Staying Alive in LA's Restaurant Business, According to David Myers of Comme Ça

With his two Comme Ça restaurants, David Myers has planted himself in the hipster foodie territories of Los Angeles and Las Vegas. We Americans love our food programming - from Bravo's Top Chef to anything starring Guy Fieri - but what those shows don't tell you is how hard the food industry actually is. It wasn't entirely overnight success for Myers but rather hard work that brought him to this point, and a much more amazing task for his restaurants to remain strong in cities with taste so fickle, you might shut down upon P. Diddy's declaration, "This place is over."

"Inspired by the rustic neighborhood restaurants of Europe, Comme Ca recreates the mood of a bustling French eatery for various audiences: warm, welcoming, and casually glamorous. The menu is rooted in French tradition and can only be described as pure brasserie fare, from hearty Steak Frites to the rich flavors of Escargot Persillade. I'm really inspired by all my travels, whether it be toFrance, Singapore, Thailand or Tokyo. I love looking at French cuisine through an international lens. It makes it easy to take great ingredients and memorable travels and create marvelous dishes," Myers said via e-mail.

"Some of my signature dishes include the Comme Ca Burger, Bouillabaisse and Lobster Risotto. I'd say that my favorite ingredients are always the seasonal ingredients that are at their peak. I have favorites for every season but wouldn't necessarily say I have one favorite ingredient. For fall, I can't wait to work with chestnuts and game birds. In the summer, my favorite ingredients are summer fruits, sweet corn, etc. It really comes down to whatever is in season and is fabulous when I head to the market. That's what is really inspiring for me to cook with."

Myers may have achieved longevity, by West Coast standards, through pairing the proper wine with his meals, a task some restaurants often neglect. "At Comme Ca, we offer our own beverage program, titled 18A. the 18A program is served from a speakeasy-style bar that features handcrafted retro cocktails made with seasonal herbs, fruits and spices, with the added theatrics of bartenders chipping ice from large blocks. The cocktails pair perfectly with the food and allow guests to enjoy a number of expertly crafted, unique cocktails. In addition, we place an emphasis on our wine program. We enjoy working with small producers and boutique wineries, particularly those that have a passion for biodynamic wines. A good friend of mine once said, 'Without wine, why eat?' I think that says it all."

"From a creativity standpoint, I need to get out of the restaurant in order to be inspirited and create new dishes. I go to the market, dine at various restaurants and street vendors during my travels, and regularly expose myself to new ingredients that inspire me. I bring my ideas to the restaurant, gather all of the chefs, and we create the dishes together. We then go through test after test to decide on the direction we want to go in and finally, we either place the dish on the menu or offer it as an evening special. It's a great group process."

Previously, Myers launched two restaurants in Tokyo and soon, you might see the it girls visiting Pizzeria Ortica, his new Hollywood restaurant. All it took was a little college senioritis. "In college, I found myself experimenting in the kitchen more often than studying for my exams and quickly acknowledged that I was destined to be in the culinary world. Striking out on my own, I accepted a job at Charlie Trotter's in Chicago, where his culinary philosophy made a formative impression. From there, I studied in France and upon returning to the states, I worked at a number of restaurants, including Restaurant Daniel in New Yorkwith Chef Daniel Boulud, before opening my own restaurant, Sona, in 2002. I love to sneak away for dinner around the world and the most interesting item I've ever eaten has to be sperm sack of fugu (blowfish)."