Burgeoning Korean-style fried chicken chain BonChon Chicken, which is already thriving in Manhattan, Fort Lee, New Jersey and Annandale, Virginia, has introduced “the purest form of fried chicken” to Koreatown. Gold, Royal and Hot versions of the thin-skinned wings and drumsticks are available. BonChon attributes its “secret taste” to a “special garlic sauce made to marinate in-and-outside the chicken” and “health-conscious use of vegetable oil” used in frying the bird. Open daily from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. BonChon Chicken, 3407 W 6th St., Los Angeles, 213-487-7878.
Mike Garrett and Tommy Stoilkovich, the owners of Falcon and Pearl Dragon, have partnered with former Bastide chef Alain Giraud on Anisette, which is expected to open in Santa Monica's Clock Tower building by the end of April. Set designer Monte Hollis has fashioned an interior that showcases antique mirrors, mosaic tile floors and a 36-foot-long zinc bar. Chef Giraud will focus on market-driven French fare, with seasonal daily specials. Expect typical brasserie dishes like plateaux fruits de mer (seafood platter), roast chicken and fish soup. The hours will be 7:30 a.m.-midnight. Anisette Brasserie, 225 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-395-3200.
Michael Cigliano and his partners plan to move Santa Monica Seafood across town by fall 2008 to occupy a larger retail space and café. Cigliano, a member of the family that founded the seafood shop in 1939, promises a “rustic Tuscan” space with 6,400 feet of refrigerated chef’s cases, which will display an expanded selection of sustainable fish and shellfish. The new location will also host an oyster bar and offer sushi. A 40-seat café will prepare the store’s seafood. 10th Street Café currently offers a glimpse of what’s to come, with dishes like New England clam chowder, cod and chips, Baja-style fish tacos and a spicy tuna burger. The café is currently open Mon.-Fri. from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. 10th Street Café, 1000 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-255-0000.
Georgia native Adam Milstein has partnered with Philip Boyd, Chris Shanley and Robyn Landrum on South, a Southern restaurant and bar that will debut in the former Punch Grill space by early April. Chef Glenn Weinstein, who trained with Paul Prudhomme at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans, has written a menu that includes chicken ‘n waffle sliders, Canal Street jambalaya, fried chicken and chicken-fried steak with Andouille sausage. Finish with a choice of three desserts: beignets, banana bread pudding and bourbon-pecan pie. Interiors by Aurora designed the 7000-square-foot “modern rustic” space, featuring cream-colored and brick walls, a wood plank ceiling and a front porch. Service-wise, expect old-fashioned Southern hospitality. The restaurant will be open 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily, with Sunday brunch. South, 3001 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-828-9988.
In early March, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan completed his redevelopment of Mort’s Deli in the Palisades by debuting The Oak Room–a dinner-only establishment with a full liquor license–next to his more casual Village Pantry. Michael's veteran Douglas Silberberg is executive chef, preparing seasonal California cuisine. Entrées include duck cassoulet, aged hanger steak and the Mayor’s Burger, a one-pound patty blanketed with chili, bacon and sautéed onions, a variation of which was already available at Riordan’s Tavern downtown. Open Wed.-Sun. from 5 p.m. -9 p.m. The Oak Room, 1035 Swarthmore Ave., Pacific Palisades, 310-454-3337.
Bob Lynn and his partners at LGO Hospitality plan to open La Grande Orange Grocery in Santa Monica in late Summer in the former Boulangerie space. Patterned after the group's Phoenix original, the grocery promises high-octane music and food, including to go ites like fresh-made sandwiches, salads, sushi and pizza. There will also be a large coffee component. To give the space a distinctive look, LGO has hired the firm of Marmol Radziner, which has caused a stir in the architecture world thanks to their eco-friendly, steel-frame prefab homes. La Grande Orange Grocery, Main St. & Bicknell Ave., Santa Monica.
Octavio Becerra, co-founder of the Patina Group and Joachim Splichal's go-to chef for 21 years, has partnered with chef Gary Menes (Patina, The French Laundry), wine director Steve Goldun (Woodland Hills Wine) and general manager Laura O'Hare (Patina Group) on Palate Food + Wine. The quartet plans to open a wine-centric Mediterranean-influenced restaurant in late April in the former Cinnabar space in Glendale. By utilizing long-standing relationships with local farmers, the chefs will create a menu that will change on a weekly basis. In late May or early June, the team also plans to debut a retail wine shop, focusing on hand-crafted, artisanal wines from regions like Piedmont, Burgundy, the Loire Valley and the northern Rhône. Sebastian Craig, from The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, is consulting on the cheese program, including the creation of a walk-in cheese cellar. Each component of the concept will offer its own menu. Altogether, Palate will feature 85 seats, including a number of communal tables. The wine shop will even host an extensive library, available to curious customers. The restaurant will be open for dinner Mon.-Sat. from 5 p.m.-11 p.m. The wine shop will be open six days a week from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Palate Food + Wine, 933 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale.
In January 2008, Vicente Del Rio opened Frida’s Taqueria in the Brentwood Country Mart, building on the success of Frida Mexican Cuisine in Beverly Hills. The casual spinoff specializes in tacos filled with options like cochinita pibil, chicken mole and barbacoa. Open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. Frida’s Taqueria, 225 26th St., Santa Monica, 310-395-9666.
Chicago native Brian McKeaney has partnered with producer Ken Kaufman and Tom Patchett (writer/producer/Bergamot Station co-founder) to launch Rush Street in April, naming their restaurant, bar and lounge after the Second City’s hottest party street. Executive chef Dave Northrup, previously of Deep, Vine and Flints, will focus on “bar-centric” dishes like buffalo chicken dumplings with blue cheese and fried shallot dressing; pulled BBQ pork sliders and Kobe pigs-in-a-blanket; plus grilled New Zealand lamb racks and brick oven-cooked pizzas. The former sign shop will feature a large sidewalk patio, a 35-foot molded concrete bar and black leather booths. At “Upstairs at Rush Street,” expect a music-driven lounge and a rooftop patio. Rush Street will be open daily for lunch and dinner. Rush Street, 9546 Washington Blvd., Culver City.
Actress Eva Longoria joined with chef Todd English and restaurateurs JT Torregiani and Jonas Lowrance to open Beso. The Hollywood restaurant features a dramatic dining room with handpainted walls, chandeliers and black leather chairs, as well as an upstairs lounge with an outdoor patio and separate dining area. The contemporary menu offers dishes like paella with lobster and chorizo. Open for dinner Mon.-Sat. Beso, 6350 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323-467-7991.
Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s, will open a second location of interactive dining experience uWink in early May at the Hollywood & Highland Center. At uWink, guests order their food and drink via tabletop touch screen terminals, which can also be used to play games. The menu will feature American comfort foods like burgers and pizzas, as well as tender braised short ribs and seared salmon. uWink, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.
Restaurateur Steven Arroyo, owner of Cobras & Matadors, 750 ml and Goat, expects to open a brasserie called Church & State in April at the base of the Biscuit Company Lofts building. Chef Greg Bernhardt, formerly Neal Fraser’s chef de cuisine at Grace, will prepare French classics like steak frites, moules frites, oysters and chicken paillard.
