The Commissary is a relative conservatory, with upwards-branching aloes, evergreen cropped tight, and palm fronds feathering against the aluminum pipes along the glass ceiling. A commissary is, as per its name, a store that sells food supplies, and with this restaurant’s focus on flora, fruits, and vegetables, you certainly enjoy a taste of SoCal’s fertile farmland.
It might be no surprise that the restaurant was developed as “an homage to all the people and families here in SoCal that work on farmers to bring food to our tables.” The focus is raw, earthy, thick with the scent of greenery and the rich meals being served. Here, you might find yourself at a long wooden slab, sitting on worn and chipped bar stools painted dark as if dipped in tar. You might find a drink before you, rich like Sangria but a deeper blood hue, eating food from metal crocks like Steinbeck’s migrant workers digging into their own steel lunch pails. Above, smoothed tree limbs are suspended like Tillandsia, plants needing no soil, with tungsten bulbs stuck out at random angles like fireflies come to roost.
The space is the newest addition to The Line Hotel, a Koreatown collaboration of art, design, and nightlife innovators. Beside the hotel’s glimmering pool is the Commissary, both restaurant and greenhouse. It is a glassed-in structure allowing sunlight to pervade all, to touch and warm the space. But have no fear - the sloped ceiling has custom built-in blinds to prevent a blinding luncheon. The food comes at the hand of food truck pioneer Roy Choi who deliberately avoids any connotation of “fancy food.” The menu at Commissary follows Choi’s own revelation, having stripped away his experience working in four and five star restaurants for wealthy patrons, to focus on minimal, vegetable-based dishes.
It’s a principle that guides the experience at Commissary: a return to our natural roots, engaging the raw aesthetic, the greenery, and the sun. Then, when night comes, the little glass bulbs flicker on, glowing amidst the lush decor. Dark stained-wood boxes house the bottled fare alongside ferns and viny tendrils. Here too are all the amenities of a club - of which the area has many - though none so like an oasis as this.