ANNOUNCES GRAND OPENING
Chef Sascha Lyon Debuts Mid Wilshire Neighborhood Bistro
(With A Slight French Accent)
After quietly enjoying a recent soft opening along a busy stretch of La Brea Avenue, just south of Wilshire Boulevard, Chef Sascha Lyon announces the grand opening of the chef’s very personal passion project, COMMERSON Restaurant on Thursday, December 15, 2016. Each guest arriving Thursday evening will be greeted with a complimentary glass of champagne to welcome new friends, neighbors, and diners to the COMMERSON table.
A native Angeleno, Chef Sascha Lyon began his career early, working in the L’Ermitage kitchen of Chef Michel Blanchet at the young age of fourteen. He attended the Culinary Institute of America, going on to mentor alongside Chefs Michel Richard and Alain Giraud at L.A.’s iconic Citrus Restaurant. At the recommendation of Chef Roger Verge, Lyon was hand selected to join twelve young cooks to open Chef Daniel Boulud’s four-star Restaurant Daniel, where he remained for three years. Lyon cooked in London and Miami, returning to New York City to serve as Sous Chef for the grand opening of Keith McNally’s celebrated restaurant Balthazar. McNally later named Lyon Chef de Cuisine for the opening of Pastis, the game changing Manhattan dining room where the young chef devoted the next six years. As Lyon reminisces, “It was a very special time when I was training. All of those great chefs – Blanchet, Boulud, Verge, Richard – they were all in the kitchen cooking every night, they were hands on, they were perfecting their craft and training their cooks every single day. They had yet to begin empire building, and the experience of working alongside them every service was priceless. It was a very different time, when craft, skill, and execution were demanded, and perfection was the aspiration.” Lyon eventually departed McNally’s team in 2006 to open his own Manhattan dining room, SASCHA Restaurant and Bakery, receiving critical acclaim for years before selling his restaurant and relocating to Los Angeles. Most recently Chef Lyon debuted Delphine Brasserie at Hollywood’s W Hotel, and serving as culinary consultant on numerous projects throughout Southern California.
Named for the French botanist Philibert Commerson, a practicing physician that was among the first to circumnavigate the globe, where he studied and discovered a wide variety of botanicals, nature, and wildlife, COMMERSON presents Chef Lyon’s personal vision of cooking and dining – pristine ingredients, presented simply, and properly executed. Lyon’s bistro menu is designed to reflect the offerings of the seasonal local markets, yet retain iconic dishes to allow locals to enjoy a sense of continuity, comfort, and familiarity. Large blackboards displayed throughout the restaurant will detail bar menu offerings and daily, market driven specials. Diners will discover new favorites and old classics, combined with the intense French training and execution that remains Chef Lyon’s hallmark, as well as one of the sole restaurants in the city to now offer dining service into the late night. As with Lyon’s mentors, he purposefully conceived the size of the dining room to enable him to remain in his kitchen cooking, every day, and every service behind the stoves alongside his culinary team.
The COMMERSON interiors were an intimate collaboration with Chef Lyon and his wife, artist and designer, Rita Lyon. “I tried to create a restaurant space that transitions magically from morning to night, an unobtrusive, pleasant place to gather and dine, a raw space that isn’t overly designed yet somehow feels luxurious and elegant. The space naturally echoes the openness of California landscape, while quietly referencing french modernism and functionality with intimate details like the Ada sconce (inspired by Charlotte Perriand) by Brendan Ravenhill and lighting by Workstead. The floors are left concrete, the walls unembellished. The pride of place is in the integrity of furniture, lighting and menu. I chose every material, finish and fixture carefully and manipulated them so as to celebrate each one. The back bar for example is maple ply and designed in a way that highlights it’s beauty and strength. The walls are plaster of Paris, the benches built efficiently in solid ash. I worked with a wonderful craftsman to build the wood and leather benches and the back bar who has been in business in L.A. for over 60 years. Sascha’s relationships with farmers and purveyors are of the same nature and significance. We both believe strongly in collaboration, involving skilled passionate craftsman and artisans in our work.”
Lyon has surrounded himself with an impressive roster of hospitality professionals in both the front and back of house, including:
Pastry Chef Liz Sencion – Following culinary school, Sencion mentored with Chef Malika Ameen at Chateau Marmont, leading to pastry stints at the Beverly Wilshire and Four Seasons Hotels with Chef Lee Smith, The Peninsula Hotel, and Executive Pastry Chef at Hollywood’s W Hotel with Chef Sascha Lyon. Sencion prepares all of COMMERSON’s desserts from scratch, as well as the daily baking of the restaurants many breads, buns and pastry products.
Sommelier Sam Rethmeier mentored alongside Bobby Stuckey at Boulder, CO Frasca Food and Wine, L.A.’s Chi Spacca, and Santa Barbara’s Les Marchands with Eric Railsback and Brian McClintic. “Each wine is sourced from a producer that is making their wine with the tenets of organics and biodynamics. They’re smaller producers, most revolving around several generations of winemaking skills, passed down one generation to the next. I wanted wine that doesn’t require this extended time of smelling, discovering. I want you to be able to get the glass in front of you, smell it, taste it, drink it, think ‘Oh my god, that’s delicious,’ and then go right back to your time with your friends and family. The wine shouldn’t steal the show, rather add to the beauty of the evening. I hope guests leave and only think ‘that was awesome.’”
The COMMERSON bar and spirits program is led by Judson Stone, a veteran of Steven Starr’s Parc Restaurant in Philadelphia, most recently serving as a brand ambassador for Pernod Ricard and Avion Tequila, with an expertise of the tequila distilleries of Jalisco, Mexico. Stone’s menus reflect the fresh simplicity of the restaurant, utilizing only freshly squeezed organic juices. Say Judson, “We believe that less is more…a great spirit prepared with the freshest ingredients creates the best libation experience. Our drink offerings pair perfectly with the rich flavor subtleties that can be found in chef’s cuisine.”
To celebrate Thursday’s Grand Opening of COMMERSON, Chef Lyon and his staff will welcome diners with complimentary champagne to toast the arrival of the neighborhood’s newest gathering place and dining destination.
COMMERSON Restaurant | 788 S. La Brea | LA, CA 90036
323.813.3000 | www.commersonrestaurant.com
Hours of operation: Tuesday – Sunday 5pm until 1am
Reservations: www.opentable.com and 323.813.3000
Valet parking is currently available
Friday – Sunday, 5pm – 11pm, $5.00.
Two hour parking validation is offered
for complimentary garage parking,
with entrances on 8th Street and Sycamore.
Brunch and lunch will arrive in the coming weeks.