dineLA’s Restaurant Week returns for the first time in 2014 from January 20-31, featuring over 300 options. Restaurants that do it right repeatedly include Craft, Fogo de Chao, and Lawry’s. You’ll be happy if you go there, but also be sure to check out my top picks for lunch and dinner. After all, you’ve got 24 meals to play with. Make your calendar count.
View dineLA’s Restaurant Week (Winter 2014) Lunch in a larger map
Numbered establishments on the map correspond to information below for easy reference. Establishments also appear in alphabetical order instead of in order of preference.
1. The Black Cat ($15)
SUMMARY: The team behind popular Melrose gastropub, The Village Idiot, expanded to Silver Lake. Even though the restaurant resides behind tinted glass, the menu seems approachable.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Fried Chicken Wings • Burger
2. Bouchon Bistro ($25)
SUMMARY: Thomas Keller’s magic touch continues in Beverly Hills, where the famed chef and his team have managed to make 17,000 square feet work well amidst heavy competition.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Porchetta ($5 supplement) • Saumon Grillé • Riz au Lait
3. The Dal Rae ($25)
SUMMARY: Slide into a black leather booth at this steak-fueled Pico Rivera throwback. Sure, it’s lunch, but you might as well tack on a martini (or three).
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Mushrooms Stuffed with Crab • Poor Man’s Pepper Steak • New York Cheesecake
4. Drago Centro ($25)
SUMMARY: Chef-owner Celestino Drago and chef de cuisine Ian Gresik typically deliver big during Restaurant Week, and 2014 looks to be no exception.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Veal Carpaccio, Crispy Parmesan Reggiano, Toasted Capers • Polenta Stuffed Quail, Baby Kale Salad, Bartlett Pears • Chocolate Panna Cotta, Panettone Crumble, Blood Orange
5. Ford’s Filling Station ($20)
SUMMARY Benjamin Ford helped to launch L.A.’s gastropub boom, and lunch seems to be an especially good time to visit this enduring Culver City spot.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Smoked Trout Salad • Skillet Fried Chicken
6. Fundamental LA ($15)
SUMMARY: Jeffrey Faust and Woogene Lee bring global influences to their minimalist Westwood restaurant, which stars sandwiches at lunch, and more ambitious fare at dinner.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Garlic Roast Beef Sandwich • Spicy Soda Noodles (+2) • Real Vanilla Cream Soda
7. The Larder at Burton Way ($15)
SUMMARY: Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne anchor the northwest corner of a luxurious mixed-use development at Burton Way’s gateway to Beverly Hills, presenting a counter full of pastries, along with a focused selection of breakfast items, sandwiches and salads.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Soup of the Day • The Argentine • Seasonal Fruit Buckle
8. Next Door by Josie ($15)
SUMMARY: If anything, Next Door helps prove that Josie Le Balch is versatile. At adjacent Josie, she stays upscale, but this is a more approachable gastropub.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Cauliflower-Horseradish Soup with Chives and EVOO • Sloppy Roast Pork Sandwich, Fried Rapini, Aged Provolone
9. Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse ($20)
SUMMARY: This Patina Restaurant Group’s Bunker Hill steakhouse, under the watchful eye of executive chef Megan Logan, is surprisingly under the radar considering the quality.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Jumbo Lump Crab Cake • Oak Grilled Salmon • Chocolate-Pretzel Bread Pudding
10. Rivera ($25)
SUMMARY: Chef’s John Rivera Sedlar multi-environment establishment in South Park has racked up accolades due to the chef’s progressive pan-Latin approach that’s rooted in history.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Peruvian-Japanese Gyoza • Maize Cake Po’ Boy • Estudio en Flan