Blossoms & Brass, the newest addition to Collage Culinary Experience, South Coast Plaza’s global dining collective is now open, debuting a curated menu of artisan cocktails and decadent bites. Taking cues from the restaurant’s rich design and décor, the menu at Blossoms & Brass masterfully combines old-world Italian influence with Japanese ingredients and flavor profiles.
The visionary behind Blossoms & Brass is award-winning interior designer Kenneth Ussenko, founder and lead designer of his namesake firm, Kenneth Ussenko Designs. From mansions for Qatar royalty to luxury resorts in Belize to some of Southern California’s hottest restaurants, including Rum Social in Laguna Beach, Ussenko and his team have a reputation for their captivating, transportive designs. Pride of ownership is evident in his latest project, Blossoms & Brass, where old-world European splendor sees whimsical touches of Asia glamour.
As the cornerstone location of South Coast Plaza’s dining collective, Collage, the upscale cocktail bar entices passersby with its open concept and visually striking design elements, including ornate textured wallpaper and brass accent mirrors. The focal point is its 15-seat indoor-outdoor white stone bar, where guests will be seated beneath an elegant mercury glass chandelier and cascading cherry blossom blooms. The indoor-outdoor glamour extends to the restaurant’s patio with banquet seating for 36.
The restaurant’s central bar plays into its focus on artisan cocktails. Under an illuminated cherry blossom canopy, Beverage Director Dino Rojas crafts cocktails that juxtapose Italian opulence with Japanese simplicity. Classic, spirit-forward sips like the Brass Negroni and Oolong Old-Fashioned see subtle remixes, while shiso and Makrut lime leaves lend herbaceous notes to mezcal-based cocktails like A New Leaf. The Blossom Martini with Japanese gin, dry vermouth, and bergamot liqueur leans into umami notes with the addition of housemade bitters.
Complementing the cocktail program is a curated menu of shareable starters and entrees from Executive Chef Juan Vera. Italian influence is married with Japanese ingredients in dishes like La Mancha Maki, a saffron rice maki roll with lobster, crab, avocado, cucumber, masago, and furikake wrapped in black-label hazelnut Jamon Iberico; and twists on classics like the Lobster Roll with squid ink tempura topped with masago, and fried leeks. Dishes like the pink-hued Blossom Capellini topped with fired shiso, offer a nod to the restaurant’s beautifully intricate interior design.
“Whether you’re wandering through the hidden alleys of Osaka, Japan, or the cobblestone streets of Milan, Italy, you’ll find small intricate watering holes,” comments Ussenko. “These off-the-beaten-path eateries often offer the most intricate and memorable dining experiences. Blossoms & Brass marries the shared ethos of these cultural hideaways through an inventive take on fusion cuisine while eliciting that enigmatic feeling of wonder and whimsy.”
Blossoms & Brass is located at the entrance of South Coast Plaza’s dining collective Collage, adjacent to Bloomingdales (3333 S. Bristol St.), and is open daily for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. For more information on Blossoms & Brass, please visit the website and connect on Instagram at @BlossomsAndBrass.
Located exclusively at Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza on the main floor, Collage Culinary Experience is an elevated, two-story global dining collective that offers the best of international and local cuisine in an artfully designed space. Collage features sit-down restaurants serving world-inspired plates, next-level fast casual establishments, and full-service bars pouring carefully crafted cocktails.