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News for Restaurants in Los Angeles
January 2009 Archive

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LOS ANGELES RESTAURANT NEWS - JANUARY 2009 Archive


OPENINGS

Restaurateur Agostino Sciandri (AGO) has opened Toscanova in the Westfield Century City mall. Executive chef Davide Vedovelli offers a menu of Northern Italian dishes including mushroom risotto and Spaghetti allo Scoglio (seafood pasta). Happy hour is served at the bar weekdays from 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Toscanova, Westfield Century City, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Ste. 192, Los Angeles, CA 90067, 310-551-0499.
 
West Hollywood's new green-inspired café and gourmet market has an Austrian-French accent, run by mother-son team Esther and Nino Linsmayer. Food+Lab Café and Marketplace features organic, hormone-free items including salads and sandwiches like Austrian meatloaf with dried tomato aioli and fried onions on ciabatta bread, grilled organic chicken with roasted plums and honey-whipped mascarpone on whole wheat, and Gorgonzola dolce with fig compote, pear and honey on raisin walnut bread. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily. Food+Lab Café and Marketplace, 7253 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046, 323-851-7120.
 
A new gourmet burger joint can be found at the new downtown Rowdy Red Wine & Burger Bar in the City National Plaza. Utilizing local farmstead producers for its meat and veggie sourcing, expect gourmet burgers variously gussied up with blue cheese, bacon, fresh pineapple, and sautéed mushrooms, as well as an Angus skirt steak salad and breakfasts. A wine list will soon follow. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily.
 
Adding to his elite sushi empire in the Valley, Katsuya Uechi has just opened Kiwame in the former Tama Sushi space on Ventura Blvd. Sushi, sashimi, tempura and other traditional Japanese favorites are joined by new signature dishes such as halibut wrapped with uni, calamari with pasta, Kobe beef in bamboo leaf, and Kobe-style filet with foie gras. Lunch Mon.-Fri., Dinner nightly. Kiwame, 11920 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604, 818-763-3910.
 
In Spring 2009, chef David Myers will open Ortica on La Cienega Boulevard near Sona. The project will be a sister restaurant to Pizzeria Ortica, which Myers recently opened in Costa Mesa, and will offer an intimate 40-seat space to sample Italian cheeses, cured meats and wine. Read about Sophie Gayot's visit to Pizzeria Ortica on Gayot's blog.
 
At California Plaza, chef-owner Kris Morningstar (formerly of Blue Velvet) is dishing up seasonal cutting-edge Mexican cuisine in a modern hacienda setting at CASA. Lunch is taqueria style, while a more formal dinner menu includes ceviches, lobster cigars, short rib tacos, persimmon-jicama salad, chicken mole, pumpkin enchiladas, roasted halibut, and braised rabbit with chestnuts. Lunch & Dinner Mon.-Fri. CASA, 350 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90013, 213-621-2249.
 
Susan Feniger, co-owner of Border Grill and Ciudad, has opened Susan Feniger's STREET in the former home of The Dive. Feniger has described the concept as "street-inspired home-style cooking from around the world." Susan Feniger's STREET, 742 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038, 323-203-0500.
 
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar adds another upscale venue to the L.A. Live dining scene, featuring steaks of all sizes ranging from an eight-ounce petite filet mignon to the 40-ounce Porterhouse for two. Seafood, salads, family-style sides and desserts round out the menu, and the wine list offers 100 selections by the glass. Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 800 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015, 213-745-9911.
 

NEWS BYTES

Valentine Chocolate and Wine Tasting Benefit on Melrose
Fancifull Giftbaskets will be hosting a chocolate and wine tasting to benefit the Alternate Routes Woodworking bus on February 6 from 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m. A chocolate buffet, other artisan goodies and array of wines bubbly, including a dry rose from the Loire, will be part of this focused tasting. The woodworking bus will be on site for tours. Cost is $10 (or more) donation. 5617 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038. RSVP suggested. Fancifull Giftbaskets, 5617 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038, 323-466-7654.
 
Happy Happy, Joy Joy
In Beverly Hills, Café Rodeo's Bar 360 hosts a weekday happy hour from 4:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., featuring $3.60 martinis and appetizers such as pork belly tacos, duck confit quesadillas and truffle fries. Café Rodeo, 360 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210, 310-273-0300.
 
