Sunday, 29 May 2011

US Season 2 - Santé La Brea - CLOSED

Open or closed? CLOSED 
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Episode Summary: Healthy Vegan restaurant run by owner Dean Hamoui and his sons Arthur and Sammy. They opened 10 years ago along popular La Brea Avene un LA. They have a prime location but business is almost at nothing with $200,000 of debt. Dean cooks and cleans where as new manager Mark does the interior decorating. As Gordon is about to arrive they discover that their Chef Aurelio has not arrived and is not answering his phone. Gordon arrives at the restaurant and meets Dean, Dean shows him the grass that is growing on top of the counter and shows Gordon that it is edible. Gordon discovers that it isn't just vegan food that they serve and that they also serve chicken and fish. Dean reveals to Gordont that he believes the main problem with the restaurant is lack of money and that he had to borrow $10,000 from Mark. Gordon sits down on the patio to sample the food, he orders the Turkey Patty Melt, Mogadoofu (sp?) and Blackened Salmon. He finds the patty melt dry and disgusting and feeds it to the dog Tubs also sat on the patio. He brands the mogadoofu a joke, meaning s@*t in chinese with rice cooking to hell and overall shocking. Finally, the salmon is dry and tastes way too fishy. Gordon asks to inspect the fridge and discovers frozen salmon and turkey defrosting together and rotten vegetables. Dean says the responsibility is the Chefs and not his. Chef Aurelio arrives late with some lame excuse and Sammy and Arthur are angry at both him and Dean but Dean goes easy on him.

Gordon returns to witness a dinner service. Aurelio says he is just a Chef and that he does what he wants. Dean enters the kitchen and cleans up after the Chefs putting the food away. As food makes it out to the tables the customers aren't happy with what they have been served. Gordon discovers that they serve Unduck and Unfish, imitation duck and fish products. After the dinner service Gordon sits the staff down and talks about how no one is responsible for what they are doing and Dean says that no one listens to him. Gordon says the main problem is the food and the gimmick imitation food is not working. He also says the place is filthy and that they need to clean it, he covers their A Rating health inspection with an F rating poster. Overnight, they deep clean the restaurant. Gordon takes Dean out to help him release the pressure from the restaurant, he hets him to shout out his frustrations at his staff. As soon as he gets back he shouts at Sammy when he does something he wasn't supposed to.

Gordon introduces two new specials for the evenings service, a halibut dish and a Shrimp salad. A policeman arrives and handcuffs Dean so he can't do everyones jobs for them. Mark once again tries to take orders when he isn't meant to. Mark puts menus under his sweaty armpit and is sent home to change, Gordon pops out and buys him some deodorant. As the customers are lining up, Aurelio dismisses Dean in the kitchen and at one point ignores him. The customers once again aren't happy. Gordon calls a meeting and tells them it is the most bizarre restaurant and that the food is bland.The next day, they arrive to the restaurant after it has had an overnight makeover. They have a new sign and the entrance is decluttered. Gordon introduces the new menu featuring new items such as chilled tomato soup, new salads, egg white fritatta and Deans favorite Grilled Tofu.

On relaunch night, Mark once again did not listen to Dean and took orders for wine so Dean marches him out the back by his collar and shouts at him. Everyone is feeling the pressure, especially Dean and the Chefs. Aurelio threatens to leave mid service and Dean shouts at him and he leaves. He returns and says he will stay if he is paid the money he is owed, Gordon pays him the money out of his own pocket and Aurelio returns. The kitchen is backed up and the customers are waiting for food but they work together and successfully push all the food out and the customers are happy with the food and the relaunch is a success.

 What Happened Next: Gordon revists the restaurant to find that Dean has retired and gone overseas passing the restaurant to his sons. He also dicovers that Aurelio and Mark are gone too. He inspects the fridge and they discuss the restaurant saying takings are up 10% and that Sammys girlfriend Dawn is the new manager. Gordon tries the food and says it is delicious and then discovers that it is the Unchicken. After going back to the restaurant he meets with Mark who tells him that they had lost respect for him and he is now working in raw food. He asks Gordon for a job. After Gordon had been to the restaurant they returned some customer favorites to the menu and the reviews were mostly positive however they closed in June 2011 posting this on their Facebook page,

In Santes place now is a german restaurant called Wirsthaus. Reviews are good.

Extra Reading


  1. this is the new restaurant!

  2. Uhh, thats a german restaurant... With beer and meat... Definitely not the same owners or restaurant. But maybe same location?

  3. It's closed and it's now Wirsthaus. German brats, beer, schnitzel and such...went once and it was damn tasty.

  4. If you look at the comments on their FB page, they indicate that they were selling during booming business but just wanted out. I think the business was less of a failure than the owners were just tired

  5. It's good to know that the two sons took Gordon's advice and changes to heart and ran with it. From what I understand, Sante did quite well until they decided to sell the place. Well, my question is about that yellow awning they had out front until Gordon put up the new sign: what is "Tastlthy" even supposed to mean anyway? Something that former manager Mark came up with, perhaps?

  6. MisterAl, I believe that word is a mash up of Tasty + Healthy = Tastlthy

  7. They should have got Mark to replace the departing Dean instead of his two sons. No wonder they had to close.


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