The latest talk of the town is Brandon Kida’s newly opened multicultural mix of creativity in Hollywood, Gunsmoke. Tucked and hidden at the base of the Columbia Square Living Tower, Kida’s Nikkei restaurant blends the flavors of his Japanese roots and French training with the Mexican and Filipino influences of growing up in L.A.
The relaxing zen indoor/outdoor space is named after its historic location at Columbia Square, home to the CBS Radio studio where the Gunsmoke western radio show was broadcast and CBS TV from 1938 to 2007.
An Italian version of a scallion pancake, the spongy focaccia made in-house, is served with whipped ricotta and diced fresh apricots and poppy seeds for slathering. Kida’s Asian take on escargot is shitake mushrooms in a garlic soy butter next to a soft baguette, also baked daily on site.
For the artichoke fritter, mung beans, sweet potatoes and artichokes are shaved thin and formed into a light and crisp crosshatched delicacy topped with charred artichoke puree and dusted with Peruvian huacatay for an aromatic kick. Second only in drama to that is the warm Napa cabbage salad topped with crispy fried anchovy. It arrives looking like a compact green peony wrapped in parmesan shavings and is unfolded tableside with great panache.
Kida, who also helms Hinoki & the Bird as executive chef and launched his handmade dumpling concept Go Go Gyoza and Go Go Bird offering LA-style fried chicken in April 2020, brings plenty of heat to the table at Gunsmoke. The crispy quail with Szechuan peppercorns and local rockfish with sambal, cucumbers and delicately fried shallots will bring you to tears.
To cool things off, one of the dessert palette cleansers is another homage combining Kida’s years at L’Orangerie in Los Angeles and Lutèce in New York with his California upbringing – a honeydew granita served with semi-frozen melon and lime zest nestled in a pavlova, as delicate and graceful as the ballerina it was named after.
The palette only gets more colorful at the bar with an evolving menu under the direction of Rhino Williams, from Hollywood’s speakeasy-style Lost Property Bar. For the brave, the signature cocktail is Williams’ take on a Long Island Iced Tea. The Kyoto Iced Tea blends vodka, gin, rum, tequila, orange liqueur, fresh lemon, organic cane simple syrup and house-made cantaloupe soda served over pebble ice, with a side of cantaloupe soda to help bring down the octane level. Also a fan favorite that can easily be mistaken for a spa drink is the Almost Famous with Aviation gin, lime and cucumber juice topped with cucumber foam.
Should you rather channel your inner Marshal Matt Dillon at the bar, wrangle yourself the Yippee-Ki Yay with a mezcal kick or the Gunsmoke martini with Smoke Lab Vodka and dashi olives. And don’t forget to tip your hat if Kitty Russell saunters through.
On that note, Gunsmoke is a non-tipping restaurant and automatically adds a 20% fee to all checks.
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.