Free Samples of New Breakfast Options at Panera Bread
On January 28, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Panera Bread will be giving free cups of its new Light and Dark Roast coffees and samples of its new breakfast options, which include three grilled Ciabatta breakfast sandwiches and the Strawberry Granola Parfait (made with Stonyfield Farm organic vanilla yogurt, maple butter pecan granola with whole grain oats and strawberries). Panera Bread is inviting each customer who tries a free cup of coffee to donate one dollar to the Operation Dough-Nation Community Breadbox, which will benefit a local charity of choice. For locations, please visit www.panerabread.com.
 
Comme Ca New Cocktails at Comme Ca
Comme Ca introduces an expanded specialty cocktail menu with handcrafted concoctions featuring fresh seasonal herbs, fruits and spices. Mixologist Joel Black's new cocktail list, dubbed "18A," draws its spirit from Prohibition-era speakeasies; drinks include the self-explanatory "gin & tarragonic"; the "maid in Mexico," which consists of tequila, mint, lime, and cucumber; and the "el matador," made with tequila, violet liqueur, fresh lemon and ginger. Comme Ca, 8479 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, CA 90069, 323-782-1104.
 
Chinese New Year at Joss
In addition to the regular menu, Joss will be presenting special Chinese New Year dishes January 25-28, featuring shark fin in golden pumpkin bisque, pepper and sea salt prawn bouquets, Tianjin pear with sea scallops, and Yunnan wild mushroom chicken. Reservations should be made 24 hours in advance with mention of preferred dishes. Joss, 9919 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212, 310-277-3888.
 
BOA on the Move
This spring, BOA Steakhouse is planning to move from its digs at The Grafton on Sunset to a new expansive location at Luckman Plaza, also in West Hollywood. Designed by Tag Front, the new BOA will feature water and fire elements accenting a 4,000-square-foot outdoor dining area; it will also revamp its menu and beverage program. BOA Steakhouse, The Grafton on Sunset, 8462 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069, 323-650-8383.
 
Winter Lunch Menu at Wilshire
Wilshire Restaurant has introduced a $25 three-course winter lunch menu. Diners have the choice of lobster bisque or Caesar salad for an appetizer; marinated salmon salad with Japanese cucumber and radish, yellow curry marinated half chicken with lemongrass risotto or panini with prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato, basil and garlic aioli for a main dish. Apple tarte tatin and chocolate mousse cake with vanilla ice cream are the options for dessert. Wilshire Restaurant, 2454 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403, 310-586-1707.
 
Happy Hour All Day at Taste on Melrose
On Tuesday January 20, 2009 Taste on Melrose will offer happy hour all day, to celebrate Barack Obama's Inauguration. Well drinks and wine by the glass are $4, martinis are $5, and specialty cocktails like the mango mojito and ginger rita are $6. Select appetizers including white truffle oil and mushroom mac n' cheese, black tiger shrimp cocktail and carne asada pizzetta are $3.50 to $5. Taste, 8454 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, CA 90069, 323-852-6888.
 
Wine Discount at Patina Restaurants
Through January and February, Café Pinot and other So Cal Patina Restaurant Group venues are offering a 25% discount on every bottle of red, white, rose and sparkling wine (that about covers it), as a thanks to post-holiday recession-challenged diners. Participants include Café Pinot, Nick & Stef's Steakhouse, Zucca Ristorante, Kendall's Brasserie and BarPinot Bistro, Catal Restaurant & Uva Bar, Naples, Leatherby's Café Rouge, Pinot Provence, Tangata and Pinot Brasserie.
 
Campanile's Soup Kitchen
In addition to its Wednesday night Soup Kitchen prix-fixe menu ($22), commemorating the WGA strike, Campanile is also offering handcrafted cocktails for $7, including the Key West Cosmopolitan, Philadelphia Fish House Punch, bourbon-based Steak Cocktail, and tequila-meets-scotch margarita Pancho Victoria. Campanile, 624 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036, 323-938-1447.
 
