Underground Vietnamese: Downstairs at the new Blossom Cafe
A new hot spot at the Sunset Junction intersection of Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake (i.e., hipster central) is the subterranean level of the recently opened Blossom Cafe. When you enter at street level, you're immediately facing the host stand, where you'll be asked whether you want to sit upstairs or downstairs. Upstairs is charming enough, with exposed brick walls and sleek tables; a few couples might be sitting upstairs. Say you want to sit downstairs and the host might pause for a few seconds, then say, "A couple of people just left, so I think there's room."
And so you take the staircase down into a wide, dark, sort of creepy concrete-floored hallway. You'll see dim light coming from a doorway on the right. It opens into a quirky, packed dining hall with a communal table and recessed nooks that are booths for two. The furniture is mostly blond wood tables with boxy chairs or those ubiquitous Eames seats. The lights are clear tubes of LED string lighting that run across whitewashed beams on the ceiling. In the back is a boxy, all-glass wine room and slightly bizarre built-in terrariums.
The second location for the original downtown Blossom, there's also a stark marble-topped bar, where the bartender might be wearing a World Dodgeball Society T-shirt and asks if your food is "pho-bulous." There's draft La Chouffe and Tripel Karmeliet. With all that tangy fish sauce, you might want to go with a Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc. And there are oysters. It all comes together as a perfect fit for the neighborhood: draft beer, more Vietnamese food (in addition to Gingergrass on Glendale, Pho Cafe, also on Sunset, and the space formerly known as Soy Cafe on Hyperion), wine, oysters and a speakeasy vibe.
4019 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 953-8345, www.blossomrestaurant.com.
-- Betty Hallock
Photo: The downstairs space at the Blossom Cafe. Credit: Betty Hallock / Los Angeles Times