Halloween isn’t a holiday that’s traditionally associated with fine dining, but this spookiest of traditions was at the heart of a surprise restaurant opening in downtown LA earlier this week. On Monday night, while early trick-or-treaters gallivanted outside (and some of them inside), the Ace Hotel quietly closed out their previous ground floor property, LA Chapter, and ushered in Best Girl.
The name is a callback to another onsite Ace property; the first movie ever screened at The Theatre next door was on Halloween, back in 1927. That film was called My Best Girl and stars the legendary Mary Pickford, and the new restaurant takes its name from the film.
Best Girl is helmed by Michael Cimarusti, an unassuming chef who has quietly taken over LA’s sustainable seafood scene. He’s already well-known for other properties focused in that area, including the New English seaboard-inspired Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood, the market Cape Seafood & Provisions on Fairfax, and his flagship fine dining seafood restaurant Providence on Melrose, which he operates with co-owner Donato Poto. Cimarusti and co also opened a brand new seafood stall, Il Pesce Cucina, in the Century City Eataly location this week — so he’s nothing if not busy.
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This is Michael Cimarusti, he's the head chef of our new restaurant @bestgirldtla. He's a @dodgers fan, photo shy and the absolute sweetest. You may know him from his other two restaurants @providencela & @connieandteds. Welcome to the family, Michael. We're glad you're here.
Cimarusti’s partnership with the Ace is one of his first properties that is not entirely seafood-focused, and perhaps the room to experiment has served him well. In his first turn away from fish-first dining, Cimarusti has concocted some real left field knockouts, like the Porterhouse steak for two ($62), that steers clear of fussy baked potatoes or spinach by doubling as the filling for tacos. Served with housemade cream, salsa, guacamole, and a heaping pile of warm and soft corn tortillas, the steak was transformed into an LA street food staple. My companion ordered the steak rare, and it was perfectly seared on the outside and delightfully juicy and pink inside.