Celebrity Master Of Meat, Adam Perry Lang, Expands His West Coast Culinary Empire

APL, Los Angeles, California

Adam Perry Lang Seasons Steak At APL in Hollywood, CA

Josh Telles

It's a typically lively dinner service at APL in the heart of Hollywood, California. Chef, owner—and legendary pitmaster—Adam Perry Lang, steps out from behind a large kitchen. He peers over the tables, curious to see how his new dishes are being received. Alongside outsized plates of his signature dry-aged beef are unexpected accompaniments; scallop crudo, slow-roasted heirloom tomatoes, Katsu-style fried chicken cutlets. Not exactly steakhouse fare. But as Lang is fond of pointing out, this is hardly a classic steakhouse.

In fact, with its 'California-inspired' menu debuting this month, the case could be made that APL isn't even a steakhouse at all. "We wanted to do something that was focused more on hyper-seasonal, produce-driven dishes as well as encourage shareable dishes to make it a more social dining experience than individual," the chef explains of his namesake restaurant, now entering its second year.

APL received plenty of buzz after its star-studded opening in May of 2018. It had everything going for it: a prime location at the historic intersection of Hollywood and Vine; a Mad Men-meets-Rat Pack sort of throwback vibe, a cellar filled with cuts aged upwards of a hundred days, frequent celebrity sightings. Even the bathrooms are Instagrammable, with some of the chef's oldest, hand-written recipes reworked into wallpaper.

But the dense Los Angeles dining scene is forever obsessed with what's new and next. A year in, APL was already running the risk of becoming old news. "LA is really hot right now with so many well-known restauranteurs coming in, or existing ones expanding and opening new restaurants," Lang observes. "I’m finding two things that have been challenging, in both LA and across the nation: there is a skilled labor shortage, and people are starting to bypass the restaurant experience and lean more and more to order based services like Postmates and UberEats."

To combat the trend, Lang has focused heavily on the indispensable elements of dining out—ones that you can't get delivered to your front door. This is largely a function of hospitality, of course. And APL's commitment to the cause is palpable. But it's also tasted in dishes which demonstrate equal parts inventiveness and immediacy. The Texas Short Rib Steak, for example, is wet aged over 68 days. But when it comes out of the kitchen—a marvelous mashup of burnt ends and yum neua yang—you wouldn't want to wait more than 68 seconds before crushing it.

Then there's cocktails; fun-yet-elevated arrangements worth dining at the bar for. The Manhattan here combines Woodford Reserve with 100-Day House Barrel-Aged Vermouth. The Jimlet is a gimlet variation, named after Lang's longtime friend, late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel. "I’m not a cocktail person," he admits. "But I do enjoy a great single barrel whiskey to pair with a great steak." Which is why he's sure to stock dozens of them behind the back bar on any given evening.

Lang can't claim credit for all of it. Continued success in a restaurant is invariably a team effort. To wit, some of the new menu staples are the direct result of challenging his chefs to participate and engage in dish creation. And having a dependable crew has freed the restaurateur up with enough time to explore an additional venture. In October he opens Perry Lang's, an approachable steakhouse set within the heart of California's Michelin-starred wine country.

"I got lucky; the opportunity presented itself," he says humbly of his imminent Yountville address. "The new restaurant will provide the Napa area with an exciting value-driven menu with crave-able composed dishes and elements of wood-fire cooking. It will [also] house guests and tourists, alike, who want to celebrate and go big and get the best dry aged beef this country has to offer to go with amazing local wines and old world favorites."

As he expands his influence up the California coast, Lang will continue to incorporate the state's ingredient-minded inventiveness into his fare. "It's exciting because of our access to the local farmers' market and year-round fresh produce," he says of APL. But when a 360-day-old dry aged Porterhouse arrives at your table, you're quickly reminded that this chef wants to be regarded, first and foremost, as a master of meat. Sourcing quality protein is the easy part. It's his approach that promises to keep him a cut above the rest.

