Scene Setter: With East Restaurant & Lounge, David Judaken plans a future in restaurants
There comes a point in every forward-thinking person's life when it's time to stop worrying about the party and start eating. That's what happened to nightlife impresario David Judaken when he decided to open East Restaurant & Lounge instead of adding another nightclub to his impressive list of Hollywood properties (MyHouse, Opera/Crimson and Mood).
"I've evolved," says Judaken, 39, with cool confidence. "Nightclubs are dysfunctional for me, I no longer hang out in my own facilities. Restaurants will be my focus from here on out."
If Judaken stays true to his word, that could be a good thing for the dining public. East, a sophisticated Asian- inspired retreat in the heart of Hollywood, was built with the same razzle-dazzle sensibility of a club but without the prowling-for-a-hookup scent of desperation.
Designed by Dodd Mitchell (Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Teddy's, Thompson Beverly Hills Hotel), East is an exercise in texture and shadow. A cross between a Tibetan monastery and the Bat Cave, it features sloping walls of white faux-stone; leafy trees beneath a peaked 65-foot industrial skylight; flickering 4-foot cream-colored candles suspended from the ceiling and recessed booths sheltered by stalactite-like drippings.
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Photo: Fresh scallops on a half-shell, with a lemon grass sambal, wasabi creme fraiche, shiso dust and cilantro served at East Restaurant & Lounge. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times.