REVIEW: Eco-chic eatery P.Y.T. Restaurant delights with innovative veggie dishes

There is a saying that today’s generation eats with their cameras first and stomachs second. For a place that leaves both beyond satisfied, one would have to look no further than the recently opened P.Y.T. Restaurant, which is No. 3 on Eater L.A.’s list of The 22 Hottest Restaurants in Los Angeles this month.

Upon walking in the doors to this eco-chic eatery located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, diners are greeted by beaming , friendly faces eager to swiftly seat them. Despite this, it’s tough to ignore that the size of the room itself is on the smaller side and can get noisy fairly rapidly. Though  a tad stuffy, the atmosphere is still made charming by the fairy lights that drape from the ceiling, hanging above the mosaic-tiled floor, wooden tables, chairs and the plethora of plants and succulents that line the walls.

Adhering to its botanical theme, the restaurant’s menu is mostly vegetarian, inspired by locally grown produce. While this lack of meat may throw many off at first, one glance at the menu would be more than enough to see that there is no shortage of delicious dishes to choose from. Though the foundation of the menu is similar  to almost every other vegetarian restaurant out there, there is not a single conventional item on it.

Chef Josef Centeno creates intricate blends of flavorful ingredients to turn the most basic dishes — like salads, soups and pastas — into edible masterpieces. With a swift glance over the menu, certain item names would immediately pique a guest’s attention: romanesco and watermelon salad with blood orange, habanero and crème fraiche, salt-baked turnip in hoja santa with French feta, walnut and pea pesto, ricotta cavatelli with yogurt, nori, pecorino, mushroom dashi and sesame and much more.

The dinner menu prices vary from $12 to $18 for appetizers and main courses — excluding the two meat dishes, which are $21 and $39 — but are undoubtedly worth the cost.

P.Y.T.’s classic starter is the potato chapati bread with a choice of roasted garlic and eggplant dip, coconut butter or heirloom bean hummus with sunflower seed tahini. However, if one is feeling adventurous, there is the option to select all three.

The warm and soft bread is filled with vibrant flavors that puts homemade Indian chapatis (a flat pancake-like tortilla) to shame. Each of these unique dips creates distinct and equally unbelievable sensations of taste: One’s taste buds are sure to fall in love with every single bite.

For the main courses, P.Y.T.’s waiters highly recommended some of their most popular dishes: roasted Japanese sweet potato with Fuji apples and nori butter, a delectable sweet and savory combination that fuses into explosive flavors, and the hand-torn pasta with shishito cream, yuzu, brown butter cilantro and mint. While still excellent, this pasta doesn’t quite meet the extraordinary standard all the other dishes provide.

Last, but not certainly not least, in the meal come the desserts. P.Y.T. offers a small dessert menu of five dishes. The “must-tries” on the menu are the apple croiss’innamon and the coconut tapioca pudding — two of their most delicious and aesthetically pleasing items.

The friendliness of the staff enhances the dining experience in addition to the exceptional food. The staff circles the restaurant with smiles, attempting to make genuine conversation with every customer. The bartender can be seen chatting and laughing with the diners on the bar stools, while making drinks and grooving along to old-school classics and the pop hits that play softly from the speakers.

As a place where guests can treat themselves and their Instagram feed, P.Y.T. is nothing but a win. It is located on 400 S. Main St. and is open every day, except Mondays.