On March 1, Ali Biglar and Andy Hasroun celebrated the grand opening of 55 Degrees, naming their Atwater Village wine shop for the ideal storage temperature for vino. They specialize in Italian wines (much like Biglar’s Santa Monica retail shop, Wine Expo), with each category grouped geographically, from the bottom of Italy's boot to the top. Within each group, the wines then form a spectrum from lighter- to fuller-bodied. The moody downstairs wine bar features old wine barrels, wrought iron accents and candlelight. The owners plan to offer three flights of wine weekly, plus salumi and cheeseboards paired to white and red wines. The shop is open daily from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. The tasting room is open Mon.-Fri. from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. and Sat.-Sun. from 5 pm.-10 p.m. 55 Degrees, 3111 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village, 323-662-5556.On February 29, restaurateur Steven Arroyo debuted Goat in the former home of Happi Songs Asian Tavern, naming his American café in honor of the sturdy animal. Chef Robert Luna, previously of Malo, is turning out dishes like a caramelized onion tart with chopped greens and watermelon vinaigrette; baked goat cheese and macaroni on truffle toast; house special goat confit with pomegranate-avocado salsa; and for dessert, a fig, goat cheese and rosemary bread pudding. Decorative highlights include vintage chandeliers from a Hollywood church, tile floors and banquettes. Open daily from 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Goat, 460 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, 323-936-7622.
Bob Lynn, Sandy Henry and Craig DeMarco of LGO Hospitality hope to duplicate the success of their multifaceted Phoenix concept in Pasadena's historic Santa Fe Railway Depot when they debut La Grande Orange Café on March 10. Executive chef Scott Malin will prepare seasonal California cuisine, with market-style service at lunch and full table service at dinner. The second stage of the rollout will be Radio Milano, a reasonably-priced Italian café, expected to open in Spring 2009. La Grande Orange Café, 260 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, 626-356-4444.
Famed chef Laurent Tourondel has opened BLT Steak in the West Hollywood spot occupied for so many years by Le Dôme. Designer Michael Bagley, who has worked on all the other BLT restaurants, has completely transformed the space, making it into one large room where every table is a booth. BLT Steak offers a variety of cuts of USDA Prime beef, as well as American Wagyu and Japanese Kobe beef. The menu is organized by category and complements main courses with corresponding savory sauces such as peppercorn, horseradish or béarnaise. Open for dinner nightly. BLT Steak, 8720 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-360-1950.
Owners Richard Shapiro and Murray Wishengrad opened a branch of The Stand in Westwood Village on February 27. Expect the same menu as at the Encino original, including hot dogs, sausages, burgers, chili and fruit cobbler. Open Sun.-Thurs. from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. The Stand, 1116 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-443-0400.
Former Mayor Richard Riordan, whose restaurants include The Original Pantry Café and Riordan’s Tavern downtown, recently debuted Village Pantry in the old Mort’s Deli space. The restaurant is "celebrating the bounty of California” at breakfast and lunch. The spectrum of egg dishes runs from a “simple scramble” to the Eureka Omelet with Dungeness crab and California caviar. There’s also french toast and Niman Ranch corned beef hash with potatoes, peppers and Cantella’s sausage. For lunch, expect options like duck leg confit salad with pomegranate vinaigrette and a pulled pork sandwich with crispy onions, cole slaw and applewood-smoked bacon. Open daily from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Village Pantry, 1035 Swarthmore Ave., Pacific Palisades, 310-454-3337.
Chef Nobu Matsuhisa has opened another Los Angeles location of his famed sushi chain Nobu. Located in the former L’Orangerie space in West Hollywood, the restaurant offers a variety of sushi and sashimi, as well as hot dishes like steamed Chilean sea bass with a choice of black bean sauce or dried miso. Nobu Los Angeles, 903 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood.
Larry Rudolph, the former general manager of Dominick's, is hoping to open Mec Restaurant et Bar by this Summer. The French restaurant and bar will occupy the old Black Sea space. Mec Restaurant et Bar, 448 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles.
Boundary-bending French chef Laurent Quenioux, previously of Bistro K, is developing Bistro 1100 downtown, hoping to open by this Fall. The bright, airy space will feature exposed ceilings and an exhibition kitchen. Quenioux will only accept 50 reservations per night, but he’ll also have a 15-seat communal table for walk-ins. He’s planning an eclectic menu, with dishes like his cornucopia of chanterelles filled with veal sweetbreads; John Dory with bone marrow “royale” and baby abalone; and game imported from Scotland. There will even be a savory macaroon tasting menu. Think smoked haddock and nutmeg; fennel and orange; and foie gras with double apple. Quenioux will offer three tasting menus per night: six-course, eight-course and a six-course vegetarian–plus an à la carte menu with half portions, allowing for more tastes. Quenioux promises that the wine list, designed by Gregg Greenbaum, will be “very new and perhaps revolutionary.” Initially, Bistro 1100 will only be open for dinner Tues.-Sat., but will add lunch 45 days in. Until the bistro opens, Chef Quenioux is serving as guest chef once a month at vermont restaurant and Z Mario in Irvine. Bistro 1100, 1100 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles.
Producer Gavin Polone and casting director John Papsidera joined forces with chef Scooter Kanfer-Cartmill to debut The Waffle on February 21. The modern Hollywood diner is open 22/7 and specializes in American comfort food. Waffles are available with baked-in blueberries, blueberry sauce and lemon curd; topped with roasted pears, raisins and crystallized ginger; or mixed with chopped dates, raisins and nuts and served with spiced cream cheese. There are also egg dishes, loaded hash browns and biscuits with sawmill sausage gravy. Later in the day, expect sandwiches, salads and burgers, plus Yankee pot roast, fried chicken and a double-cut pork chop with savory bread pudding. Open Mon.-Thurs. from 6:30 a.m.-2:30 a.m. and Fri.-Sun. from 6:30 a.m.-4:30 a.m. The Waffle, 6255 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, 323-465-6901.
On Valentine’s Day, David Tardif opened Tranquility Base on the ground floor of Sky Lofts. Chef Robert Van Houten, previously of The Gardens on Glendon, is preparing seasonal small plates like seared U-10 scallops with “blackening spice,” mango, melon and papaya salsa; seared Chilean sea bass marinated in sesame oil, soy and garlic; and crispy calamari with jalapeno-ginger-lime dipping sauce. Open Mon.-Fri. from 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.- and Sat.-Sun. from 1 p.m.-1 a.m. Tranquility Base, 801 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, 213-404-0588.
Marty Davidson plans to open Marty D’s on March 1, specializing in all-beef Kosher hot dogs. The franks will be available topped with cole slaw, sauerkraut or grilled peppers and onions. Expect desserts like bundt cake, brownies, hot fudge sundaes and root beer floats. The space will combine the looks of a New York diner and a Nantucket café, complete with a vintage soda fountain. The full-service restaurant will open daily for lunch and dinner. Marty D’s, 230 S. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-273-7771.
Michael Ruiz, the former chef-owner of Bistro Verdu, has launched Ingredients, a gourmet shop, in Sparr Heights, specializing in cheeses and charcuterie. At lunch, expect options like duck confit salad with shaved Parmesan, quince jelly, almonds and sherry vin; and an aged goat cheese sandwich with olive tapenade and piquillos. On Friday and Saturday nights, from 5 p.m.-9 p.m., he offers seasonal small bites like borscht shots with frothy blue cheese; boquerrones with chickpea toast and spicy tomato paste; and pork shoulder confit with smoked chilies and orange apple fumé. The design is “country European,” with a mustard and ochre color scheme and raw wood furnishings. There are sixteen seats inside and picnic tables out front. Lunch is available Tues.-Sat. from 12 p.m.-3 p.m. Ingredients, 3521 N. Verdugo Rd., Glendale, 818-249-4971.
