What a spectacular way to spend a Friday evening in Southern California, food, wine, art and genuine people, how could you go wrong?
It’s on Lankersheim Blvd. in North Hollywood, not far from Universal Studios, and not far from the Universal Studios Metro Rail Red line station. This was one of those nights where I just didn’t want to drive and knew that alcohol was part of the evening, so I opted for an uber from my home to Hollywood and Highland metro rail station, took the train from there, and it was about 5 blocks away from this magnificent venue.
When you arrive you are greeted by Rob Ciancimino the curator and a glass of processco. Checking out the art on the walls, which changes every month. The official opening was the night before where they took the long chefs table out of the space so it could act as a proper art gallery. I was fortunate to view the art the day after its opening. The show is called Between The Lines, Artist Oscar Meza. Wonderful linear pieces, my kind of art, abstract with figures and hidden meanings in each piece. The prices were also very affordable.
INTRO Art Gallery and Chefs Table is an innovative event space located on Lankershim Boulevard in the up-and-coming NOHO Arts District. Imagine an art gallery exhibition where you relax at a 24-foot chef’s table, enjoy a specially-curated menu from Michelin-starred chef Paul Shoemaker, and drink fine wines while the featured artist reveals their personal insights on the pieces displayed. Whether you want to catch rising young artists with a growing following, or established art-world luminaries looking to show in a creative new environment, INTRO’s relaxed and stylish 1,000 sq. ft. space will provide the best possible showcase. Every month will feature a new fine artist, and their art will stay up throughout the month for all our guests to view and purchase. Specialty menus can be curated for your specific event. From passed hors deserves and snacks to an elaborate 12 course meal, INTRO will deliver a delicious, elegant evening. We’re also open to the public twice per week with an exceptional 10-course tasting menu. INTRO also has live music capabilities for your private party, or for artists to showcase their talents to the industry. INTRO is a celebration of Art, Food and Music and is available for all your event needs.
Chef Paul Shoemaker brings a breath of culinary artistry, seasonal reverence, and imagination to his cuisine. Complimenting the global, refining techniques for which Shoemaker’s playful menus reflect his personality and a sophistication that honors the diverse Los Angeles community. Chef Paul’s pedigree stems from the kitchens of Michelin-starred Bastide, Providence, Alain Ducasse, French Laundry, and Water Grill, all which shaped his current culinary philosophy. By honoring the longtime traditions of local farmers, ranchers, purveyors, and fishermen, as well as weekly foraging excursions in Malibu hills, the essence of California’s agriculture and resources are tasted thought his menus. Paul’s touch on his menu showcases a causal yet sophisticated meal, made with playful techniques and flavors that express the brightness of Southern California.
Curator Rob Ciancimino, brings his vast hospitality experience with a special focus on advanced, high-end, customer service. He’s taken the fine dining background he learned as a youngster in NY, and melded it into some of Hollywood’s hottest venues. The most recent being the very successful live music venue and restaurant called Sayers. He got his start in Los Angeles almost 18 years ago as a 26-year-old General Manager of the now famous Circle Bar in Santa Monica. He then went on to work at the W Hotel in Westwood, where he oversaw and ran the high-end 9:30 Restaurant and Backyard Bar. Rob went on to consult and work with former sushi restaurants Tengu, both in Westwood and Santa Monica, before opening and running the highly successful Playhouse in Hollywood. It was after that he got the call from SBE to open and run Sayers, an exclusive lounge and restaurant. It was at Sayers that Rob really tapped in to the live music aspect of hospitality, overseeing the operations for live music shows housing artists such as Prince, Stevie Wonder and the Black Keys, just to name a small few. Rob C has been one of the most sought after GMs in the city as his penchant for understanding the intangibles of putting a service team together to his stylish execution in all aspects of hospitality and beyond. He believes true hospitality is a lost art and prides himself on redefining people’s dining expectations to an actual “felt experience” touching upon all emotions.
Now on the meal, we sit down at 8:00 pm, they are many guests and we are all conversing about every thing under the sun, but as each course is delivered Chef Paul Shoemaker comes out and describes each delightful item with appreciation and expertise. We are all his audience and completely taken by this gastronomic experience.
Here’s what we had:
Cocktails – Bourbon Cider Liquid Rav, Champagne Strawberry Fizz, and Cold Fever.
Pre-Amuse – Salmon Skin Chicharon, Smoked Salmon Row, Crème Fraiche, Lemon Gel.
Amuse – Foie Gras, Dime Bag.
Bone Marrow Ravioli, Parmesan Reggiano Espuma.
Scallop, Baked Avocado, Yuzu Ponzu, Caviar, Smoked Sesame, Pickle Daikon.
Peas and Carrots with Pate Choux Gnocchi, English Shoots, and Carrot Jus.
Maine Lobster with Coal Butter Poached, Basil Soil, and Lemon Espuma.
Beets with Goat Cheese, with Smoked Walnuts, Pickled Berries, Meringue, Mellow, and Meyer.
Big Eye Tuna with Sake Lemongrass Reduction, Tomato, Confit, Pewee Potato, and Red Shiso.
Pork Belly Bourbon Aged Maple, with Honey Poached cranberries, Pine Nut, and Cocoa Ginger.
Prime Hanger Beef with Epoisses Fondue, Sauce Bordelaise, and Pistu.
Gold Mine 24 k with Gold Passion Fruit.
Chocolate Forrest with Milk Chocolate Spruce, and Brown Butter.
There was also 2 wines served with the meal:
Pfeiffer Three Chimneys – Chardonnay Marsanne, and La Bete – Cotes Du Rhone, both lovely picks as pairs to many of these items served.
It is way too hard to talk about each individual item; all I can say is every dish had its own individual story and explosion in your mouth. Chef Paul makes it all look so easy; his explanations are a painting in words; each and every presentation was a marvel. But when these wonderful taste treat hit your palate, all bets are off, and you are transported into something otherworldly. The dishes are small plates but by the time you’re done with each one it’s like a building of a grand symphony, with all of the musical notes dancing away in your mouth. It is a sexy culinary extravaganza; with all of the food being an aphrodisiac for what ever you want it to be for, in my case life!!! The luxury of being able to spend a night with such indulgence it just over whelming. It’s really a once or twice a lifetime innovative opportunity and it just needs to be experienced by every one.
A very special shout out to my friend and publicist Lawrence Moore for providing me with such amazing opportunities and experiences, I just can’t say enough about her and what she lets me enjoy and write about, I love my life!!!
“I cook with wine…SOMETIMES I even add it to my food” W.C, Fields.
4200 Lankershim Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA.
* Note some content was taken off of their website.