What do you think food from the future looks like? Freeze dried and inedible like that packet of “ice cream” your mom put in your Christmas stocking around 1995? Violet Beauregarde’s full meal in a stick of gum? Stored in the cloud and directly downloadable to your stomach? Soylent?
No need to imagine - food from the future is actually here, in the form of Destroyer, a daytime spot in the Hayden Tract, that part of Culver City that’s suddenly the new Silver Lake.
For a place with a name that sounds like it came straight out of a young adult dystopian novel, Destroyer actually feels kind of zen. Which is much appreciated after you’ve spent ten minutes circling the block for a parking spot, and then discover the meters around here only take coins. The space is all-white, and the chefs in the open kitchen move around in silence and possibly communicate telepathically. Looking for the menu? It’s projected on the wall. And we’re pretty sure the coffee machine built into the counter doubles as controls for a spaceship.
The setup is misleadingly normal. You place your order with the captain (sorry, server) at the counter, grab a number, and hover a bit until a table is free. We’d definitely bring a friend and order a couple of dishes to share - nothing here is small, but you’re going to want to try a few things.
It’s when your food starts arriving that you realize you might actually be in that coffee machine-controlled spaceship. The dishes themselves are unlike anything else you can get in Los Angeles, both in flavor combinations (a bowl of baby potatoes in brown butter with a poached egg comes with little smoked-date jellies) and fairly bonkers presentation. The beef tartare looks like a bowl of thinly sliced radishes, but hidden underneath is a lot of chopped-up meat and one of our favorite dishes of the year. The food feels like it belongs on a $200-per-person tasting menu in a hidden restaurant that requires a password, but for some reason you’re eating it for breakfast or a casual lunch.
If all of this sounds overly precious or strange, know that it’s not - it’s actually really approachable and fun and delicious, and the kind of food almost anyone would want to eat. If this is the food of the future, then we have a lot to look forward to.
We’ll admit raw oatmeal sounds like something your kind of questionable friend who brews their own kombucha gives as a terrible Secret Santa gift. But this is far from that. And also not cold like we’d assumed. The warm oatmeal is creamy and delicious, and there’s a disk of crispy vanilla on top you tap to get through to the main event. We feel healthier just looking at this.
When this hit the table we wondered if they’d forgotten the actual egg, but we should have learned our lesson: it was hiding. Under a mix of mushrooms, crispy potato chips, and many, many herbs is a perfect poached egg.
There are a lot of beef tartares in this town, but this is the best one we’ve eaten all year. The tartare itself is hidden under all those radishes, along with pickled mushrooms and something called smoked egg cream. This is a must-order at lunch.
This might look like a plate of carefully arranged lettuce leaves, but underneath are cold roasted carrots with avocado, yoghurt, and cheese. Certainly interesting and good if you feel like a salad, but less impressive than other things we’ve had here.
If you’re having a solo lunch and just want something hearty, this is the move. The chicken falls apart as soon as you touch it with your fork and the creamy, yogurty sauce is amazing. And the cheesy thing underneath that we thought was polenta? Turns out that’s the fanciest cream of wheat you’ll ever eat.