Chef-caterer Akasha Richmond debuted Akasha on February 12 in the historic Hull Building, which previously housed San Gennaro. The eco-friendly restaurant specializes in New American comfort food–small plates like turmeric-seared pears with goji berries, chevre, pine nuts and pomegranate vinaigrette; pizza with La Quercia prosciutto, oregonzola, fig, caramelized onions and wild arugula; and big plates including South Indian-style Loch Duart salmon with roasted curried cauliflower, green beans with mustard seeds and tamarind-date chutney. Open 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m. nightly, with breakfast and lunch to follow by the end of February. A bakery is open daily from 7 a.m.-4 p.m., specializing in vegan and wheat-free pastries like cinnamon rolls and granola bars. Akasha, 9543 Culver Blvd., Culver City, 310-845-1700.
Chef Michel Richard has joined restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow to open Citrus at Social, a new dining experience at Social Hollywood replacing the once Moroccan-themed dining room. Citrus at Social offers a Cali-French menu and a fresh design with light green banquettes, sheer yellow draperies, and modern cylinders of amber lighting. The dinner menu begins with “Michel’s Favorite Bistro Classics,” such as gougères (cheese puffs) and an onion tart with smoked salmon and crème fraîche, followed by appetizers like a carpaccio of “surf,” “turf,” and “earth.” Entrées include lobster fennel with tomato, fava bean and licorice jus; 72-hour short rib frites; and Colorado lamb with “gigantes” beans and jalapeño sauce. In the position of chef de cuisine is Rémi Lauvand, who has previously held posts at La Grenouille, Le Cirque, and, most recently, at Miró at Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara. Open from 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Mon.-Wed., 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Thurs.-Sat. Citrus at Social, 6525 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, 323-337-9797.
Suzanne Tracht, chef-owner of Jar and Tracht’s, plans to open Suzpree in late summer or early fall 2008 with her longtime chef de cuisine Preech Narkthong. The restaurant will be located in Century Park, near CAA. Expect a menu of light American dishes with Pacific accents, including potato, egg and rice noodle dishes, watercress and lobster tea sandwiches, or watermelon, crisp pork belly and Persian mint salad. The global wine list will feature white Burgundies, French Sauvignon Blancs, Alsatian Rieslings and Pinot Noirs from New Zealand, France, Oregon and California. Suzpree, 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City.
Market City Caffe Hospitality Group, which operates Market City Caffe in Brea, Burbank and Las Vegas as well as Morels French steakhouse at The Grove, has opened Sixth Street Bar & Grill just south of Little Tokyo. Chef Diro Shiferaw shifted over from Morels to run the kitchen at this “fast-paced American bistro.” At breakfast, expect corned beef hash, cinnamon swirl French toast and omelettes. Lunch brings pizza, pastas, burgers and salads, plus entrées like fish & chips, grilled fish and steak frites with lemon and parsley butter. Once the restaurant scores a liquor license, they’ll add dinner service. Open Mon.-Fri. from 6 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and Sat. from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Sixth Street Bar & Grill, 601 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles, 213-622-9004.
Christine Moore launched the first retail outlet of her Little Flower Candy Co. on the western fringe of Pasadena. Her flavored caramels and marshmallows were previously only available at bakeries and markets around town. Campanile veteran Moore has re-introduced baked goods to her arsenal, including almond cake, chocolate chip cookies, coconut macaroons, blood orange tarts, apple turnovers and, in the morning, muffins. Open Mon.-Sat. from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sun. from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Little Flower Candy Co., 1424 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-304-4800.
The One Group (One Sunset) opened a branch of their New York restaurant STK in Los Angeles on February 15. Steak, of course, is the main attraction, and the menu offers petite, medium and oversize (up to 34 oz.) cuts of beef as well as options like snapper with ponzu and shitake brown butter, a lamb porterhouse, and bigeye tuna with porcini potato puree and mushroom bordelaise. Chef de cuisine Larry Greenwood, previously of BOA Steakhouse, has brought menu additions such as pan-seared Diver scallops topped with carmelized miso sauce. The design of the main dining room features high ceilings, banquette-style seating, and unadorned white brick with glass globe lights floating throughout. The center of the venue houses an outdoor atrium with a bar, an open air ceiling and a DJ booth. STK, 755 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-659-3535.
Chef Armando Martinez, previously with Water Grill, is heading Twelve + Highland, situated in the former home of Chakra. The global menu contains dishes like big eye tuna with soy gelée, wasabi emulsion and cider gastrique; Rhode Island striped bass with salsify and vermouth jus; live Maine lobster with butternut squash ravioli, sage, pine nuts and ginger emulsion; and Colorado lamb loin with cocoa bean-harissa ragu, pickled onion, preserved lemon, garlic confit and almond-mint pistou. The modern space features a gray and lavender color scheme. Weekends bring dancing after 10 p.m. Open for lunch Mon.-Sat. and for dinner nightly. Twelve + Highland, 304 12th St., Manhattan Beach, 310-545-1881.
Bistrotek, an American-style bistro, has opened in the Custom Hotel. The restaurant features an open, loft-style space with sky lights, exposed pipes and brick walls, as well as a wood-paneled bar and an outdoor patio. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily as well as weekend brunch. Bistrotek, Custom Hotel, 8639 Lincoln Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-645-0400.
Renee and Ron Lebow, who bought Gaetano’s in Calabasas in 2005 and turned it into the Native Café & Gathering Grounds, are now tweaking the concept again to focus more on California/Italian cuisine. The restaurant, now named Calitalia Restaurant & Lounge, will merge Renee’s California comfort cooking with many of the Italian dishes for which Gaetano’s was known. The wine list will include Cal-Italia, California and imported Italian wines, along with a selection of organic and biodynamic wines. The décor will remain the same and still feature bamboo and cork floors and paintings and photographs by local artists. Open for lunch Tues.-Fri. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., dinner Tues.-Sun. from 5 p.m. Calitalia Restaurant & Lounge, 3536 Calabasas Rd., Calabasas, 818-223-9600.
Chrysta Wilson plans to open Kiss My Bundt Bakery in April near the Farmers Market, specializing in made-from-scratch bundt cakes. She grew up in the South and learned to make bundt cakes from her Aunt Dia. For Wilson, bundt “represents tradition” and “symbolizes friendship” (the root meaning of the word “bundt” is the German word for group of friends). Wilson promises Southern hospitality, free samples and a “traditional yet modern” design that will allow customers to watch bakers frost, glaze and decorate cakes. Expect flavors like pumpkin cake with cinnamon spice glaze, carrot cake with cream cheese and butter cake with coconut buttercream. Wilson has over three dozen flavors in her repertoire, but won’t offer them all on the same day. That means daily specials and seasonal flavors. The sizes: mini bundt, baby bundt and big ‘ol bundt. Kiss My Bundt Bakery, 8104 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles.
