As restaurants have gone casual, you don’t see much Bernardaud porcelain anymore. Where does the French Laundry keep all the myriad plates used in service anyway?
Some restaurants have reverted to sturdy bistro ware, those heavy, almost indestructible white plates with a stripe of blue or nothing at all. You’d think Son of a Gun, the new seafood restaurant from Animal founders Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, would be firmly in that genre, especially with most plates priced below $20.
But I picked up a dusky taupe plate one night and realized it was Heath ware, hard-fired clay from the iconic Sausalito, California, pottery in business for the past 55 years. The glaze is matte, the better to show off the food.
Heath has a showroom right in Los Angeles on Beverly Boulevard. It turns out Son of a Gun is not the only L.A. restaurant to use Heath dinnerware. (In San Francisco, Chez Panisse and the Slanted Door use it.) And most don’t have a full place setting of Heath, but use it with discretion.
I contacted showroom manager Coco Iverson, who told me Soho House, Pacé, Forage, Gjelina, Mezze, R & D Kitchen and South Beverly Grill set the table with Heath, too, though not exclusively.
The shapes are classic, the glazes designed to frame the food with subtle, glowing color. The dinnerware is sturdy and you don’t have to be exceptionally delicate with it. Check out the entire line of firsts and seconds at the Heath Ceramics showroom on Beverly. Ceramicist Adam Silverman also has a studio here and creates original pieces for the store.
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Heath Ceramics, 7525 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles; (323) 965-0800; www.heathceramics.com. Open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.
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Peeling a pineapple has never been so easy!
—S. Irene Virbila
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Photo credit: Heath Ceramics