For the Ans, restaurants run in the family. From Thanh Long to Crustacean, Tiato to AnQi, their empire has taken the West Coast by storm, serving up modern Vietnamese from San Francisco to Costa Mesa for the better part of the last half-century. Eldest daughter Hannah at first chose to go her own way, studying to be an engineer, but her love of good food led her back to the kitchen—and the family business. The District is her first solo effort, and its distinctive dishes and cooking methods bring her take on the flavors of her childhood to a gorgeous modern colonial space in West Hollywood.
Hannah believes in balance—both in cooking and in life—and you’ll find sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami tastes, with complementing textures, in every dish. Showcasing the family skill with crustaceans, her wok-fried lobster is succulent and springy with bold yet nuanced seasoning, an unusual touch for this stretch of Third Street. Translation: You’ll never want plain old steamed lobster again.
Her signature handmade noodles come perfectly al dente in a garlic-lime beurre blanc with house-made panko, a touch of frisée salad, and grilled colossal tiger prawns. We challenge you not to lick your utensils. Passionate about cooking fresh and healthy, Hannah sweetens her food with a bone broth that incorporates cooked down daikon instead of sugar, resulting is a more complex flavor that’s used to great effect in her soul-soothing pho.
For Hannah, welcoming guests like family is a natural part of any occasion, but for New Year’s Eve, The District is doubling down with two special ways to celebrate: Chef Hannah An’s 2017 Foodie Dinner and the Red Light District Perrier-Jouet Champagne Party. This is no ordinary toast to auld lang syne; from 5 to 11 p.m., a special a la carte menu looks to the future with a sneak peak at some of 2017’s offerings, starting with the decadent oysters and caviar and moving on to plates like truffle uni noodles with king crab, whole grilled lobster, and bone-in rib-eye steak. (A prix fix option runs $85 per person.)
And if you’re planning on staying late, get your tickets early for the Red Light District Perrier-Jouet Champagne Party, which promises to ring in the New Year with gusto, featuring a DJ, live music and entertainment, passed hors d’oeuvres, and plenty of Champagne, from 9 p.m. into 2017.