If you live in Los Angeles you’ve probably tried very hard to get a reservation at Nightshade. The incredible runaway hit of a restaurant has already been named one of Eater’s Best Restaurants of 2019, Food & Wine’s Best Restaurants 2019 and Robb Report’s Best Debut! Talking to Chef Mei Lin it is not hard to see why.
Born in China, Mei Lin and her family immigrated to the U.S. when she was only three months old. Her family planted roots in Dearborn, Michigan, where Lin grew up working alongside her father at their family-owned and -operated restaurant, learning the fundamentals of being a well-rounded cook and how to run a restaurant. Lin credits most of her formal training and refinement of skills to her time at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago Vegas and Michael Voltaggio’s ink. in Los Angeles. Part of the opening team at ink., she spent the first three years moving up the ranks, eventually earning the position of sous chef. Lin also spent time with Bryan Voltaggio as a sous chef at VOLT in Frederick, MD.
Chef Lin is widely known as Bravo TV’s Top Chef Season 12 winner. Previously, Lin won Esquire TV’s Knife Fight against Brian Huskey and was selected as one of Eater’s Young Guns in 2014 as well as Zagat’s 30 Under 30 in 2015. Since then she has dedicated her time to travel and the opening of Nightshade, her debut restaurant.
Nightshade is a flagship concept for chef Mei Lin, along with partners Francis Miranda and Cyrus Batchan of No.8, a global hospitality group. Taking up residence in the burgeoning Arts District in downtown Los Angeles, Nightshade fits well into the fabric of the neighborhood’s eclectic, artistic ethos. The restaurant is as beautiful as the food is delicious and has already garnered
Congratulations on all the amazing press! How does it feel to be such a hotspot right now?
MEI LIN: Thank you. It feels great: our main goal is to put out the best food and experience for our guests.
What inspires your cooking?
ML: Most of the food at nightshade is inspired by my childhood and travels.
What's the ethos behind the food?
ML: Our restaurant ethos is to cook delicious food with purpose and to incite memories.
What's your favorite thing on the menu?
ML: My favorite thing on the menu is the scallops.
Any pinch-me moments since opening?
ML: When Gwyneth Paltrow came in when I wasn't at the restaurant!