Ray’s at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
July 2, 2012 2 Comments
In my opinion, Ray’s at LACMA is the most impressive museum restaurant in the city; so good that it actually doesn’t need to be qualified as a “museum restaurant” and can stand on its own with some of LA’s more acclaimed establishments. My boyfriend and I really enjoyed our relaxing weekend lunch together at Ray’s and our touring of some current exhibitions. The combination of fresh, well-prepared food and interesting artwork were central to a memorable and fun day. Ray’s is absolutely not the mediocre and depressing museum café with club sandwiches and canned soup. Though the prices are high, we left feeling like our splurge was money well-spent.
At Ray’s, the menus come on clear plastic clipboards. I really like this little touch, it gives the experience a crisp, contemporary feel without being unfamiliar.
The bread came warm and toasty, accompanied with some salted butter and chopped chives. Yum!
After devouring the bread, I had the chance to look around and enjoy the bright, colorful dining area.
And even play with the clever tables! The silverware is stored in a built-in drawer. An unexpected but very nice little homage to design.
Our appetizer was this hamachi (yellowtail) dish. The orange sauce had a bright citrus flavor that paired well with the smoothness of the fish. The microherbs and baby mushrooms were very fresh and flavorful. Though this dish was quite good, I still prefer to eat those perfect pieces of raw fish with just a little soy sauce and wasabi.
I ordered the “Benedict Burger,” which is a kind of burger-eggs benedict hybrid. The burger was cooked to perfection (medium-rare for me) and the gooey egg was of course, oozy and yummy. Thankfully the waffle fries were very crisp, because I was ambivalent about the very wilted watercress.
Stephen ordered the soft shell crab sandwich. It came with a spicy sort of slaw and altogether, the sandwich was great. The chewiness of the crab, softness of the brioche, and crunchiness from the dressed carrots and cabbage made for a well-composed stack.
And, being the macaroni and cheese aficionados we are, we tried Ray’s mac and cheese. Though plenty cheesy and buttery, it was good but not great.
For dessert, we ordered the “Citrus,” which was a very tart sponge cake with bergamot ice cream. I loved the strong citrusy flavors and the mandarinquat (mandaring orange + kumquat cross) chips were delicious. You could really taste the many layers and aspects of citrus; bitter, sweet, and sour, all melding harmoniously.
Ray’s strength in their food and presentation is reinforced in their strong graphical identity. The font and the color of the restaurant’s visual theme are very striking and energetic.
If good food is what it takes to get you to a museum, Ray’s at LACMA more than fits the bill. Fantastic eats, attentive service, and a glamorous, sleek California vibe. Definitely save room for dessert!
The restaurant has a great mid-century modern atmosphere, so why not check out California Design at LACMA too?
5905 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036