Top Picks for dineLA Happy Hour Week

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Happy Hour Los Angeles

Plan Check’s Pimento Grilled Cheese & Bacon is one powerhouse plate available during dineLA Happy Hour Week.

dineLA’s Happy Hour Week takes place for the first time from April 27 – May 1, 2015, featuring over 130 options. Restaurants and bars are offering evening and late night happy hours, and in some cases, dineLA exclusive dishes. You’ve only got 5 weeknights to work with. Make your calendar count with my top picks, listed in alphabetical order.

1. Birch (5:30-7PM & 10-11:30PM)

SUMMARY: Brendan Collins opened this seasonal restaurant with global influences in the heart of Hollywood in early 2015, and the food was good right out of the gate. The birch theme pays “homage to chef Brendan Collins’ hometown of Nottingham, England, where he grew up near a copse of birch trees.”

STANDOUT DISHES AND DRINKS (aka, what I’d order): Burger ($10) • Chicken Wings ($8) • Chickpea Ricotta Fritter ($7)

2. Fundamental LA (5:30-7PM)

SUMMARY: Fundamental LA always had serious ambitions. In 2014, Woogene Lee and Jeff Faust recruited chef Philip Pretty, and dinner has become even more advanced, and satisfying, since he arrived.

STANDOUT DISHES AND DRINKS (aka, what I’d order): Fried Sunchokes ($5) • Mini BLT ($5) • Craft Beer ($4) [Craftsman 1903, Smog City Little Bo Pils, or El Segundo Mayberry IPA]

3. Ice Que (Tues – Thurs 1-9PM, Fri-Sat, 1-10PM)

SUMMARY: Quenelle owner John Park now runs L.A.’s first chef-driven shaved show shop, Ice Que, and makes almost everything that enters a bowl, including the ice cream, toppings, sauces and syrups. You’ll also find premium boba drinks, a library, and sledding yeti mural.

STANDOUT DISHES AND DRINKS (aka, what I’d order): Orange Is The New Black Shave Ice ($5.75/$7.25) • Moscow Mule Boba Drink ($4.75)

4. Komodo Venice (4-7PM)

SUMMARY: Chef Erwin Tjahyadi, brother Eric Tjahyadi and their partners turn out some of the most flavorful pan-Asian food in the city. They recently launched a high impact happy hour at their spacious Venice location, which now gets the dineLA spotlight.

STANDOUT DISHES AND DRINKS (aka, what I’d order): Southern Hot Chicken Wings ($8) • Fuzhou Fish Balls w/Cuttlefish Ink Cream Sauce ($8) • Deep Fried Oxtails ($8) • P.E.I. Mussels ($10)

5. Ledlow (5:30-7PM + 10PM – Close)

SUMMARY: Josef Centeno retooled this Old Bank District classic with Pete McLaughlin. Now he’s turning out dishes that James Beard might recognize, along with creative plays on seasonal comfort food.

STANDOUT DISHES AND DRINKS (aka, what I’d order): Spring Vegetable Toast w/Country Ham ($9) • Mac-N-Cheese Hashbrown ($6) • The Ledlow Burger ($9) • Angel City Social IPA ($5)

6. The Lost Knight (4-7PM)

SUMMARY: Paul Moore, wine-savvy GM Mary Thompson and Chef Gabriel Cappelli have delivered a British gastropub to increasingly eclectic Echo Park. They’ve become known for stargazy pie, which features a whole fish busting through the crust, though they’re also strong on hot dogs and craft beer.

STANDOUT DISHES AND DRINKS (aka, what I’d order): Bev & A Bite ($12) – Craftsman Beer (1903, Poppyfields, Heavenly Hef) • Branston Dog • 1903 Dog

7. Plan Check Kitchen + Bar (Downtown) (4-7PM)

SUMMARY: Chef Ernesto Uchimura and partner Terry Heller have reimagined the gastropub, teaming creative cooking and industrial chic design. Downtown is their latest contribution to L.A.’s culinary landscape and they bring just as much ingenuity to happy hour as they do to lunch or dinner.

STANDOUT DISHES AND DRINKS (aka, what I’d order): Tacos Hamburguesa ($8) • Pimento Grilled Cheese & Bacon ($8) • S&L Old Fashioned ($6)

8. Redbird (4-7PM)

SUMMARY: Chef Neal Fraser and wife Amy Knoll Fraser teamed with restaurateur Bill Chait on their dream restaurant in the rectory of bygone Vibiana Cathedral. High ceilings, a massive rotisserie, upscale comfort food and progressive cocktails all contribute to the ambitious concept’s success.

STANDOUT DISHES AND DRINKS (aka, what I’d order): Chicken Pot Pie ($11) • Vegan Posole ($11)

9. sidebar by Wolfgang Puck (5-7PM)

SUMMARY: Wolfgang Puck, culinary lieutenant Lee Hefter and resident meat maestro Ari Rosenson help anchor the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. They’ve proven that CUT is about more than just steak, and Sidebar is a more casual alternative with next level bar bites.

STANDOUT DISHES AND DRINKS (aka, what I’d order): Grilled Cheese ($5) • Housemade Hot Pastrami ($12) • Hand Cut French Fries w/Old Bay “Bearnaise” ($8) • Trumer Pils ($5)

10. Sotto (5:30-7PM)

SUMMARY: Steve Samson is holding down the kitchen at the southern Italian restaurant he co-founded with Zach Pollack. Sotto remains a subterranean Beverlywood destination thanks to the hearty cooking and welcoming vibe. Samson sources impeccable product and has wood fire in his arsenal, and not just for pizza.

STANDOUT DISHES AND DRINKS (aka, what I’d order): Braised Pork Meatballs ($8) • Swordfish Belly Spiedini ($8) • Lil Italy Cocktail ($8)

11. Terrine (late night at the bar)

SUMMARY: Chef Kris Morningstar teamed with seasoned restaurateur Stephane Bombet and front of house maestro Francois Renaud on this patio-centric Mid-City restaurant, and the French influence is evident. So is flavor, which is there to spare.

STANDOUT DISHES AND DRINKS (aka, what I’d order): Onion Soup Poutine ($11) Gruyere • Croque Cubano ($11) • Chipped Beef & Gravy ($9) • Pimms Pong ($10)

12. Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air (4:30-6:30PM + 10PM-12AM)

SUMMARY: The setting would almost be enough to justify dinner at this iconic Bel-Air hotel, with covered patio tables set amidst the hotel’s eight lush acres. Wolfgang Puck and culinary lieutenant Hugo Bolaños now run the kitchen, which is more progressive than most hotel restaurants.

STANDOUT DISHES AND DRINKS (aka, what I’d order): Tea Smoked “Deviled” Eggs ($9) • Prime Steak Tartare ($17) • Garlic Chile Prawns ($16) • Brined-Smoked-Grilled Chicken Thighs ($12)


Joshua Lurie

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

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