Jon Lagardere has opened an organic lunch spot, Lunchbox Fine Foods, in Silver Lake, sharing space with old-fashioned gift shop Zanzabelle. Specialties include the roasted vegetable wrap with spinach, hummus and preserved Meyer lemons; roasted poblano soup with cotija cheese and roasted corn; and quinoa salad with saffron, preserved lemon, roasted garlic, basil and pine nuts. Cupcakes come from Delilah Bakery while Fosselman’s Ice Cream is the source of the eight flavors of ice cream. There’s a garden patio and free Wi-Fi. Open Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sat. from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Lunchbox Fine Foods, 2912 Rowena Ave., Los Angeles, 323-663-9900.
David Yeretsian has opened a branch of Sasoun Bakery inside the Jons Marketplace in Reseda. Savory Armenian pastries are baked on site, just like at the East Hollywood original, including torpedo-shaped cheese beoreks, triangular spinach beoreks, zatar-topped maneishe and lahmajunes with ground lamb and tomato sauce. Open Mon.-Sat. from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sun. from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Sasoun Bakery, 18135 Sherman Way, Reseda, 818-881-9988.
La Défence is offering Euro-Asian cuisine and karaoke in Koreatown. Chef Yuji Iwasa, previously of Koi, is preparing dishes like crab cake “à la Japonaise” with a grapefruit-ginger infusion; miso risotto with asparagus, edamame and shaved truffles; and grilled lamb chops with a honey-port soy glaze. Sashimi includes hamachi with jalapeño-citrus soy and Kobe beef with truffles and ponzu. Specialty rolls are named for popular bands and movies. Think “Da Vinci Code” with salmon, tomatoes, smelt egg and “spicy creamy sauce”; and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” with tempura shrimp, spicy tuna, eel and “sweet sauce.” Open for lunch Mon.-Fri. from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and for dinner Mon.-Sat. from 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. La Défence, 3701 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 213-384-9500.
Brothers Miguel, Javier, Jorge and Fernando Anaya, who co-own Cha Cha Cha, recently opened Pinches Tacos on the Sunset Strip. The Anayas have imported family recipes–and family members–from Guadalajara to produce tacos filled with ingredients like chorizo, carnitas, shrimp and chicken with mole. Burritos, sopes, tortas, enchiladas, taquitos and flautas are available with a similar complement of ingredients. Expect handmade tortillas, fresh salsas and sides like Mexican corn on the cob with cream, cheese and chile powder. Open daily at 11 a.m., on Thurs.-Sat. until 3 a.m. Pinches Tacos, 8200 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-650-0614.
Dominick’s owners Warner Ebbink and Brandon Boudet opened Little Dom's in the former home of La Belle Epoque in Los Feliz. Expect Italian dishes like wood oven-baked ricotta and mushrooms with crostini; ravioli gnudi with spinach and ricotta; pizza margherita topped with speck, prosciutto or homemade sausage; and grilled filet mignon tips with brandy wine sauce and Parmesan mashed potatoes. Initially open nightly for dinner, with breakfast and lunch to follow in February. Little Dom’s, 2128 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles, 323-661-0055.
New York restaurateur Jonathan Morr opened a West Coast branch of his BondSt concept at the Thompson Beverly Hills hotel on January 11. Executive chef Hiroshi Nakahara transferred from the Manhattan original to prepare Japanese fusion dishes like seared scallops with foie gras and Asian pear salad; crispy goat cheese crab cakes with pounded rice crust and carrot lemon coulis; and New York strip steak with diced potatoes and shallot-teriyaki sauce. “Special Sushi” includes toro with caviar, salmon with kelp, clam with olive-yuzu kosho and a hamachi quartet. Morr recruited Dodd Mitchell to design the modern space and India Mahdavi to provide the furnishings. BondSt, 9360 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-601-2255.
Hermosa Beach developer Gene Shook plans to open brix@1601 in February 2008. The 10,000-square-foot space will feature multiple fireplaces, leather seating and brick archways. Executive chef Michael McDonald, previously of Dakota restaurant at The Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, will prepare a contemporary American menu with dishes like warm white asparagus with shaved foie gras, house-made pastas, Oregon black cod, and Sonoma lamb with Brussels sprout mash, spinach and rosemary red wine sauce. Renee Ward, also coming from The Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, will handle pastry duties and even plans to launch a line of fine chocolates, which will be sold exclusively at brixwine, a stand-alone wine shop connected to the restaurant. brix@1601 will be open Wed.-Sun. from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and nightly from 5 p.m.-midnight. brix@1601, 1601 Pacific Coast Highway, Hermosa Beach, 310-698-0740.
Robert Benson, chef/owner of two Jack n’ Jill’s cafes on the Westside, intends to open CREPERIE by Jack n’ Jill’s in the former home of Michelia this winter. Crepes will include the Cadeville–chicken breast with sautéed asparagus and cheese in a garlic cream sauce; The Quarter–Andouille sausage, shrimp and chicken breast in a jambalaya sauce; and Lucky Number Seven–caramelized pear, almonds, hazelnut liquor and chocolate sauce. There will also be baby back ribs with spicy BBQ sauce, smoked chicken gumbo and beer-battered jumbo shrimp with spicy remoulade and pear-macadamia slaw. Creperie by Jack N’ Jill’s, 8738 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles.
Bistrotek is set to open in the Custom Hotel near LAX by the end of January. Chef Paul Arias, previously of The Lodge at Torrey Pines and Pesce Blue in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, will prepare bistro fare like rosemary-grilled shrimp with red pepper-almond cocktail sauce, caramelized sea scallops with shell bean succotash, chicken under a brick with winter greens and sweet potato risotto and pineapple upside down cheesecake. The loft-like space will feature polished concrete floors, distressed brick walls and a vine-lined outdoor patio. Bistrotek will be open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Fri.-Sat. until 2 a.m. Bistrotek, 8639 Lincoln Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-258-5757.
Kevin Futham designed and opened stylish Nakkara on Beverly in the former home of Wild Orchid. Expect pan-Asian cuisine, including fried calamari with crispy kabocha sticks, crispy roasted Mandarin duck with hoisin and ginger sauce, lobster tail glazed with Chardonnay and spicy garlic sauce and “sweet bites” like mango with sticky rice. Open Sun.-Thurs. from 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Nakkara on Beverly, 7669 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-937-3100.
Brett Miller and designer Warren Bregman opened Mamash on December 9 in the former home of Delmonico’s Seafood Grille. Mamash loosely means “moving on to bigger and better things” in Hebrew. Chef Max Webb is preparing kosher Asian fusion–dishes like grilled rib-eye with nine spice dry rub and a Pinot Noir-blackberry reduction, pan-fried noodles with mushrooms, spinach and baby tomatoes; herb-infused crispy chicken with ginger butter; and for dessert, orange-almond flan. Open Sat.-Thurs. for dinner, with lunch beginning in February. Mamash, 9320 Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-777-8370.
Japanese company KURA opened Kula Sushi Bistro in November, supplanting Aphrodisiac in Century City. The restaurant combines organic ingredients with traditional Japanese technique. The menu specializes in Japanese small plates, sushi, sashimi and rolls. The space features bleached bamboo floors and Japanese lantern light fixtures. The black marble bar dispenses a vast list of saké, shochu and cocktails. Kula Sushi Bistro, 10351 Santa Monica Blvd., Century City, 310-282-8870.
