David Judaken is a South Africa native and longtime Angeleno who’s built a reputation for nightlife excess at venues like Garden of Eden, Mood and most recently, MyHouse. Now his Syndicate Hospitality Group has entered the restaurant fray with EAST. The sleek pan-Asian restaurant opens on ever-evolving Hollywood Boulevard on October 6, and last night, Judaken filled the restaurant with food writers for a sneak preview.
“I’m a believer in Hollywood and want to see it evolve,” said Judaken, who worked with Hollywood designer Dodd Mitchell for three years to transform two bowling lane-shaped storefronts into a 125-seat Hollywood pleasure palace. Expect a front lounge with a flickering 10-foot fireplace and what looked like oversized black “flowers” on the ceiling. A split-level dining room hosts white walls, four-foot, bead-shaped candelabras and a towering 65-foot-high skylight.
Chef Keven Alan Lee signed on with EAST on October 1, 2006. Before that, the Chatsworth native attended the Culinary Institute of America and spent a decade in Vegas, rising to the rank of executive chef at Lutèce. Most recently, he worked in Costa Rica. The primary categories on his opening menu include SOME LIKE IT RAW, SMALL BITES, FROM THE OCEAN and GRAZERS.
During the preview, Lee featured 10 courses that will appear on the opening menu, including Tuna Southwestern Style (normally $15) – albacore sashimi plated with charred corn, pea tendrils, cilantro, scallions and chipotle lime sauce; and (pictured) Bali Peppered Tuna ($22) – ahi tuna paired with a mix of gingered sweet potatoes, a thatch of frizzled carrots and beets and Parallel 30 Barbeque Sauce, with every ingredient derived from the globe’s 30th parallel.
Sake Seared Scallops ($19) were served with pea shoots and sweet corn custard garnished with a coriander cream sauce.
The Lobster Dog ($12) may become the restaurant’s breakout dish, with Maine Lobster meat blanketing brioche bread, drizzled with garlic Hollandaise.
Head bartender Joshua Dov previously worked at Fat Fish in West Hollywood and impressed Judaken with his seasonal, herb-driven cocktails. His opening menu features a mix of MARTINIS, ON THE ROCKS and BUBBLES. Expect options like Red Rum, with 10 Cane Rum, ruby red grapefruit, Serrano chilies and orange bitters; Reckoner (pictured), a combination of Rye whiskey, red bell pepper, opal basil and agave nectar; and Joi De Veev, Champagne with Veev acai spirit and blueberries.
For dessert, Lee is planning to serve gooseberry cobbler and Tahitian vanilla bean bread pudding with white chocolate and coconut, to name just two options.
Update: EAST is now CLOSED.