallion

After the show, plopped ourselves down at Stark Bar. They were offering cocktails from the special Jazz menu.

Mint Daiquiri– rum, lime, simple syrup, mint

Presbyterian-rye, ginger, lime

Italian Stallion– Scotch, Carpano Antica vermouth, Cynar

I liked all of them but my fave was the Italian Stallion. The daiquiri was very nice though on the patio.

I see myself cocktailing and arting it up here more often.

Ray’s & Stark Bar at LACMA

5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036 – (323) 857-6180