Recently Chrystal and I were invited to attend a menu tasting at Wolfgang Puck’s newest creation, WP24 Restaurant and Lounge. Chrystal was unfortunately unable to attend, so I rolled up to Downtown Los Angeles solo for an evening of nibbles and sips. Perched on top of the infamous Ritz Carlton in LA Live, WP24 offers a modern interpretation of Asian cuisine with panoramic views of LA’s beautiful cityscape. Inspired by Chef Puck’s time spent across the Pacific–along with his passion for Eastern ingredients and cooking techniques–this award-winning restaurant was the perfect escape for a sampling of signature small plates and cocktails.
WP24 is composed of two sections. Upon entering the eatery, you are immediately greeted by a large full-service bar surrounded by tables and booths, which comprise the lounge of WP24. This portion of the restaurant offers its own array of drinks, dishes, and desserts, all exclusive to the lounge. It’s a superb place to chill out with a date, enjoy a refreshment at the bar by yourself, or unwind with a group of friends after any event at the Staples Center! To get to the main dining area, the restaurant section of WP24, one just has to make a quick pass through this casual area where a whole other menu of gourmet treats awaits.
I sat with the invited group at a long table in the lounge where we could enjoy any one of their signature cocktails. I met some new foodies in the area, as well as reconnected with some familiar faces. Next to me sat Tara from When Tara Met Blog and Garret from The Los Angelicious Times. We toasted to fun times and good food as the food became to arrive to the table. A small menu lay in front of us, and soon we would be offered course after course of WP24’s best dishes. Luckily, I did not embark on this tasting journey alone. After a few plates were devoured, Chef de Cuisine Sara Johannes greeted us at our table to further highlight each dish. Chef Johannes was welcoming and full of smiles. Each of us were over the moon to have such warm, personal attention by the executor of these plates. But we were clearly unprepared for what happened next!
To our surprise, who but strolls up to our section beaming with pride and genuine hospitality bu Chef Wolfgang Puck himself. Chef Puck was immensely gracious, as he sat in the middle of our table and answered each of our questions about the food and drinks we were enjoying. He entertained our curiosities about WP24, his favorite foods to indulge in, his life in general, and his inspirations as a chef. We were beyond elated that he was not only in house while we were dining, but even more so that he took the time to check in. He even joyfully took a pic with each blogger and food writer at the tasting.
Well, needless to say at this point I was overjoyed. With unbelievable food in my belly, my face physically ached from an afternoon of laughing with the other participants. Oh, and did I mention I met Wolfgang Puck. I kept thinking, where is Chrystal when you need her? The night was awesome. If the evening ended at this point, I would have been happy with everything, but Mr. Puck had more tricks to share with us. Just when we thought the evening was winding down, he enthusiastically invited us on a personal tour of the kitchen–his kitchen!
It was the middle of the evening’s dinner rush, and the kitchen was alive and jumping with sous chefs, line cooks, and serving staff pumping out Chef Pucks vision on each plate. Chef Puck immediately introduced us to the pastry chef, Sally Camacho. She was busy adding finishing touches on the dessert plates we still had to enjoy. I had forgotten about dessert! What impressed each of us most was how hands-on Chef Puck was with the treatment of his food. As each dish shuffled pass him, he tasted it ensuring it was perfect.
On the tour, we learned that in addition to Chef Puck, the true superstars of the restaurant were renowned Chef de Cuisine Sara Johannes and Pastry Chef Sally Camacho. Both of these women share Chef Puck’s enthusiasm for Asian flavors and techniques. Together they have mastered WP24’s kitchen, solidifying its status as the newest culinary gem in Los Angeles. Sally Camacho–who we lovingly called Chef Sally during the tasting–recently won the opportunity to represent the U.S. in the Valrhona C3 Culinary Competition in Madrid in early 2012. She is considered an up-and-coming leader in modern day confectionery arts. Specializing in chocolate creations, Chef Sally churned out dessert after dessert for us to enjoy before we could leave the bustling kitchen.
All in all, the event was beyond my expectations. The food was stellar, original, and simply one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had. There were just too many pics to share them all in this post. Check out our Facebook for more shots of the amazing night. WP24 is a must-see, must-do, must-taste, and must-experience for any food enthusiast. The next time you’re in Downtown Los Angeles make a point to dine here for yourself. I’ll be sure to meet you there!
WP24 Restaurant & Lounge
900 West Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90015
WP24 Restaurant & Lounge provided this complimentary tasting. The opinions expressed here are our own.