Husband-and-wife team Rob Lawson and Angela Hernandez are co-executive chefs at newly opened Flores, a 95-seat restaurant whose contemporary American cuisine with Spanish (espuma - a.k.a. foam) and Asian (wasabi aioli) tones stands out on izakaya-lined Sawtelle Boulevard. Lawson worked at Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air, Gordon Ramsay and L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in New York. Hernandez worked at the Bazaar in L.A., L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon and Corton in New York. Now the two, who met at a culinary school in Austin, Texas, have teamed with Flores owner Amal Flores to collaborate on a menu that includes deviled eggs with crispy pig’s ear and pimenton; pig cheek croquetas; Tokyo turnips with wakame butter; chicken liver bruschetta with beet, cherries and bacon; soft-shell crab sandwiches; hanger steak with pomme purée; and roast chicken for two with grilled bread and roasted mushrooms.
What’s coming up next on your menu?
Hernandez: We are very excited that fall is around the corner. It's our favorite time of the year. The season naturally inspires food that feels soulful and hearty. We are in the process of working on ideas for terrines and pates ... as well as developing some new dishes that fit better with the season. We are also looking forward to opening our breakfast program in early September. It will feature our pastry chef Cesar Bermudez Cifuentes’ house-made pastries, some inspired from his upbringing in Spain, like the coca, which is typical Catalan pastry.
Lawson: Octopus and bone marrow and smoked pork butt sandwich.
Latest ingredient obsession?
Hernandez: Forum Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar. They also make a very nice Chardonnay vinegar. It's unfiltered to preserve the purest flavor of the grape.
Lawson: Salmorra. It’s a smoky chile tomato garlic paste.
What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again?
Hernandez: Western Doma Noodle House in K-town. I used to live five minutes down the street, so would eat there three to four times a week. I always get the kal guk su ... it's a hand-cut noodle in broth.
Lawson: Pizzeria Mozza for the chicken liver and testa.
The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives?
Hernandez: My spoon. Its functionality serves multiple purposes for me in the kitchen for tasting, basting, plating.... It's practically an extension of my fingers.
Lawson: Digital scale.
Your favorite day off away from the kitchen is ...
Hernandez: I plan my days around what and where I'm going to eat.
Lawson: Sleep in. Ride my motorcycle down the PCH. Have dinner with my wife.
Flores, 2024 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, (424) 273-6469, www.floreslosangeles.com