The counter at 54Twenty offers front-row seats for watching two cooking philosophies collide.
You can see most of the kitchen of this new, newfangled Hollywood diner from that perspective: the flattop and broiler at one end, the pair of immersion circulators at the other. A line cook might walk past, the weight of a liquid-nitrogen canister making the veins in his tattooed forearms pop.
Kyle Schutte, a Richard Blais acolyte who once served pork belly with root beer gelée at V? Restaurant in Marina del Rey, is behind this avant-garde take on the American diner. Some dishes, like the lobster roll ($19) with its powdered mayonnaise, are more reliant on contemporary gadgetry and tricks. Others simply depend on a good idea and the searing heat of the short-order cook’s best friend, the flattop griddle.
The corned-duck Reuben ($14) falls into the latter category, the amalgam of beef, sauerkraut and Swiss reinterpreted with tender strips of pickled duck breast and sour red-cabbage slaw.
Kitchen technology wouldn’t help the too-sweet float ($6) made with vanilla soda and root-beer ice cream. But 54Twenty’s playful spirit and fundamental flattop skills make this clash of cultures compelling.
54Twenty, 5420 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; 323-464-1570 or 54twenty.com
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