Gallery: Los Angeles Chefs Bring Their Top Game to The Taste's 'Flavors of LA'

Grilled Shrimp with Creamy Habanero Sauce from Chichen Itza
Grilled Shrimp with Creamy Habanero Sauce from Chichen Itza

LA's flagship Yucatán restaurant, Chichen Itza, served up a plump barbecued shrimp covered in a "medium" habanero cream salsa.

Crème Caramel's Anti-Cupcake Trend Declaration
Crème Caramel's Anti-Cupcake Trend Declaration

Crème Caramel's booth was serving up bite-sized portions of their decadent Filipino desserts: Buko (Coconut) Pandan Crème Caramel and Calamansi Crème Fraiche Pie.

 Street-Style 'Elote Loco' from Mohawk Bend
Street-Style 'Elote Loco' from Mohawk Bend

Echo Park/Silver Lake's all-California beer bar was serving up barbecue ribs and these bad boys. Grilled corn quarters were dressed with a spicy vegan "Fiesta Aioli," a flavorful ode to the street-roaming Eloteros who were once abundant in the quickly changing neighborhood.

Kale Caesar Salad and Branzino Fillet from Estérel Restaurant At Sofitel Hotel
Kale Caesar Salad and Branzino Fillet from Estérel Restaurant At Sofitel Hotel

The luxurious Estérel restaurant served up a duo of totally California coastal Mediterranean style dishes: Seared Branzino, served with a savory fennel-tomato sauce, and a sampler of their zesty Kale Caesar Salad.

Doma's Thai-style Tuna Ceviche and California Lamb Belly Atop Grandpa's White Bean Soup.
Doma's Thai-style Tuna Ceviche and California Lamb Belly Atop Grandpa's White Bean Soup.

A fermented lime vinaigrette and coconut cream gave Doma's tuna ceviche sliver a kick. To the right, melt-in-your-mouth braised lamb belly paired perfectly with a creamy bean soup.

Lamb Belly Croquette with Peas and Mint from Waterloo and City
Lamb Belly Croquette with Peas and Mint from Waterloo and City

Tender and deliciously fatty lamb belly was breaded and fried crisp, served with a cooling mint sauce. This thoughtful bite courtesy of Chef Brendan Collins was a favorite of the night.

Fluff Ice's Lamill Cold-Brewed Coffee Flavored Taiwanese Shaved Ice 'Snow'
Fluff Ice's Lamill Cold-Brewed Coffee Flavored Taiwanese Shaved Ice 'Snow'

The San Gabriel Valley frozen dessert hotspot specializing in flavored, light Taiwanese-style shaved ice was a welcome refreshment on an exceedingly muggy evening. A drizzle of sweetened condensed milk elevated the coffee ice.

Lukshon's Kurobuta Pork Dandan Noodles by Sang Yoon
Lukshon's Kurobuta Pork Dandan Noodles by Sang Yoon

The current Top Chef contestant whipped up a comforting mouthful of the trendy Chinese-Sichuan dish. A bundle of al dente noodles were swimming in a delightfully peppery black bean chili sauce, with some nice crunch from diced peanuts.

Wagyu Beef Okonomiyaki by Gottsui
Wagyu Beef Okonomiyaki by Gottsui

The cabbage-based okonomiyaki served up by the Japanese savory pancake house on Sawtelle were remarkably light and delicate. Smoky bonito shreds and grilled full-flavored wagyu beef strips made the dish.

Luna Oyster and 18-Year-Old Single Malt Bowmore Whiskey Shooter
Luna Oyster and 18-Year-Old Single Malt Bowmore Whiskey Shooter

The Bowmore whiskey booth was offering guided oyster-and-whiskey shooters. You were instructed to take a sip of the oyster liquor followed by a sip of the whiskey, and then finish off the two together by refilling the oyster shell with the remaining whiskey.

Pad Thai Sliders from Ayara Thai Cuisine
Pad Thai Sliders from Ayara Thai Cuisine

The South Los Angeles newcomers to the Thai restaurant scene served up a fun Pad Thai slider with a chicken and shrimp mash-up patty. They get extra points for a particularly soft and pillowy grilled bun.

Jonathan Gold and LA's pop-up restaurant stars in
Jonathan Gold and LA's pop-up restaurant stars in "The Power of Pop-ups" panel

Gary Menes of Le Comptoir, Craig Thornton of the hugely popular Wolvesmouth and the always zany Nguyen Tran of Starry Kitchen had a few interesting things to say about their pop-up origins. Jonathan Gold moderated.

Pork Broth Ramen from Ramen Jinya
Pork Broth Ramen from Ramen Jinya

Despite the muggy heat, Ramen Jinya's tiny single-slurp serving of their old school ramen was amazing, milky and rib-stickingly rich from the pork bones.

Loteria Grill's Baja Style Battered Red Snapper Tacos
Loteria Grill's Baja Style Battered Red Snapper Tacos

Loteria Grill offered a progressive hour-by-hour menu, with a rotation of options throughout the night. This battered fish taco dressed with a spicy chipotle aioli was light and airy.

Sang Yoon's Dandan Noodles cooking demonstration
Sang Yoon's Dandan Noodles cooking demonstration

Sang Yoon conducted a cooking demonstration showing the technique behind his crowd favorite. A couple of crowdsourced sous chefs withstood his jokingly blunt personality and requests, complete with lots cursing and food scrap projectiles.

Gilbert Marquez Jr.'s Santa Ana Fruit Cart Don Julio Tequila Cocktail
Gilbert Marquez Jr.'s Santa Ana Fruit Cart Don Julio Tequila Cocktail

Bartender duo Gilbert Marquez Jr. and Marco Ramos were shaking up some margaritas alongside this tequila cocktail, made with pineapple syrup and Tajin chile fruit seasoning, and garnished with a chile de arbol.

Le Comptoir's Cherry Wood Smoked Potted Shrimp
Le Comptoir's Cherry Wood Smoked Potted Shrimp

Chef Gary Mene's popular pop-up produced an assembly line of subtly smoked potted shrimp topped with minced pickles, generating one of the biggest lines of the night.

Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle's Staff In Full Flow
Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle's Staff In Full Flow

Tsujita responded to the hot weather with a highly refreshing bowl of chilled ramen with a dried sardine dashi broth. Their generous portion of al dente noodles had event-goers contentedly munching away.

Inn at the Seventh Ray's Uni and Corn Chawanmushi with Bonito Popcorn, Truffle Salt and Yuzo Tamari
Inn at the Seventh Ray's Uni and Corn Chawanmushi with Bonito Popcorn, Truffle Salt and Yuzo Tamari

Definitely one of the best dishes of the night. The custard's umami-rich flavor really went well with the buttery seafood and toasty, smoky bonito popcorn.