Mike Zislis, who owns Shade Hotel, opened Mucho Ultima Mexicana nearby in the old Michi space on December 3. For the first few months, the upscale Mexican restaurant will audition dishes for the regular menu, with options including Chilean sea bass ceviche with coconut milk in smoked jalapeno tequila; pumpkin seed-crusted halibut with huitlacoche mashed potatoes, caramelized chayote squash, guajillo chile emulsion and cilantro oil; and a banana leaf-wrapped lamb shank with mole Poblano, red onion and pickled pepper salad and corn pudding. For dessert, there are made-to-order churros and slices of horchata cheesecake. Margaritas incorporate fresh lime juice, house-made sweet & sour mix, Hawaiian amber cane sugar and sea salt. Open daily at 5 p.m. Mucho Ultima Mexicana, 903 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, 310-374-4422.
Michael Le, late of nearby Vietnam House, has opened Vietnam Restaurant in San Gabriel. A sprawling menu features Le family recipes for pho, rice vermicelli with charbroiled pork or fried egg rolls and baked whole catfish. There’s even a seven-course tasting of beef: charbroiled in la lot leaves, grilled, satay, baked, in a salad, in porridge, and dipped in vinegar broth. The space includes twin dining rooms, mint green walls, framed watercolors of Vietnamese women and wall-mounted Vietnamese instruments. Open Fri.-Wed. for lunch and dinner. Vietnam Restaurant, 340 W. Las Tunas Dr., San Gabriel, 626-281-5577.
Din Tai Fung Dumpling House, situated just south of Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, has built a loyal following with a dazzling array of steamed dumplings. Frank Yang has finally opened a nearby second Los Angeles branch of his family’s concept, which originated in Taipei. Din Tai Fung Dumpling House, 1088 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, 626-446-8588.
Joe’s owner Joe Miller has opened Bar Pintxo near the Third Street Promenade. Chef Robert Trester, previously of Ocean & Vine, is overseeing the menu of Spanish tapas. The 30-seat restaurant doesn’t allow reservations, so be prepared to wait for dishes like goat cheese croquettes with mushrooms, tortilla Espanola with sweet onions and grilled bread with fresh tomatoes and jamon Serrano. Bar Pintxo, 109 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-458-2012.
Chef Alberto Lazzarino, previously of Piccolo Ristorante in Venice Beach, has partnered with sommelier Giuseppe Cossu to open Melograno in the former home of Brasserie Les Voyous, naming their Hollywood restaurant after the Italian word for the pomegranate. Expect dishes like pappardelle with saffron, baby lobster tail, wild arugula, braised fennel and cherry tomatoes; wild black sea bass baked with mushrooms and vermouth; and for dessert, pumpkin flan with caramel sauce. Open Tues.-Thurs. from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. and Fri.-Sun. from 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Melograno, 6541 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-465-6650.
Jairo and Patty Gamba have opened D’Caché in Toluca Lake, specializing in Latin fusion cuisine and tapas. Executive chef Luis Ochoa, previously of nearby Eight-18, is preparing dishes like baby back ribs with onion rings and pasilla honey barbecue sauce; espresso-blackened salmon with roasted pimenton, potato puree, braised summer squash and pineapple beurre blanc; and pistachio pesto-marinated lamb chops with risotto and coconut lemongrass sauce. The restaurant is housed in a 1928 Spanish mission-style cottage with exposed wood beams, yellow walls and high-backed leather chairs. Open Tues.-Sat. from 5 p.m.-11 p.m. D’Cache, 10717 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake, 818-506-9600.
Bertha and Gunther Donoso opened Brownstone Pizzeria in Eagle Rock on October 13. Chef Richard Carrillo is producing New York-style pizza using fresh produce and toppings like meatball, sausage and pepperoni. Pizza is available in whole pie form or by the slice. Pasta dishes include baked ziti and cheese ravioli, and sandwiches cradle meatballs or sausage and peppers. So far, décor consists of an open kitchen, dark hardwood floors and granite tables. Open Mon.-Sat. from 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sun. from 1 p.m.-9 p.m. Brownstone Pizzeria, 2108 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock, 323-257-4992.
Chef Darren Weiss, who previously cooked locally at Rockenwagner and i Cugini, has opened Darren’s Restaurant & Bar in the former home of Avenue. Expect an American menu with Mediterranean and Asian accents, with potential menu items like Thai peanut- and chili-crusted wild salmon, sweet and spicy lobster coconut chowder and venison with root vegetables au gratin. The wine list features selections from California, France, New Zealand and Italy. Interior designer Sasha Emerson and color consultant Philippa Radon have remodeled the space to include blue, green and brown banquettes, dark wood floors and an outdoor seating area with a communal table. Open Tues.-Sat. for dinner, with a weeknight happy hour menu available from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. and late night dining Fri.-Sat. Darren’s Restaurant & Bar, 1141 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, 310-802-1973.
Armen Hakobyan has opened an intimate California bistro, Green Street Tavern, in Old Town Pasadena. Chef Michael Montoya is preparing dishes like a blue cheese tart with walnuts, balsamic vinegar and figs; seared paprika halibut with brussels sprouts and wild mushroom demi glace; and roast pork loin with caramelized parsnips, pineapple, bacon and macadamia nut relish. Open daily from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Green Street Tavern, 69 W. Green St., Pasadena, 626-229-9961.
In early 2008, New York restaurateur Phil Hartman plans to open a branch of his Two Boots pizzeria next to The Echo music club. Since the two boots represent Italy and Louisiana, pizzas will be available with Cajun options like tasso ham, andouille sausage and crawfish. There will also be po’ boy sandwiches, calzones and stromboli rolled with pairings like sopressata and mushrooms.
The new Arcadia branch of Genki Living is the third link of a Southern California chain of contemporary Japanese cafés. A red phone booth, bench seating, a central tree and wraparound photo wallpaper all help to depict an Osaka street scene. The menu centers around takoyaki–octopus-flecked balls of cooked batter; okonomiyaki–Japanese-style pancakes studded with seafood or bacon; and a wide variety of crepes, both sweet (red bean with green tea ice cream, Nutella and almond chips) and savory (ham and cheese, Japanese curried chicken). To drink, there are milk teas and fresh fruit juices. For dessert, expect fish-shaped waffles filled with ingredients like peanut butter or red bean. Open Sun.-Thurs. from 12 p.m.-10 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. from 12 p.m.-12 a.m. Genki Living, 651 W. Duarte Rd., Arcadia, 626-447-5116.
Andrew and Alexander Hong plan to open Seoul Bros., a contemporary Korean grill, in mid-December. Chef Eun Jeong has designed a menu featuring chicken marinated in spicy red pepper sauce, sliced rib-eye grilled with caramelized onions and pan-seared tofu served with soy sauce dressing. Each entrée comes with a choice of two panchan, dishes like pan-fried glass noodles, caramelized potatoes in a sweet soy glaze and spinach salad in sesame dressing with daikon. Seoul Bros., 851 Cordova St., Pasadena.
By mid-December, Susan Sarich plans to open a second branch of her Brentwood bakery, SusieCakes, across from the Commons at Calabasas. Expect a similar selection of baked goods and desserts, including red velvet cake, banana pudding and Whoopie pie. For Christmas, SusieCakes will prepare Yule logs and gingerbread houses. Around Valentine’s Day, they’ll make “love shacks.” Hours will be Mon.-Sat. from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. SusieCakes, 23653 Calabasas Road, Calabasas, 818-591-2223.