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It's a typically lively dinner service at APL in the heart of Hollywood, California. Chef, owner—and legendary pitmaster—Adam Perry Lang, steps out from behind a large kitchen. He peers over the tables, curious to see how his new dishes are being received. Alongside outsized plates of his signature dry-aged beef are unexpected accompaniments; scallop crudo, slow-roasted heirloom tomatoes, Katsu-style fried chicken cutlets. Not exactly steakhouse fare. But as Lang is fond of pointing out, this is hardly a classic steakhouse.

In fact, with its 'California-inspired' menu debuting this month, the case could be made that APL isn't even a steakhouse at all. "We wanted to do something that was focused more on hyper-seasonal, produce-driven dishes as well as encourage shareable dishes to make it a more social dining experience than individual," the chef explains of his namesake restaurant, now entering its second year.

APL received plenty of buzz after its star-studded opening in May of 2018. It had everything going for it: a prime location at the historic intersection of Hollywood and Vine; a Mad Men-meets-Rat Pack sort of throwback vibe, a cellar filled with cuts aged upwards of a hundred days, frequent celebrity sightings. Even the bathrooms are Instagrammable, with some of the chef's oldest, hand-written recipes reworked into wallpaper.

But the dense Los Angeles dining scene is forever obsessed with what's new and next. A year in, APL was already running the risk of becoming old news. "LA is really hot right now with so many well-known restauranteurs coming in, or existing ones expanding and opening new restaurants," Lang observes. "I’m finding two things that have been challenging, in both LA and across the nation: there is a skilled labor shortage, and people are starting to bypass the restaurant experience and lean more and more to order based services like Postmates and UberEats."

To combat the trend, Lang has focused heavily on the indispensable elements of dining out—ones that you can't get delivered to your front door. This is largely a function of hospitality, of course. And APL's commitment to the cause is palpable. But it's also tasted in dishes which demonstrate equal parts inventiveness and immediacy. The Texas Short Rib Steak, for example, is wet aged over 68 days. But when it comes out of the kitchen—a marvelous mashup of burnt ends and yum neua yang—you wouldn't want to wait more than 68 seconds before crushing it.

Then there's cocktails; fun-yet-elevated arrangements worth dining at the bar for. The Manhattan here combines Woodford Reserve with 100-Day House Barrel-Aged Vermouth. The Jimlet is a gimlet variation, named after Lang's longtime friend, late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel. "I’m not a cocktail person," he admits. "But I do enjoy a great single barrel whiskey to pair with a great steak." Which is why he's sure to stock dozens of them behind the back bar on any given evening.

Lang can't claim credit for all of it. Continued success in a restaurant is invariably a team effort. To wit, some of the new menu staples are the direct result of challenging his chefs to participate and engage in dish creation. And having a dependable crew has freed the restaurateur up with enough time to explore an additional venture. In October he opens Perry Lang's, an approachable steakhouse set within the heart of California's Michelin-starred wine country.

"I got lucky; the opportunity presented itself," he says humbly of his imminent Yountville address. "The new restaurant will provide the Napa area with an exciting value-driven menu with crave-able composed dishes and elements of wood-fire cooking. It will [also] house guests and tourists, alike, who want to celebrate and go big and get the best dry aged beef this country has to offer to go with amazing local wines and old world favorites."

As he expands his influence up the California coast, Lang will continue to incorporate the state's ingredient-minded inventiveness into his fare. "It's exciting because of our access to the local farmers' market and year-round fresh produce," he says of APL. But when a 360-day-old dry aged Porterhouse arrives at your table, you're quickly reminded that this chef wants to be regarded, first and foremost, as a master of meat. Sourcing quality protein is the easy part. It's his approach that promises to keep him a cut above the rest.

Brad Japhe is a freelance journalist specializing in food, beverage, and travel. He moonlights as a beer and spirits consultant, hosting monthly craft pairings/education...