With hip specialized restaurants popping up across Los Angeles, franchises like California Pizza Kitchen have to evolve and adapt.
CPK is trying to do just that with its “Next Chapter” program, and the Downtown location at the FIGat7th mall is one of the first of 80 locations nationwide to receive the upgrade.
The program brings some aesthetic changes, namely the use of rustic reclaimed wood for tables and chairs and the renovation of an open kitchen. The biggest shift is in the menu, which has seen some upscale tweaks.
One main entree addition is a cedar plank-roasted halibut, which arrives with a touch of smoky flavor, sitting on top of rich butternut squash farro and some light charred asparagus spears. A second is the grilled ribeye steak, which gets a haute accent from Pinot Noir-flavored sea salt and a mildly funky bleu cheese butter. Some plush roasted fingerling potatoes and a jumble of sharp watercress round out the dish.
You'll also spot new seasonal specials, including a parmesan flatbread loaded with sweet Maine lobster that's been tossed in a lemon-laced sauce with just enough creaminess to bring everything together.
On the lunch menu is a new option that allows diners to pair a personal pizza or half sandwich with soup or salad, and the dessert menu gets a pair of sweet puddings (salted caramel and S'mores, to be exact).
At 735 S. Figueroa St., (213) 228-8500 or cpk.com.