2008 Top 15 Los Angeles Dishes

Best Food Of The Year

These bites inspired me more than any others over the past year.


Learn about the Top 15 Los Angeles dishes that I ate in 2008, regardless of cuisine or price level. These devastating dishes appear in alphabetical order, not according to my level of enjoyment, which was considerable in every single case.

Delux – HollywoodTuna Melt [CLOSED]

Restaurant Los Angeles

I attended the grand opening of Delux, an Art Deco restaurant and bar in the middle of the increasingly sizzling Cahuenga Corridor from designer Kristofer Keith and partner Adolfo Suaya. Eric Greenspan, chef-owner of The Foundry on Melrose and Suaya’s long-time friend, constructed a unique menu featuring 14 shareable small plates. Every dish incorporates alcohol, and there’s no need for utensils. In fact, there are no utensils. Every dish was good, but the Seared Tuna “Melt” was phenomenal, containing silky strips of tuna, vodka spiked peppers, oozing cheese, a creamy swipe of aioli and a fluffy rye roll.

Heirloom LAPumpkin Lasagna

Lasagna Los Angeles

Three days a week, George Cossette, Randy Clement and April Langford host tastings at their sleek wine shop, which specializes in “small production, high quality, artisanal wines.” On Sundays, they host the most ambitious of the events, with food from talented local chefs. On October 12, Silverlake Wine hosted a special 90-person blowout with food from up-and-coming chefs Matthew Poley (savory) and Tara Maxey (sweet). Their pumpkin lasagna was especially fabulous, Kabocha and butternut squash puree layered with pasta sheets, Parmigiano, brown butter sage glaze and gobs of hand-pulled buffalo mozzarella, topped with cubes of al dente squash and greens.

Ingredients – Glendale Pork Shoulder [CLOSED]

Pork Los Angeles

Former Bistro Verdu chef-owner Michael Ruiz resurfaced in the north Glendale neighborhood of Sparr Heights in December 2007. His blackboard menu changed according to the seasons, showcasing at least 20 Mediterranean small bites each day. We sampled seven dishes, none better than the pork shoulder, slow braised with sweet Cara Cara oranges. Ruiz covered the pig meat with a glass dome and introduces swirling applewood smoke. Ruiz lifted the lid to reveal the luscious shredded pork, garnished with roasted green peppers and ringed with parsley oil.

Chef Ruiz was forced to close Ingredients, and promptly became Executive Chef for Steven Arroyo’s Cobras & Matadors restaurants, along with Sgt. Recruiter.

Jitlada – HollywoodSteamed Mussels

Thai Food Los Angeles

Jitlada was the talk of Thai Town for almost two decades, but the restaurant suffered from a culinary coma in the years leading up to March 2006, when Chef Tui Sungkamee and younger sister Jazz Singsanong took over. Chef Sungkamee cooked for a dozen siblings in southern Thailand and had a restaurant on Pattaya beach before coming to America. Of the dozens of great dishes at Jitlada in 2008, including crocodile slathered with a dry curry, the green lip mussels were the most incredible, submerged in a lemongrass broth with whole chilies and Thai basil. The bivalves were massive, easily two inches across. Chef Sungkamee cooked them masterfully, until sweet and supple. Not that the finished product needed any help, but we spooned on a sauce of minced garlic and green chilies.

Little Dom’s Deli – Los FelizBlackberry-Grape-Rosemary Focaccia

Focaccia Los Angeles

Warner Ebbink and Brandon Boudet (Little Dom’s, Dominick’s, 101 Coffee Shop) debuted their Los Feliz deli on December 17, sharing their Italian specialties with the neighborhood. Chef Boudet is handling the seasonal savory items. Ann Kirk, the pastry chef at Little Dom’s, makes all the sweet items. Opening day offerings included a phenomenal blackberry, grape and rosemary focaccia, heated until the fruits’ natural sugars caramelized.



Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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so I think he knows good pastrami.


Thanks for the support. I agree with you that Langer’s pastrami is the best in L.A., but Brent’s black pastrami reuben is still pretty special. Here’s a link to my Langer’s review:


Having lived in the Bay Area for over 15 years, the idea that food in the Bay is superior to food in Los Angeles is laughable. The Bay has great food, don’t get me wrong, but in terms of size and scope, you can’t remotely try to put it on the same level as Los Angeles.