Naples native Bruno Morra and his wife Cinzia opened Brunello Trattoria on October 19, naming their restaurant for Bruno’s childhood nickname. Expect dishes like linguini with clams, mussels and shrimp in light marinara sauce; lasagna containing small meatballs, ricotta, mozzarella and tomato sauce; and homemade tiramisu. Bruno prepares Neapolitan-style pizzas, including the Quattro Stagnioni (four seasons), a quarter pie each of Margherita; olives, capers, oregano and olive oil; mushrooms, prosciutto and mozzarella; and artichokes with mozzarella. The space features chandeliers imported from Naples and a central bar. Open Mon.-Fri. from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Tues.-Sat from 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Sunday from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Brunello Trattoria, 6001 Washington Blvd., Culver City, 310-280-3856.
10th St. Café, operated by Santa Monica Seafood, has opened in a Wilshire Blvd. location that used to be a Carls Jr. The menu offers sandwiches, fish tacos and clam chowder, as well as grilled entrées of salmon, halibut and swordfish. Open Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 10th St. Café, 1000 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-255-0000.
Viet Tran has opened Viet Noodle Bar in Atwater Village, building on the success of his Viet Soy Café in Silver Lake. The initial menu features Banh Nam–rice flour pancakes with shrimp, shallots and green onion; Bun Ca Thi La–a noodle bowl with dill, turmeric and white fish; and Mit Tron–young jackfruit with tofu, shiitake mushrooms and sesame. To drink, there are homemade organic soy milks in flavors like mint and cinnamon, plus ginger longan tea and the C-Shot (sugar cane juice with lemon and cayenne pepper). Cash only. Open daily from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Viet Noodle Bar, 3133 Glendale Blvd. Atwater Village, 323-906-1575.
Paperfish, located in the space formerly occupied by Maple Drive in Beverly Hills, is now open for lunch on weekdays. The contemporary seafood restaurant is helmed by chef and restaurateur Joachim Splichal (Patina, eat. on sunset) and executive chef Yianni Koufodontis. The restaurant takes its name from a small rare tropical fish, but the term “Paperfish” also refers to the French technique of cooking fish en papillote, wrapped in parchment paper with vegetables and herbs then baked. As inspired by the name, several dishes will be prepared in this way and served tableside. Joachim Splichal’s California-French style will also shine through in entrées like steamed turbot with dried fruit couscous and eggplant-oxtail tangine when the restaurant opens for dinner on January 7. Until then, guests can enjoy smaller plates and cocktails served in the lounge on weeknights. Open for lunch Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; lounge hours are 2 p.m.-8 p.m. Open for dinner Mon.-Sat. starting January 7. Paperfish, 345 N. Maple Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-858-6030.
Building on their in-house L.A. Desserts operation, the owners of The Ivy have opened Dolce Isola, a South Robertson bakery and café. Options include country breads with walnuts and raisins or Emmentaler Swiss cheese, blueberry tea scones, carrot cupcakes and sandwiches filled with Capri meatballs, imported prosciutto or mozzarella di bufala. Homemade gelato and sorbet can be found in flavors like praline and mango. Key lime pies and chocolate truffle tortes are baked to order. There are even jars of fresh mango chutney and blackberry jam. Dolce Isola, 2869 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-776-7070.
Former Figaro Brasserie proprietor Salvatore Garamella opened Mes Amis Restaurant in Los Feliz Village on November 8, occupying half of the former Tiger Lily space. Expect polished French dishes like prosciutto-wrapped monkfish with sautéed shiitake mushrooms, roasted parsnips and piperade sauce; rabbit prepared three ways with endive, figs, couscous and balsamic gastrique; and grilled scallops with seared foie gras and lobster bisque sauce. Open Thurs.-Mon. from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sat.-Sun. from 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Mes Amis Restaurant, 1739 North Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, 323-665-7810.
Jason Feld and managing partner Kat Johnson have transformed Security Pacific Bank into The Bank Heist, containing a ground floor restaurant and second level nightclub. Chef de cuisine Jorge Gruener is preparing an eclectic menu, including Jamaican jerk shrimp with green papaya salad and habanero pepper mayo, ancho-crusted salmon with squash noodles and yellow mole sauce, gaucho steak with chimichurri sauce, and for dessert, fried cheesecake with chocolate sauce. Open for lunch Mon.-Fri. from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., dinner nightly at 5 p.m., and weekend brunch from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The Bank Heist, 5303 N. Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-760-1648.
Joe Vitale has opened a branch of his Greenwich Village institution, Joe’s Pizza, near the Third Street Promenade. There are six pizza pies, including white, Sicilian, fresh mozzarella and Caprese. You can also buy pizza by the slice or combine toppings like meatball, eggplant, artichoke and sausage. Open Sun.-Thurs. from 10 a.m.-midnight and Fri.-Sat. from 10 a.m.-3 a.m. Joe’s Pizza, 111 Broadway, Santa Monica, 310-395-9222.
David Sanfield and Paul Hibler have opened a third branch of Pit Fire Pizza Company in Westwood, following up on their success in North Hollywood and downtown. Expect a similar selection of seasonal panini, pastas and thin-crust pizzas. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Pit Fire Pizza Company, 2018 Westwood Blvd., Westwood, 310-481-9860.
Royale owner Tony Jones opened French brasserie Mode on Halloween in downtown’s Fashion District, offering 24/7 service. The stylish space features a 40-foot runway for impromptu fashion shows and a small patio. Chef Eric Ernest, also of Royale, offers three different menus, depending on the time of day. The breakfast/late night menu includes flat iron steak and eggs with a potato cake and brioche French toast with cinnamon and nutmeg. At lunch, expect french onion soup with Gruyère and a Croque Madame. Dinner incorporates lamb osso bucco with parsnip purée and cippolini onions and seared albacore steak with bok choy and soy-ginger sauce. Desserts include profiteroles with Valrhona chocolate, a pineapple tart Tatin and huckleberry sorbet. Mode, 916 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, 213-627-4888.
Joseph Cordova opened The Best Fish Taco in Ensenada next to a Los Feliz auto repair shop in September, offering just two items: Baja-style fish and shrimp tacos. Cordova lightly fries basa, a farm-raised white fish. To dress the tacos, there’s a well-stocked salsa bar with radish relish, “Pineapple Kiss,” avocado salsa, “Mango Less,” shredded cabbage and “Crema Magica.” Open Tues.-Sun. from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. The Best Fish Taco in Ensenada, 1650 N. Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles.
Chef Christopher Bocchino and his wife, pastry chef Kristine, have opened Terra in the former Lino space. Expect dishes like a warm Gorgonzola tart, sage-marinated chicken with Brussels sprouts and potato puree, grilled flat-iron steak with french fries, and for dessert, caramel cheesecake with fleur de sel. Open for dinner Tues.-Sun. at 6 p.m. Terra, 21337 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu, 310-456-1221.The Skaf family have opened Skaf’s Lebanese Cuisine, a fashionable sit-down version of their North Hollywood original. Expect an expanded menu that includes lentil soup with Swiss chard and onions; pan-seared frog legs with lemon juice, garlic and spices; grilled rib-eye, ground beef and shrimp kebabs; beef or chicken shawarma; and baklava for dessert. Open Mon.-Sat. from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Skaf’s Lebanese Cuisine, 367 N. Chevy Chase Dr., Glendale, 818-551-5540.
