When you're invited to come kick it with Dominique Ansel at his new restaurant, you don't say no. Although I limit my press previews these days, when I was asked to come eat everything on the 189 by Dominique Ansel menu, I couldn't say yes fast enough. This I had to experience, even if it meant driving to The Grove just one week before Christmas. Did that send a chill down your spine? I managed to quell my anxieties about the insane parking lot and sea of basic bs for a few hours, and in that time I realized that I didn't have to be afraid of The Grove any longer. I was grown and could handle anything. Bless my therapist.
The name Dominique Ansel probably rings a bell and if you're hip to the pastry scene, there's no doubt you're familiar with the man who invented the cronut, not to be confused with the poor facsimile known as the Dou'ssant. If you lived in NYC you were witness to people standing in line to snatch up this croissant-donut hybrid, like it was a Supreme drop. Make not mistake, having only been open for just over a month, you'll find yourself waiting in line in L.A. too, although it moves quite fast and can be praised for its efficiency.
189 by Dominique Ansel is exactly what The Grove needed, it's beautiful and fun, without an air of pretension. If you want to keep it casual, order some pastries at the bakery–cookie shots, classic cronuts, cookies, and toasted marshmallows, to name a few. If you want to step it a notch, walk up stairs to the elevated dining room, where you'll find eager servers and an interesting Blood Mary cart. The giant room floods with natural light and boasts a patio as well, great for lurking all those flooding into The Grove. And boy, do you see a lot. Emoji eyes.
Brunch is served dim sum style , which although is a jovial idea, I am hesitant to say it's executed well. I pause on the co-sign as an image of a large Le Creuset serving tray with various foods placed atop is burned in my brain, with pancake syrup making a river around a delicious avocado burrata salad. Simply put, I do not want my foods touching each other. I'm one of those people who find that disgusting. That's not to say the food wasn't delicious and the experience fun. In fact, I noshed on many solid plates including–Dominque's Kouign Amann, Cronut Holes, Avocado Salad, DIY Lobster Rolls, Cedar Wood Baked Salmon and last but certainly not least, Pancakes served in a cast iron skillet. I'd pass on the fried chicken as the spices didn't hit like I wanted them too, but such is the trend across restaurants in Los Angeles.
Each dish is brought to your table and you have the choice of letting it stay or passing it by. You're given a cute menu where you can check off all that you ate, with prices ranging from $4-$10 per item, with the lobster topping the list with a $10 price tag. They offer a superb cocktail menu, with a Milk Punch sparkled with gold flakes that I couldn't recommend enough, served in a classic Champagne coupe, my favorite glass ever. The drinks are sophisticated yet edgy, with a brass bar that would make for a perfect reprieve after an afternoon of shopping.
From food to drinks and great customer service, 189 makes for a delightful brunch experience in L.A. Whether you're looking for the perfect place for a girls brunch, cute date, or familial meet up, the vibe is high. I look forward to returning to try their dinner menu, particularly the steak. Dominique said he'd be returning to NYC in January, but if you're lucky, you just might see him as he splits time between both his cities.
189 by Dominique Ansel, 189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90036