The anti-fusion chef’s reimagined Southeast Asian restaurant brings Hong Kong style café cuisine and Chinese charcuterie to DTLA

(LOS ANGELES, CA) — Chef/Partner Tin Vuong and Partner Jed Sanford of L.A.’s formidable Blackhouse Hospitality debut their sixth restaurant, Little Sister Downtown, a French colonial jewel box, housed near the corner of 7th Street and Grand Avenue in the heart of downtown Los Angeles’ Historic Core. A reimagined interpretation of its Manhattan Beach counterpart with a lighter aesthetic and expanded menu options to reflect new breakfast, midday, and late night offerings, Little Sister Downtown will introduce Angelenos to the cultural and culinary influences of imperialist rule in Vietnam during the 19th century.

“Little Sister Downtown is the restaurant I’ve always dreamt of opening,” says Vuong. “In many ways, it embodies my journey as a chef. My grandparents fled Vietnam during the fall of Saigon and passed along a wealth of knowledge about Southeast Asian cuisine. Additionally, growing up in the San Gabriel Valley, I’m fortunate to enjoy some of the best Asian cuisine on the continent, which has unequivocally inspired my approach to cooking.“

With four of the group’s six restaurants located in the South Bay’s beach cities, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach, Little Sister Downtown presents a unique opportunity for the team, having long envisioned opening a concept in Los Angeles’ urban core. “This passion project has been in the works for quite some time; we were just searching for the right space,” says Sanford.

Rich in spice, color, and steeped in history, Little Sister Downtown’s Southeast Asian inspired cuisine builds on classic French technique fused with a sense of Vuong’s je ne sais quoi culinary finesse. Highlights of the 50-seat restaurant include Vietnamese-style breakfast with housemade breads and porridge (congee); banh mi and various lunch offerings; and diverse dinner and late night menus featuring favorites from Manhattan Beach in addition to a number of new dishes.

Chefs & Cuisine
The culinary visionaries behind Little Sister Downtown, Chef/Partner Tin Vuong and Executive Chef Mikey Segerstrom (formerly at Little Sister Manhattan Beach) debut new menu items ($2-38) unique to the Downtown outpost, which explore the melting pot and foodways of Southeast Asia. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night dishes range from Hong Kong style café food to Chinese charcuterie, including:

 Morning Pastries, such as Portuguese Egg Custard Tart
 Sunny Side Eggs with spiced pork sausage, tomato, onions, Maggie, pate, butter, and baguette
 Congee (confit duck or pork, poached chicken, or fish) served with cilantro, scallions, fried shallots, and Chinese savory crullers

 Autumn Roll with sweet potato, jicama, egg, Viet herbs, Chinese sausage, and coconut peanut sauce
 Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) served with a baguette and French butter with marrow, tendons, oxtail, and rib meat
 Pan Fried E-Fu Noodle with twice cooked pork belly, long beans, and tea egg

 Crispy Chao Tom with black tea salt and spicy curried crab dipping sauce
 Roasted Monkfish with hot curry and dill, scallop dumpling, nuts & seeds
 Crispy Sweetbreads with alkaline noodle, chili oil, mushroom froth, and shaved tendon

Guests can also indulge in signature dishes from the beachside Manhattan Beach counterpart such as Beef Tartare in the style of Korean yuk hwe and not-to-miss menu item, Salt & Pepper Lobster, which combines two dishes in one—if diners have leftover lobster at the end of a meal, the kitchen adopts a head-to-tail approach, reviving the remnants to make Lobster Fried Rice.

“With Little Sister Downtown, we are digging a little deeper into regional Asian cuisine—Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Bali—to introduce a melting pot of techniques and flavor profiles,” says Segerstrom. “From robata-style proteins to lesser known cured meats, we’re playing with fermentation, bolder spice blends, and umami to give diners a taste of something they’ve not yet experienced before.”

Housemade desserts draw on classic technique and reflect Europe’s culinary influence in Southeast Asia with dishes such as Orange Blossom Crémeaux with ginger, peach, basil, and habanero; Chuio Chien Fried Bananas with salted coconut and sesame; and Vietnamese Coffee Tart with black sesame ice cream, smoked cinnamon, salt, and brown butter.

Bar Program
The intimate 50-seat restaurant offers a selection of eclectic international wines, craft beers, and premium sake collectively curated by Blackhouse Hospitality’s Director of Operations Scott Young (a certified sommelier) and Beverage Director Dave Keenan. Diners can sample a range of esoteric by-the-glass options via the Coravin Wine Access System, which inserts a needle through a cork to draw out the wine without allowing air inside. A soju-based cocktail menu features cheeky combinations, such as the Charlize Theron (silky + tropical) with hibiscus infused wine, citrus, and orgeat and the Full Metal Jacket (bold + spicy) with serrano infused soju, mint, basil, cilantro, and kiwi.

Design & Décor
With a simple factory storefront, the only immediate indication of the restaurant’s Asian foundation is the intricate wood screen in the window transoms. At the front door, one walks over a minimalist mosaic with the words “Little Sister” emblazoned in metal. The bright and airy dining room is lined with light oak-trimmed walls, white-washed brick, and upper panels of woven wall coverings. Reflecting the artistry of Little Sister Manhattan Beach, the walls are adorned with hand-painted butterflies, helicopters, and street signs recalling the landscape of the city. In addition to two large communal tables, a series of black lacquer tables and distressed English game chairs in green leather provide seating. At the garde manger station—the area of a restaurant where cold dishes are prepared—guests are invited to sit at the counter and order drinks while they watch Vietnamese-inspired dishes being assembled from a sort of make-shift chef’s table. Parallel to the garde manger is a long banquette in a palm wood stain with wicker accents, mimicking the colonial influence found in the cuisine. The end of the dining room is anchored by a large black shelving unit, housing the restaurant’s extensive wine collection.

About Little Sister Downtown
Little Sister Downtown is located at 523 W. 7th Street in Downtown Los Angeles, CA 90014. The restaurant serves modern Southeast Asian inspired cuisine alongside premium sakes, California wines, and craft beers. Little Sister Downtown is open Mon.-Fri. 7am-10pm and Sat. & Sun. 8-11pm. For more information please call (213) 628-3146 or visit, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.