Helene An, who is often recognized as the “mother of fusion cuisine,” has unveiled her passion project restaurant, Da Lat Rose with Crustacean Executive Chef Tony Nguyen.
Located above her famed Crustacean in Beverly Hills, Da Lat Rose is not just another restaurant — it is a gastronomic-biography of Helene’s dramatic life events. Beginning with her birth as the daughter of a Mandarin Scholar in 1944, the menu shares course-by-course how Vietnamese people were affected by World War II, the Rise of Communism and the Vietnam War, and ultimately end up as refugees in America.
Continuing through the culinary journey, Chef An’s riches-to-rags-to-riches story magnifies the plight of Vietnamese-Americans to adapt in their new land and serves as a prism through which the Vietnamese-American Diaspora can be better understood. In her 40-plus-year career, she was first to introduce Vietnamese flavors to mainstream America, forever changing their palates with a cuisine that honors both cultures.
In keeping with the Vietnamese tradition of iconography and oral storytelling, the 12-course tasting menu is presented to each table as a conical hat designed to reflect her journey. It is etched in porcelain to honor the family’s traditions with icons paying respect to Vietnamese chinoiserie and ceramic art forms. The 40-seat restaurant also includes an eight-seat chef counter and a private room for 18. There will be one seating on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. and two seatings at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Through a tiny, nondescript entrance to the left of Crustacean, guests proceed up the stairs to the bar area which pays homage to Vietnam’s traditional neighborhood beer hubs – Bia Hoi. The sleek interior is decorated with materials sourced from Vietnam and features tables inspired by Vietnamese street food vendors with hidden drawers designed to hold Da Lat Rose’s signature micro-brew beer, beer-based cocktails and four amuse-style courses. In keeping with the loud and buzzy traditions of Bia Hoi, guests will meet and interact with one another before departing “down the street” to taste different foods.
While at Crustacean guests famously walk on water, Da Lat Rose guests are transported over a custom-built “air bridge” into the main dining room: The Dining Street. Custom-built rickshaw-inspired carts are attached to dining tables where the meal continues to be plated, prepared or presented tableside for each course in keeping with the traditional street-food traditions of Vietnam. While Helene’s story will begin in the Bia Hoi, guests will see the conical hat for the first time once they are seated in the dining room and servers will continue to narrate her journey through the duration of the meal. Wine and cocktail pairings are available with each drink incorporating ingredients that also relate to the story.
Da Lat Rose details
466 N. Bedford Dr., Beverly Hills, dalatrosebh.com, @dalatrosebh
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