Upon walking up to First & Hope you can’t help but notice you’re standing in a strip mall that caters mostly to daytime office workers. Even with Disney Hall and Music Center Plaza within eye-shot, there is nay a soul around, but walk a few feet and enter the glass doors of First & Hope’s art deco inspired modern supper and jazz club and you’ll find yourself at one of downtown’s most unique and inspiring restaurants. Glowing purple lights accentuate the restaurant’s sleek art deco lines. Waitresses buzz around in custom made silver cocktail dresses, waiters and bartenders look like their straight out of the Mad Men costuming dept (which in fact they are).
Still considered a freshman to the downtown dining scene, only being open a few weeks, First & Hope is just what downtown needs; a venue to have a fine cocktail, dinner and take in a live show. (The music and entertainment will be in full swing in June.) Opened by first time restaurant owners Terry Brewer and Parker Martin, it’s southern inspired comfort dishes were concocted by Chef Shelly Cooper, along with a top notch bar program by Edison alums Marcos Tello and Aidan Demarest.
Small plates include delectable deep fried oysters battered with cornmeal and topped with BBQ sauce and blue cheese, Swedish meatballs, or a crab meat pot pie. These are truly small, and plan on getting several of these to share if you have a large party. Medium sized appetizers include Praise the Lard!, a plate of pig ears, pork cheeks and belly, or a mac and cheese flight from a selection of 6 or so cheeses. Entree size plates like Duck Duck Goose, sugar and spiced seared duck breast, duck leg confit and foie gras served on a spring onion hoe cake are just enough for one. Other dishes include a southern twist on the classic burger, meatloaf and fried chicken. Order something the whole table can share like the beer can chicken, rack of lamb or cowboy steak for two.
Leave room for dessert, as the sweets are just as playful. Like the Porky Pig banana split, bacon and banana ice cream with jalapeno hot fudge, brandied cherries and caramel pork rinds, or try the LAPD doughnut shakedown, a mix of Boston cream pie doughnuts, with a layered strawberry milkshake.
TIPS: Dinner won’t be cheap, but thankfully, with the ergonomic wine system they have several wines by the glass for around 10 bucks. Valet parking is available for just $5. Weekly specials from 5-7pm include $10 TV dinners (TUE), $5 fried chicken (WED) , and Farmer’s Market cocktails (THU). Get $20 worth of food for just $10 today only (5/24) at the dine LA facebook page.