Destroyer: An Under-the-Radar Restaurant Serving Food from the Future

Jordan Kahn, the enfant terrible of LA dining (in a past life, he visually outed an LA Timesrestaurant critic), has been quietly operating Destroyer, his tiny 16-seat Culver City breakfast and lunch spot, since September.

The inspiration for the interiors? “I wanted to create a minimalist space void of superfluousness, a neutral canvas for the food, ceramics, and people,” he says. “Often, the professional kitchen is a space associated with noise and chaos. I wanted to create a more tranquil environment to encourage the interaction between the chefs and guests.”

“The design focus was to create the most Instagrammable space possible,” he says. “Sounds totally douchey, I know. But nothing contributes to a restaurant’s following, mythology, or intrigue the way Instagram does. (As one Instagrammer says, “It’s nearly impossible not to feel like you’re eating food from the future at Destroyer.”)

Photos by Laure Joliet for Remodelista.

Destroyer is located in Culver City’s Hayden Tract, an industrial zone turned design district.

Destroyer is located in Culver City’s Hayden Tract, an industrial zone turned design district.

Like his previous avant-garde LA restaurant, Red Medicine, the interiors have an industrial vibe. Working with his partner, Carol Ann Emquies, Kahn has created a neutral, sunlit space that lets the cuisine take center stage. “Much of the interior is about highlighting the original materials from when the building was first constructed in the 1940s,” Kahn says.  “We preserved the original concrete floor, steel beams, and bow-truss wood ceiling and added obscured windows of ribbed glass with CorTen steel frames.”

Light floods the interior via ribbed glass windows and doors.

Light floods the interior via ribbed glass windows and doors.

"This is a very personal project,” Kahn says, “I’ve been fortunate to have met some incredible artists in Los Angeles, all of whom are connected through food in some capacity or another. Rather than purchasing ingredients from a spreadsheet or ordering furniture from a catalog, we had the opportunity to create our vision for food and beverage in the context of a space that highlights the work of all of my friends.”

Mason jars filled with preserved botanical ingredients add a dash of color to the otherwise neutral interiors.

Mason jars filled with preserved botanical ingredients add a dash of color to the otherwise neutral interiors.

The walls are painted in Behr’s  Ultra Pure White .

The walls are painted in Behr’s Ultra Pure White.

The pale oak furniture is by a friend of Kahn’s at the DMC Factory in LA.

The pale oak furniture is by a friend of Kahn’s at the DMC Factory in LA.

In the food prep areas, Kahn used composite quartz in the food-prep areas. For more on the subject, see  Remodeling 101: Engineered Quartz Countertops .

In the food prep areas, Kahn used composite quartz in the food-prep areas. For more on the subject, see Remodeling 101: Engineered Quartz Countertops.

The staff’s jeans and denim aprons are from  FRAME , which is next door to Destroyer. Above R: The restaurants ceramics are by  MATCH stoneware

The staff’s jeans and denim aprons are from FRAME, which is next door to Destroyer. Above R: The restaurants ceramics are by MATCH stoneware

“One of my favorite parts of the kitchen is the dish station,” Kahn says. “We used industrial stainless steel shelves, and had them powder coated in matte white to match the white walls of the kitchen.  From afar, the equipment looks as though it is floating.”

The center island countertops are bleached white oak.

The center island countertops are bleached white oak.

Stay tuned: Kahn is opening his radical new “architecture-inspired” restaurant, Vespertine, across the street from Destroyer, later this spring. “It’s a secret project I’ve been working on for four years, an experimental dining concept housed inside an architectural masterpiece designed by architect Eric Owen Moss. The meal will be a three-plus hour event which will take you through the various realms of the four-level structure, featuring a a flurry of 24 courses.”

Dinnerware ceramic vessels by MATCH stoneware

Match Stoneware