Sona chef-owner David Myers has debuted Comme Ça in the former Noura Cafe space, with chef de cuisine Michael David sharing his kitchen. The modern French brasserie features hors d’oeuvres like hand-cut steak tartare and roasted beef marrow with oxtail jam, toast and fleur de sel. Entrées include moules frites, coq au vin and duck confit with braised red cabbage and spaetzle. There are also daily specials: roasted chicken for two on Monday, choucroute garni on Wednesday and pork belly on Saturday. Desserts are provided by Boule patisserie. Think Meyer lemon tarts and brioche pudding. Open for dinner nightly, with lunch to come October 29 and breakfast expected in November. Comme Ça, 8479 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, 323-782-1178.
In November, restaurateur Ken Oyadomari plans to open Yamato Westwood in the former Eurochow space, naming his Japanese restaurant for an ancient word for Japan. Executive chef Toshi Tamba, previously with Okada at Wynn Las Vegas, and executive sushi chef Katsu Hanamure, formerly of Matsuhisa, will partner on an innovative yet affordable menu. YT Design, a New York-based architecture firm, will showcase 30-foot ceilings, a saké wall and ebony tabletops. The restaurant will be open daily for lunch and dinner. Yamato Westwood, 1099 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles.
Following up on the success of the Boyle Heights original, Patricia Zarate and Father Greg Boyle have expanded their Homegirl Café concept to downtown Los Angeles, continuing their mission to employ former gang members to provide them with an alternative means of earning a living. The café produces fresh sourdough and raisin walnut bread, salads and sandwiches like Yuyu’s Sandwich, with turkey, dulce de mango and chipotle. There are also entrées such as chicken with Rosa’s mole sauce, whitefish with sautéed peppers and tacos filled with carnitas or chicharrones. To drink, Angela’s Green Potion contains lemonade, mint and spinach. Homegirl Cafe, 130 W. Bruno St., Los Angeles, 323-526-1254.
Paperfish will open in November in the space formerly occupied by Maple Drive in Beverly Hills. The contemporary seafood restaurant will be helmed by chef and restaurateur Joachim Splichal (Patina, eat. on sunset) and executive chef Yianni Koufodontis. The restaurant takes its name from a small rare tropical fish, but the term “Paperfish” also refers to the French technique of cooking fish en papillote, wrapped in parchment paper with vegetables and herbs then baked. As inspired by the name, several dishes will be prepared in this way and served tableside. Joachim Splichal’s California-French style will also shine through in entrées like steamed turbot with dried fruit couscous and eggplant-oxtail tangine; pan-roasted halibut with chanterelle mushrooms, cranberry beans and mascarpone emulsion; and sautéed skate wing with sunchoke puree, white wine, golden raisins, pine nuts and preserved lemon. Open for lunch and private parties by the end of November and dinner in early January. Paperfish, 345 N. Maple Dr., Beverly Hills.
Rick Huschitt, Toby Donnelly and Tomas Rivera have opened 15 in the former Echo Park home of Café La Paz, naming their comfort food restaurant for a shared lucky number. Mr. Rivera and Alex Eusebio are a chef tandem producing dishes like the Echo Chopped Salad with seven vegetables, romaine, feta and lemon-sherry vinaigrette; Merlot-braised beef short ribs with horseradish and sour cream mashed potatoes; and rose-infused crème brûlée. Open Wed.-Sat. from 5 p.m.-10:30 p.m. 15, 1320 Echo Park Blvd., Los Angeles, 213-481-0454.
Shin-Sen-Gumi, a small chain of Japanese restaurants named for a historical Samurai group, has opened a sleek new outpost in the San Gabriel Valley. Expect a hybrid of their yakitori and shabu shabu concepts, with a panoply of grilled chicken parts and shabu shabu pots containing beef, tripe and other ingredients. There are also fried and raw dishes, plus a well-rounded saké list. Open from 6 p.m.-11 p.m. daily. Shin-Sen-Gumi, 111 N. Atlantic Blvd., Monterey Park, 626-943-7956
Miranda McGill opened Flore Vegan in the former Prasadam space in mid August, naming her wheat- and gluten-free Silver Lake establishment in honor of the French word for “vegetation.” At breakfast, expect cranberry-walnut French toast with tempeh bacon, apple-cinnamon oatmeal and Tofu Benediction: sliced tofu, tomato, kale and avocado on toasted batard, smothered in Hollandaise sauce. For lunch and dinner, consider the grapefruit, avocado and fennel salad with lime dressing; the black bean Flore Burger with thousand island dressing; or the Tempeh Tu-No Melt with tempeh salad, alfalfa sprouts and cashew cheese on six-grain bread. To drink, an organic juice bar has options like The Tonic: a mix of grapefruit, kale, apple and lemon. House-baked desserts include carrot cake, blueberry cheesecake and cupcakes. Open Tues.-Fri. from 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sat.-Sun. from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3 p.m.-9 p.m. Flore Vegan, 3818 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-953-0611.
Jay Choi, who already owns Blue Fish in Montrose, has opened Japanese restaurant Tani in Old Town Pasadena. Chef Eddie Chen is producing a range of sushi, sashimi and rolls, plus signature fusion dishes like the Tani Special Salad with clam, scallop, shrimp and surf clam in lemon-yuzu dressing; Alaskan King crab legs in a miso-ginger glaze; and Kobe beef with foie gras and shrimp with Shiitake butter sauce and Osetra caviar. Open Mon.-Thurs. from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. from 12 pm.-11:30 p.m. and Sun. from 12 p.m.-10 p.m. Tani, 58 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-578-9493.
Kazuto Matsusaka and wife Vicki Fan have opened The Point near their other Culver City restaurant, Beacon. Specializing in “fresh food for people on the go,” The Point’s breakfast options include fresh-baked muffins and breads; an Italian omelette with tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and basil; and an “inside out” breakfast wrap with hash browns, Nueske bacon and cheddar. For lunch and dinner, expect “contemporary classics” like Mandarin chicken salad, “custom crafted salads,” a wrap filled with ancho chili chicken salad and a panini containing roasted turkey, Brie, oven-roasted tomatoes and basil aïoli. For dessert, there are “sweet treats” like Key lime pie, Rochelle’s butterscotch pudding and a “cupcake of the moment.” Open Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sat. from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. The Point, 8522 National Blvd., Culver City, 310-836-8400.
Flip McDonald opened Uncle Flip's Smoke Pit on August 4. Flip has been smoking meats for forty years and specializes in sandwiches filled with Niman Ranch pulled pork and BBQ Kobe-style beef. He also offers St. Louis cut pork spare ribs, dirty rice, maque choux (a Creole corn casserole containing macaroni and cheese) and specials like double-smoked turkey breast. For dessert, expect fresh watermelon, house-made banana cake and peanut pralines. Uncle Flip’s Smoke Pit, 4715 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-980-7427.
