Wolfgang Puck's First Restaurant Is Still A Los Angeles Institution

wolfgang puck
wolfgang puck - Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

Happening restaurants tend to have a short shelf life. They seem to burst on the scene -- though that belies the tremendous work it takes to get one off the ground -- and shine for a few golden years before fading away as the public moves on to a new fancy. But some defy the odds and continue to draw crowds for many years if not decades. Possibly the most famous example of this sort of outlier -- and one of the vanguard of the celebrity chef trend -- is Wolfgang Puck's flagship Spago.

Opened originally on Los Angeles' Sunset Strip in 1982, Spago is still serving up Puck's signature brand of fresh, ingredient-focused California cuisine. Here, the celebrity chef introduced the world to dishes that defied the norm, such as his famous pizza topped with smoked salmon, caviar, and crème fraîche. This risk-taking food, coupled with L.A.'s desire for food that was both whimsical and health-conscious, led to Spago -- which has since moved to Beverly Hills -- becoming the place to see and be seen among celebrities and other functionaries of Hollywood's media industry. But that doesn't mean Spago has rested on its laurels all these years.

Today, diners are treated to dishes that evidence Puck's dedication to his craft and ingredients. From crispy scale black bass with huitlacoche puree, morcilla, sunchoke confit, and jalapeño lime coulis to kohlrabi and stinging nettle soup, Spago's menu is rife with culinary creativity.

Read more: Restaurant Foods That Always Taste Better Than What You Make At Home

Wolfgang Puck Is Always Ahead Of The Curve

spago sign
spago sign - Fg/bauer-griffin/Getty Images

Spago was the springboard from which Puck became one of the most celebrated chefs. From humble Austrian origins, he worked in some of Europe's most vaunted kitchens before coming to the U.S. Though he first served as chef at French eatery Ma Maison, Spago was where Puck developed the style that became known as California nouvelle. He was insistent that his produce was the best to be had, even if that meant working directly with farmers to truck in the vegetables he served. And he didn't stand in their way, instead letting the produce, meat, and other ingredients he used shine through. It was a quick hit with celebrities and other well-heeled Angelenos who didn't balk at paying for the quality Puck offered. Soon, Spago was the place to dine.

Spago's resilience through years of changing tastes and rotating Hollywood power players is a testament to both the food and Puck's affable media presence. One of the first celebrity chefs in the modern sense, he has never been one to shy away from the camera. Puck's playful, lilting Austrian accent first hit American ears on "Good Morning, America" back in 1986 and since then, he has charmed audiences with approachable, yet sophisticated recipes. What's more, his catering company has helmed the Oscars' Governors Ball for numerous years, ensuring that of-the-moment celebrities are ever-aware of the quality of cooking to expect at Puck's L.A. institution.

Read the original article on Tasting Table