Ray’s and Stark Bar Announces New Executive Chef Viet Pham
The Patina Group has announced Chef Viet Pham as the new executive chef at Ray’s and Stark Bar. The restaurant and bar located at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) opened with Chef Kris Morningstar in 2011. Chef Pham was his sous chef and was perfectly poised to take over the kitchen.
Our favorite dish of the night was the beautiful spaghetti with sea urchin and smoked trout roe. It was creamy, rich and the pasta had a great texture.
The best presentation of the night went to the pork belly “checkerboard” with both red and yellow watermelon. I asked Chef Pham if the pork belly was done in Vietnamese “thit kho” style and he said yes. I knew from the carmelization it must have been so. Eaten with the opal mint and watermelon, the pork belly seemed like the perfect LA’s Indian summer dish.
Everyone at the table loved the Manila clams with spicy pork meatballs. The coconut curry broth was a winner and we had to get more bread to sop up all the lovely decadent juices. Chef Pham spoke lovingly of his mother and how she inspired him for the pork meatballs.
One of my favorite things is octopus. This octopus has been wood-grilled and served with cranberry beans and lemon cucumber, creating a lighter yet still hearty dish.
Forget about porchetta (for now) and go for the new lambchetta on the menu. Served with polenta, grilled brassica (greens) pine nuts and pickled raisins, this dish would be a great entree. I would have thought the lamb spirals would have been overcooked but the thick layer of fat kept everything tender.
Ray’s and Stark Bar wouldn’t be the same without the wood fired pizzas. The pizza had the same great chewy crust and savory toppings. I did try the new garlic sausage which had just enough garlic flavor to keep the vampires (and bad dates) away. Look for revamps on the charcuterie program as well.
We ended on a sweet note with panna cotta with fresh berries.
Chef Pham mentioned he’s working on his own ramen and a little birdie mentioned dumplings. I think his menu is exciting and captures the flavor of LA very well.
Ray’s & Stark Bar at LACMA5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036 – (323) 857-6180 © The Minty 2014