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Photos: Inside Otium, Downtown's Stunning Restaurant By The Broad Museum
Otium, the beautiful new restaurant next to The Broad museum will begin serving dinner next week and we caught a glimpse of the great things that are in store.
Nestled next to the giant, honeycombed contemporary art museum, Otium offers diners a sleek and stunning destination for eclectic and upscale dishes like tri-tip with fried egg, rice and kimchi and a roasted lamb leg served on flatbread. Just before Thanksgiving, the new addition to downtown's rapidly expanding food scene quietly began serving lunch and brunch, and starting this coming Tuesday, chef Timothy Hollingsworth will unveil his dinner service. LAist was invited to take a spin through the new restaurant and get a taste of some of the restaurant's upcoming bites and drinks from the yet-to-be-released menu.
Whether you're looking for a place to nosh after touring through the massive collection at The Broad, seeing a show down the street at Disney Concert Hall or just want to dine in what feels like a cleverly-designed, modern treehouse, Otium is a worthwhile destination. The restaurant's name is derived from the Latin word and concept for a place for leisure activities—the surrounding cultural institutions and the thoughtfully-assembled food and drinks definitely fit the theme.
At the end of a long, tree-lined lawn next to the museum, you'll find a free-standing building featuring lots of steel, glass, and wood, and even an exterior wall featuring a massive mural that uses the work of British artist Damien Hirst. Designed by Studio UNTLD and House of Honey, the restaurant features two-floors with an outdoor patio and a still-to-be completed second-level deck. And soon there will also be vertical gardens from LA Urban Farms dotting the rooftop, and the restaurant will eventually offer gardening and cooking classes for kids. Perched on a bridge above Hope Street, you're treated to dramatic views of the downtown skyline from several points throughout the restaurant.
There are plenty of cozy small tables perfect for dates, as well as long, hand-crafted wood communal tables, and plenty of copper, stone and ceramic features throughout the space. You'll catch artistic flourishes wherever you look, from leafy murals to twinkling glass strands hanging from the ceiling, and many of the design elements of Otium come from local artisans or specialized designers, including dishware from Irving Place Studio. The mostly open air-kitchen, featuring a wood-burning oven, also lets you get a look at the craftsmanship destined for your plate.
While the dinner menu hasn't been released yet, we did get a chance to sample some small bites that hint at what is to come, including beef tartare served in ceramic donabe bowls over dry ice, and a open-faced gyro with roasted lamb, pickled red onions, cucumbers, olives and parsley. There were also addictive arancini, a spicy agua chile with scallops and a creamy pumpkin soup with a maple foam. We also sampled cocktails that included a grape and almond Pisco with Lustau Oloroso Sherry, lemon coulis, a carbonated grape and almond foam. And for those chilly winter nights in L.A., there was a hot toddy with Bank Note Scotch, Fernet Branca, chamomile tea, honey, lemon and grapefruit zest, cinnamon, star anise, clove and edible flowers.
While Chef Hollingsworth brought solid barbecue to Studio City when he opened Barrel & Ashes last year, his latest venture—a partnership with Eli Broad and restaurateur Bill Chait—is giving him the opportunity to flex his creative skills in the kitchen even further. So, while we'll have to wait to see what else is in store, we can hope for plenty of great offerings in an idyllic setting.
Otium, is located at 222 S. Hope St., Downtown, (213) 935-8500.