Top Picks for dineLA’s Restaurant Week (Winter 2014)

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Restaurant Week Los Angeles


View dineLA’s Restaurant Week (Winter 2014) Dinner 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. BLD Restaurant ($25)

SUMMARY: This three-pronged standby from Neal Fraser and wife Amy Knoll Fraser focuses on D during Restaurant Week, and they’ve delivered enticing choices.

STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Charred Octopus • Pumpkin Risotto • Cinnamon Beignets

2. Cliff’s Edge ($45)

SUMMARY: Vartan Abgaryan brings the same level of excitement to the kitchen that owner Dana Hollister brought to the destination patio.

STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Poached Oyster, Uni, Crispy Squid Ink • Duck, Za’atar, King Oyster Mushroom, Hazelnuts, Cranberry • Carrot Canele, Carrot Ice Cream

3. CUT ($85)

SUMMARY: Wolfgang Puck, culinary lieutenant Lee Hefter and resident meat maestro Ari Rosenson help anchor a new tier of dining for Restaurant Week, and based on the menu they aim to prove that CUT is about more than just steak.

STANDOUT DISHES (prix fixe): Maine Diver Scallop Ceviche • Slow Braised Oxtail Consomme • Pan-Roasted Maine Black Sea Bass • Dry Aged New York Sirloin Steak • Chocolate Decadence: Irish Whiskey Chocolate Cake

4. Gusto ($35)

SUMMARY: Chef Victor Casanova scaled down when he left Culina to open his own restaurant, Gusto, and now focuses on Italian comfort food on W. 3rd.

STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Polpette alla Napoletana • Trota • Coconut Gelato Pie

5. JiRaffe Restaurant ($45)

SUMMARY: Homegrown Santa Monica chef Raphael Lunetta has run JiRaffe since 1996, but if anything, his restaurant is under the radar. Peel back the curtain during Restaurant Week.

STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Pan Roasted stuffed Vermont Quail • Prime Caramelized Pork Chop • Caramelized Banana Cream Pie

6. Josie Restaurant ($45)

SUMMARY: Josie Le Balch, who’s anchored a corner of Santa Monica since 2001, expanded with casual Next Door by Josie in 2012, but her first namesake restaurant remains vital.

STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Bacon-Wrapped Quail • Campfire Trout • Kabocha Pumpkin Cheesecake

7. Library Alehouse ($35)

SUMMARY: Library Alehouse has been known for craft beer since opening in 2005, and Certified Cicerone Alex P. Davis has certainly kept that program on track. Now, it’s the food that’s seen an upgrade, with chef Tom Hugenberger taking over the establishment in 2012.

STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Beet Terrine • Thai-Glazed Short Ribs • Brownie a la Mode • Beer Pairings (+9)

8. Melisse ($85)

SUMMARY: Chef Josiah Citrin, another one of Santa Monica’s favorite sons, continues to keep his fine-dining destination on the cutting edge. For Restaurant Week, his five-course menu is a relative bargain.

STANDOUT DISHES (prix fixe): Naked Cowboy Oyster, Cocoa Nibs, Radish, Pomegranate • Wagyu Beef Tartare, Puffed Rice, Aged Tomato Emulsion, Capers & Black Olive • Chatham Bay Cod, Cauliflower, Roasted Mushrooms, Hazelnuts • Devil’s Gulch Quail, Carrots, Braised Kale, Black Rice, Quail Jus • Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Coffee

9. Mud Hen Tavern ($25)

SUMMARY: Susan Feniger and chef-partner Kajsa Alger supplanted STREET with Mud Hen Tavern to end 2013 and remain inspired by eclectic cuisines while increasing the focus on the restaurant’s beverage program.

STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Green Eggs & Ham • Lamb Meatballs • Cheeseburger

10. NIGHT + MARKET ($35)

SUMMARY: Kris Yenbamroong runs this fashionable northern Thai restaurant on the Sunset Strip. His no-holds barred Restaurant Week dishes, many of which incorporate ingredients from Thailand, would stand out anywhere in L.A.

STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Peek Gai Hey-Ha (Party Wings) • Tub Hwan (Isan Liver Ceviche) • Gaeng Khua Pak Boong (Pork and Morning Glory Curry)

11. Osawa ($25)

SUMMARY: Sayuri Tachibe, the wife of Chaya Corporate Executive Chef, Shigefumi Tachibe, struck out on her own in Old Pasadena with Osawa, a restaurant that combines a focused combination of izakaya fare, shabu shabu and sushi.

STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Uni Sesame Tofu . Wasabi Soy • American Kobe Style Beef Burger Steak . Black Pepper Sauce • Strawberry Panna Cotta

12. Picca ($45)

SUMMARY: Lima native Ricardo Zarate has earned national acclaim by bringing fashionable Peruvian food to sleepy Beverlywood. This restaurant has the most upbeat vibe in the neighborhood.

STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Ceviche Mixto • Taicacho • Beterraga Risotto • Patita • Passion Fruit Crème Brulee

13. Ray’s and Stark Bar ($35)

SUMMARY: Chef Kris Morningstar, pastry chef Joshua Graves and the Patina Restaurant Group finally brought interest to LACMA that wasn’t art-related with this contemporary, globally-influenced restaurant that’s firmly rooted in California ingredients.

STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Wood Grilled Lamb Belly • Braised Beef Cheek • Brown Suga’

14. Red Room Food & Wine Bar ($25)

SUMMARY: This wine bar is a bit of a culinary wild card, but the San Fernando Valley needs some love, and Red Room’s menu is interesting, and at the lowest price point during dinner.

STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Spaghetti Squash with Clam Sauce • Wild California Bass • Heirloom Pumpkin Tart

15. Sotto ($20)

SUMMARY: Chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack teamed with Bill Chait on their subterranean Southern Italian restaurant, but they’ve still drawn plenty of attention thanks to their nose-to-tail approach, housemade pastas, and wood-fired pizzas.

STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Warm Octopus Insalatina • Cook Ranch Pork Spezzatino • Bittersweet Chocolate Crostata

16. Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air ($45)

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 (aka, what I’d order): Roasted Kohlrabi-Turnip Soup • Baked Diver Scallops “In The Shell” • Chocolate Hazelnut Bar


Joshua Lurie

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

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