ROOM PHOTO BY NATHAN RAWLINSON, INSET PHOTOS FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: FIRST THREE EVAN SUNG; FAR RIGHT NATHAN RAWLINSON leisure time allows: art and food.” On both coasts, Patina Restaurant Group dem-onstrates an unwavering commitment to cultural insti-tutions, including New York’s Lincoln Center, L.A.’s Walt Disney Concert Hall and the San Francisco Opera House. “Our guests want to have an experi-ence when they visit an arts venue, and we provide the best dining experience that completes the day,” reports Executive V.P. Scott Kleckner. “At Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) we created a casual, Hollywood-inspired atmosphere at Ray’s and Stark Bar, with art-inspired California Cuisine that speaks to the history of the museum,” he explains. The Broad, L.A.’s relatively new museum of modern art, features a stunning honeycomb design and a collection rich in modern masters like Warhol, Lichtenstein and Murakami. In a separate structure on the museum grounds — an entire façade is covered by a mural from artist Damien Hirst — is Otium, itself a piece of modern art. There, from a kitchen that spills out into the dining room, chef Timothy Hollingsworth deconstructs fine dining to make it more approachable, while experimenting with ingre-dients from a dozen diverse cultures. Minneapolis’ striking Walker Art Center is a Bar Room Ray’s and Stark Bar, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, www.patinagroup.com; www.lacma.org • Terzo Piano, Art Institute of Chicago, www.terzopianochicago.com; www.artic.edu • Untitled, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, www.untitledatthewhitney.com; www.whitney.org UNIQUE HOMES 27 THE MODERN shimmering landmark whose new restaurant Esker Grove is situated just inside a glass-ensconced museum entrance. Competing with a world-class col-lection of modern art is the cuisine of James Beard-nominated executive chef Doug Flicker, additional evidence that the Twin Cities possess an exciting, often underestimated food scene. At Esker Grove din-ers might begin with charred sea scallop crudo with pomegranate and black garlic, move on to spit-roasted sturgeon with harissa and ash or a steak with black truffles, then finish with butterscotch budino with malted ice cream. Flicker, who was chef/owner of a prominent freestanding restaurant in Minneapolis before being lured to Walker Art Center, acknowledges that dining at a cultural institution is part of a larger adventure. “We’re there to mirror the art but at the same time create a unique experience,” explains Flicker, who insists the setting motivates him as a chef. “It’s hard not to be inspired by your surroundings,” he states, and observes patrons of contemporary art tend to be adventurous diners. About a dozen museums and botanical gar-dens around the nation contract with Bon Appétit Management Company for food services, from edgy cafeterias to fine dining venues. “Art museums are aiming to match the dining experience with the overall museum experience,” says Fedele Bauccio, the firm’s co-founder and CEO, who adds, “Visitors should get the same sense of place and sense of purpose in the restaurant as they get in the museum itself.” At world-class museums, Bon Appétit recruits renowned chefs, such as Chicago’s Tony Mantuano — he helms the kitchen at the city’s celebrated Spiaggia — for Terzo Piano, located in the Renzo Piano-designed Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. At the Cleveland Museum of Art, beloved local chef Doug Katz oversees Provenance, which features locally sourced food and menus that align with current exhibitions. “In most of our locations, the chefs spend time with museum curators, touring the exhibitions as they are being prepped,” reports Bauccio. That involvement results in ingenious menus: Renaissance-inspired foods paired with art exhibitions from that period, or the cuisines of Persia or Southeast Asia experienced in conjunction with the art of those regions. “Museums are about exploring the senses. It’s our job to extend and enhance that sensual experience through taste, yes, but also smell, and definitely through the visual aspect of food,” says the CEO.