Recent national news articles about important restaurant closings in SF, the inescapable diffusion of the NY scene, and other factors have helped fix my attention on the question of what, exactly, it would take beyond what we've got to vault LA to the forefront of the international food scene at a time when the competition seems distinctly to have retreated.
Allow me first to pre-empt responses that presume the entire inquiry to be ideological: I am not inviting (though I realize I cannot preempt) discussion about the validity, desirability, relevance, importance of LA's standings in Zagat's, Chowhound, LA or NY Times or Observer. LA's reputation for food and wine matters to me virtually not at all in comparison to the quality and availability of same. At some point, however, that reputation can become an incentive for restaurants to improve or at least further define their purpose. Which could benefit us all.
So, that said, what do you think? Personally, I feel we are still waiting for some one or ones with critical mass to lead the way with Korean as Temple tried to do on La Cienega and Ruth Reichl heralded before she left the NY Times. It should happen here. Great places should happen in great locales (on the coast, with perfect seafood!), and the 'ethnic' communities in LA proper should incorporate and promote the best of what the outlying enclaves keep to themselves (why can't you get Monterey Park and San Gabriel in Chinatown? In my view the much of the answer lies in egregious, ingrained and unaccountably unchallenged ethnic prejudice that would never be tolerated by the community under other circumstances).
But I digress.