XIV Reigns Supreme on LA’s Lengthy List of Newcomers

Michael Mina serves up number 14 on a silver platter

Text by Natalie Shirinian & Michelle Peerali

Being native Angelenos, we have dined at quite a few restaurants, but few have left us with an experience that could measure up to the one we had at XIV. Not only was the impression memorable, but (more importantly) it left us with a strong desire to revisit—as soon as possible. Fine dining connotations in LA are often reduced to mere mentionings of “scene” rather than in the relishing of ambiance, fine wines, and of course, the food. Times have changed, however, and chefs have headed west to serve up culinary delights. Certainly, the experience one has upon entering XIV will bring the definition of LA fine dining to a whole new level.

SBE brought together one of the most prominent chefs in the U.S., Michael Mina, and world-renowned designer, Philippe Starck, to launch its newest restaurant which opened October 16th. This visually enticing space gives guests the feeling of transcending time to the 17th century, and being tucked away in a gorgeous French chateau to savor delights appealing to all the senses.

A $12 million renovation and reinvention of the space gave XIV its striking modern exterior—hard to miss at its prime location on the Sunset Strip. When you walk in, Phillipe Starck transports you from the sleek cold lines of modernity to a lavish moment in time—to old world Europe and the reign of Louis the 14th. Four large seating sections, each with its own fireplace adorned with candelabras, clocks and paintings above the mantle, and cloaked in beautiful chocolate brown draperies, really add to the elegant feel of an otherworldly social, yet very intimate, dining setting. The water goblets that vary in color signify Starck’s detail-oriented approach to making this space ‘just so.’ There is also an outdoor patio and bar perfect for private parties and warm LA nights.

As fate has it (or as SBE planned it), XIV is Michael Mina’s 14th restaurant—his first in Los Angeles. The menu is unique in its approach, focusing on individual tasting portions to inspire guests to experiment and choose from the many items on the menu to share with others at the table. Some delicacies include fragrant pumpkin dumplings, seasonal fresh lobster with fingerling potatoes, savory Alaskan cod, squid with glass noodles, and a beef ribcap with cashew puree and mascarpone foam. To top off the meal is a selection of choices from the Chocolate, Fruits & Nuts menu by pastry chef Jordan Kahn. Make sure to save room for these inventive desserts—items include a white chocolate cube with pistachio, sake and chrysanthemum; and passion fruit curd with tomato, cashew and jasmine.

Overall XIV offers an elegant escape to satisfy every occasion. Not only does it redefine American fare with an inventive seasonal menu and fresh ingredients, it also incorporates an appropriately luxurious and unique presentation that does the menu (and restaurant founders) justice.