Swedish Brunch at AK
In Venice, Conny Andersson's AK Restaurant + Bar is now serving brunch from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Expect Swedish pancakes with forest berry compote, minute steak and red wine poached eggs, mushroom waffle with goat cheese crème fraiche, and smoked balik salmon with chive scrambled eggs, plus bellinis and mimosas. AK Restaurant + Bar, 1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, 310-392-6644.
 
El Cholo Renovates Patio with Waterfall
An iconic Mexican eatery since 1931, El Cholo on Western now boasts a large, newly renovated patio seating up to 120 people. Design elements include a rustic stone wall and waterfall as its centerpiece, framed by candles and a stone floor. The patio also features a natural skylight for all-weather comfort, and welcomes parties big and small. El Cholo, 1121 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90006, 323-734-2773.
 
Black Truffle Dinners at Patina
Patina's trio of traditional black truffle dinners are scheduled for January 13, 14 and 15. Each will feature a four- to six-course prix-fixe dinner featuring foie gras, pheasant soup with lentils, diver scallops piquet, bone-in turbo roti or Kobe beef duo with salsify and black truffle gratin, cheese course and dessert. The four-course option is $125; five courses is $150 and six courses is $175. Patina, Walt Disney Concert Hall, 141 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012, 213-972-3331.
 
Eat the Whole Thing at XIV
Michael Mina's luxe small-plates restaurant on Sunset, XIV, designed by Philippe Starck, now offers a 35-course tasting menu that features a bite of everything on the menu for $250 per person. XIV, 8117 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046, 323-656-1414.
 
La Cachette's Cooking Classes
La Cachette will offer small classes of light French cuisine by chef-owner Jean Francois Meteigner, starting in February with saltwater fishes prepared five different ways: salt-crusted, baked, sauteed, en papillotte and as an emulsion. Classes, priced at $100 per person, are held on Saturdays from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and include lunch with wine. Future topics feature fowl, seafood, beef and veal. La Cachette, 10506 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025, 310-470-4992.
 
Freebie Fritters at Whist Until January 9
Newly appointed executive chef Taite Pearson at Whist is offering "Freebie Fritters"---complimentary Lump Crab fritters with chives, aioli and caviar to Facebook "fans" from 12 p.m.-6 p.m. daily through January 9. No purchase is required and there is no check minimum; the limit is one free order per person per day. Guests must present proof that they are a "fan" of the restaurant, either via printed copy of the Facebook page or on a mobile device. Whist, Viceroy Santa Monica, 1819 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401, 310-451-8711.
 
Citrus at Social Citrus at Social Modifies Menu
Citrus at Social has launched a new menu featuring more bistro dishes from Michel Richard, such as fried chicken nuggets, cremini mushroom cigars with ginger sauce, and glazed baby back ribs. Classics like the mosaic carpaccio, chicken faux gras and mini lobster burgers are still on the menu. Citrus at Social, Social Hollywood, 6525 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028, 323-337-9797.
 

CHEF SHUFFLE

Walter Manzke is now the chef at Steven Arroyo's downtown bistro Church & State. Manzke was previously chef at Bastide, which closed in November 2008. Church & State, Biscuit Company Lofts, 1850 Industrial St., Los Angeles, CA 90021, 213-405-1434.
 

CLOSINGS

Pasadena's casual Argentine restaurant Gaucho Grill on Colorado Boulevard has closed. Gaucho Grill, 121 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91105, no phone.
 
In Marina Del Rey, the charming bistro Le Marmiton on Admiralty Way is now closed. Le Marmiton, 4724 Admiralty Wy., Marina Del Rey, CA 90292, no phone.
 
The grand Japanese Mitsuwa supermarket, located in the Little Tokyo Shopping Center, is closing January 25. The market, which itself replaced the excellent Japanese grocery store Yaohan's, will turn into the Korean H Mart. Mitsuwa, 333 S. Alameda St. # 100, Los Angeles, CA 90013, 213-687-6699.
 
Steve Arroyo's third Cobras and Matadors, in the La Brea location that formerly housed his Goat and Happi Songs projects, is now closed. Cobras and Matadors, 460 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036, no phone.
 

CULINARY EVENTS
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