Let's start the new year with some healthy eating in one of Los Angeles' newest vegan restaurants. I've been thrilled with the influx of great plant based restaurants we've been getting in LA. Tal Ronnen kicked things off with his swanky vegan spot Crossroads and many others followed like Plant Food and Wine in Venice, Philip Lee's plant-focused Gadarene Swine in Studio City and Le Comptoir, Gary Menes' tiny 10-seat counter in the Hotel Normandie. The vegan restaurant scene is at an all-time high. So it almost makes sense that musician Moby recently opened a plant based restaurant in LA, called Little Pine.
Though I must say, Moby isn't new to the plant based world. He's actually been vegan for 28 years, so he's not just jumping on the fad du jour with a celebrity-based restaurant. He even lives in Silver Lake, just down the street from his new restaurant, Little Pine. In fact, he was there the night I dined, talking to wait staff and workers and then dining. He's not phoning this in.
This is all why I was disappointed I didn't enjoy the food at Little Pine more. I dined with a non-meat eater and we ordered a few different things like the warm, tomato soup with garlic crostini. I don't doubt those tomatoes were organic and well-grown, but I would have liked to see some spice or acid, or even just a bit more seasoning.
The macaroni and cheese used gluten free pasta and a housemade non-dairy cheese sauce. Again, there just wasn't enough flavor. It was quite bland.
The wild mushrooms had a little more going on with a spicy arugula dressed salad on top and walnut parmesan.
The Mediterranean salad had several different greens, olives and tomatoes, but I'm hoping for more than a good salad when I go out.
If I were in the mid-West where plant-based food might be harder to come by, Little Pine would be quite nice. I'm sorry Moby, I've been spoiled. The Los Angeles Vegan restaurant scene has become quite competitive. I still think about what Gary Menes did with a squash from his garden during my meal at Le Comptoir.
Moby does state on the Little Pine website many great reasons for opening the restaurant like, "I can write about organic food and veganism and architecture & design, but it’s a lot more compelling and interesting to open a restaurant and show actual, physical examples of organic food, community, veganism, and architecture & design...and that’s the simple hope i have for little pine: beautiful vegan food in a beautiful space." For all of that I applaud the sentiment behind the restaurant that is further amplified by his recent announcement that he's giving 100% of the Little Pine proceeds to animal welfare groups - truly impressive. I just hope the seasonings and bolder flavors follow soon too!
Little Pine Restaurant
2870 Rowena Ave, Silver Lake