Don’t sweat Danny – dude’s an obvious douchebag. Not to mention completely uninformed if he thinks Otafuku is copying Momofuku. Note: just b/c both have the suffix “fuku” in them doesn’t make them related, moron.

This all said, Langer’s pastrami >>> Brent’s pastrami. By a long shot.

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Great roundup Josh.

Who the hell is that guy?

New York is New York, the Bay Area is the Bay Area, and Los Angeles is Los Angeles.

Eat first, talk/bash later…

And it’s going to be my 5th McDonald’s free year myself (along with almost every other franchise food thing 🙂

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You don’t have to agree with my post. After all, any restaurant criticism is based on opinion. Still, your accusation that I’m paid to post is off-base. I paid for every dish on the list except for the jamon iberico (which was presented by invitation, as I noted) and the focaccia (which was served to anybody who showed up, to help market Little Dom’s deli on its opening day). So you know, I’ve never been invited to a media event with the expectation that I write about it on Food GPS.

As for credentials, it’s not like you need a license to write about food. That holds true for any critic in the nation, including Michael Bauer and Frank Bruni. If you don’t agree with my opinions, you don’t have to read Food GPS.

Also, I’ve eaten at every revered deli in Manhattan, including 2nd Avenue, Carnegie and Katz’s. Brent’s Deli and Langer’s Deli in L.A. are both better than any Manhattan deli at this stage. If you find that so hard to believe, you should try them to form a more informed opinion.

As you can see from the following links, I have plenty of recent Bay Area and New York restaurant experience:

Finally, I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s since the mid ’90s.

Danny, have you been to any of the restaurants mentioned above? Answer that, and go ahead and read the hundreds of other reviews on this site, and then start talking about credentials. You obviously don’t have any.

Mistakes in your comment: Momofuku copied (well more like revised) Asian food from Los Angeles. It’s Thomas Keller, not Tom. Josh grew up eating at delis in Jersey and NYC, so I think he knows good pastrami. Oh, and Danny Meyer’s not a chef, he’s a restaurateur. Learn to spell Chicago (as well as pastrami and ethnic). And go stick your one inch cornichon in some other blog.

Are you kidding me? I am so tired or you hacks writing this crap. Just the photos alone look like slop! This is proof in point why LA is not now, has never been, and never will be a culinary haven. I cannot even imagine a chef of worth… Gary Danko, Tom Keller, Traci D., or “fill in the name of any decent NYC chef” putting their name on this crap. The greasy pistrami pictured would hit the trash bucket at the Carnegie or Roxy in NY – not be served to paying guests (maybe the homeless that come around the back door)… Otafuku – a rip-off of the famous NY Momofuku? This food just isn’t appetizing. It’s 5 years behind the culinary times… and here you are promoting it! How much did it cost these restaurants to get you to plug them?

Just out of curiosity – what exactly are your credentials for reviewing cuisine aside from tastebuds that must have died long ago and a desire to get free meals! I’m appalled at your choices. Here’s a suggestion… instead of sitting wracking your brain to come up with nonsense, take a trip up to the Bay Area and eat at a couple of good restaurants in SF.. up in Bodega Bay… visit some of the artisans… visit a couple of markets… then head to NY and drop by any one of the 5,000 decent eateries in the city (if you can’t decide, just pick 5 of Danny Meyer’s places)… then head to Chiacgo and do nothing but head to the ethic neighborhoods and eat in local joints – nothing fancy… just family-owned restaurants… then come back and I promise you will never again write about the “devastating dishes” that you ate at some celebrity-chef-wannabe-I-just-opened-my-place-that-will-be-closed-in-3-months “hotspot” of the moment in LA.

Pathetic. Find a new schtick. I understand McD’s will give you $10 to plug them in your next newsletter!

And for your readers – wise up… this is not good food.

good post! i will definitely have to try out some of these. Personally had bad experience on the pork belly @ palate (too salty and dry), but it can be a good day/bad day type of thing. I enjoy ur blog very much =) happy new year

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