Phil and Carmen Castenada have transformed Xiomara restaurant into Mojitos Restaurant and Rum Bar. New executive chef Robert Humphrey has built a Cuban menu with appetizers like spicy duck ropa vieja with a Manchego cheese corn cake and achiote grilled prawns served over white bean hummus. Entrées are highlighted by wild New Zealand snapper with sautéed squash and fava beans, citrus mojo and green papaya-mango slaw; filet mignon with butternut squash hash and roasted chili-pearl onion demi-glaze; and Creole Cuban fried rice with rock shrimp, pork and ham, topped with avocado and fried plantains. To drink, there are still mojitos, made using sugar cane juice, squeezed fresh at the bar. Mojitos Restaurant and Rum Bar, 69 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, 626-796-2520.
Steve Adelman has launched Lift at the base of the Hillview Apartments. At breakfast, expect seasonal and organic options like oatmeal crème brûlée with agave or maple syrup, Oregon blueberry pancakes or build-your-own frittata. For lunch, consider the Lift Salad with baby beets, Sweet 100 tomatoes, heirloom radish and sherry vinaigrette; tuna panini with tapenade, hard-cooked egg, Reggiano and aïoli; and for dessert, house-baked lemon tarts and Weiser Farms carrot cake. During weekend brunch, enticing dishes include lobster macaroni and cheese and Sonoma duck confit hash with poached eggs and chive oil. Open Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. and Sat.-Sun. from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The restaurant will add dinner on October 5 and eventually offer late night dining. Lift, 6531 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323-469-1848.
Paulette Koumetz has opened Paulette, the city’s only shop singularly devoted to the French macaron. Pastry chef Christophe Michalak is preparing flavors like Caribbean Chocolate, Colombian Coffee, Earl Grey and New Orleans Praline. Macarons cost $1.50 each. The modern space was designed by Andrea Lenardin Madden, who also designed nearby Sprinkles. Open Mon.-Sat. from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Paulette, 9466 Charleville Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-275-0023.
Cosimo Mammoliti has partnered with Shereen Arazm to transform the former Authentic Café into Terroni, an Italian restaurant that’s built a following in Toronto since 1992. Chef Fabio Moro, imported from Bologna, Italy, will prepare thin-crust pizzas, house-made pastas, sandwiches, salads, fresh fish, meats and sweet desserts. Partner-manager Max Stefanelli has created a wine list featuring over 200 bottles. There will also be a gourmet shop for customers to take home wines, cheeses, spices and Italian ceramics. Terroni is expected to open by late October. Hours will be Sun.-Thurs. from 9 a.m.-12 a.m., and Fri.-Sat. from 9 a.m.-1 a.m. Terroni, 7605 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles.
Eduardo Rallo and wife Sylvia have opened Amaranta Cocina Mexicana at the redesigned Westfield Topanga Mall. Regional Mexican dishes include the couple's signature chicken enchiladas topped with mole Poblano, Michoacán-style marinated carnitas, and, for dessert, churros filled with Bavarian crème. To drink, expect 400 varieties of 100% Blue Agave tequila and a selection of margaritas, including pomegranate, mango and blood orange. Gregory Roth has designed the space, which features sumptuous booths and a pink, burgundy and blond wood color palette. Open daily for lunch and dinner and for weekend brunch. Amaranta Cocina Mexicana, 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park, 818-610-3599.
After more than 16 years in its West Hollywood location, La Boheme will re-open its doors as Café La Boheme on October 15. Famed restaurant designer Margaret O’Brien has transformed the look of the restaurant to reflect a more relaxed vibe and has added more private booths and new paintings while keeping the original chandeliers. Executive chef Christine Banta is still guiding the kitchen, and her new menu will include dishes like chicken breast with whole grain mustard sauce and baby vegetables with garlic mashed potatoes; miso-glazed salmon with hon shimeji bamboo rice and spinach sauce; roasted beets with avocado, smoked trout and carrot ginger vinaigrette; and a 55-day dry-aged steak. In addition to the menu and design changes, the bar has been expanded and will offer a ‘snack menu’ featuring smaller portions off the main menu. Sun.-Thurs. 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat., 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Café La Boheme, 8400 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-848-2360.
Bistro Ka is a stylish new Cal-Japanese restaurant on the second floor of the reinvigorated Westfield Topanga mall. Executive chef James Hong is turning out dishes like Rainbow Carpaccio–thinly sliced tuna, albacore, whitefish and salmon with sizzling yuzu vinaigrette; Teppan-Yaki Prawn & Scallop with ginger beurre blanc; green tea noodles; a wide selection of sushi, rolls and sashimi; and for dessert, tempura ice cream. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Bistro Ka, 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd, #2010A, Canoga Park, 818-340-1300.
Jason Bauer, wife Mia, and Harley Bauer have thrown down the cupcake gauntlet by opening the first West Coast outpost of Crumbs just two blocks from Sprinkles. Expect 25 varieties of cupcakes per day, including chocolate-peanut butter, Key lime, red velvet and apple-caramel. There are also non-cake items such as brownies, scones and pies. The bakery opens weekdays at 8 a.m. and weekends at 9 a.m. and remains open Sun.-Thurs. until 10 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. until 11 p.m. Crumbs, 9465 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-550-9811.
David Reiss, who recently opened The Del in Playa del Rey, has launched The Alibi Room in Culver City. Chef Matt Tymoszewicz, who also oversees the food at The Del, is turning out a small menu of bar food, including buttermilk-fried chicken oysters with honey mustard; a “Prime” Philly cheese steak with onions, mushrooms and either Cheese Whiz or American cheese; and “The Alibi Butter Burger” with lettuce, tomato, American cheese and shallot butter. The triangle-shaped property features a fireplace and a back patio. To drink, order The Caucasian, a name for a White Russian that originated in “The Big Lebowski.” The bar is currently open Mon.-Sat. from 6 p.m.-2 a.m., but will eventually open on Sundays, and possibly for lunch. The Alibi Room, 12236 West Washington Blvd., Culver City, 310-390-9300.
Bastide is back, having reopened on September 7 with a new look and new cuisine from executive chef Walter Manzke, previously at Patina in Los Angeles and Bouchée in Carmel. His ever-changing menu features local and “non-controversial” ingredients, and may include bento boxes, Thai street food, pasta and cheeses. A wine list composed by Pieter Verheyde complements the Modern European cuisine with selections from around the world. Complimentary valet parking is available. Open Tues.-Sat. from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Bastide, 8475 Melrose Place, Los Angeles, 323-651-5950.
David Reiss, who owns The Brig and Beechwood with Jeffrey Best, has opened The Del in the former home of La Marina Inn. Chef Matt Tymoszewicz is preparing dishes like blue crab and cilantro salad with avocado and fried green tomatoes; pistachio-crusted chicken breast with patty pan squash, green onions and sherry gastrique; and for dessert, sour cream donuts with strawberry jelly and coffee gelato. A bar area features ‘60s-style metallic wallpaper, twin fireplaces, a black oak floor and nine flat screens that show sporting events. By the end of September, The Del will expand with a dining room and later follow that with the opening of a mammoth patio. The Del, 119 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey, 310-823-6800.
Nadav Bashan, who could previously be found in the kitchens of Michael’s and Providence, launched Bashan Restaurant on September 8 in the former home of Bistro Verdu. Chef Bashan prepares Cal-French dishes like Prince Edward Island mussels with bacon, tomatoes and white wine; lemon-thyme roasted halibut with hummus, grilled eggplant, piperade and beet jus; New York steak with Maui onion puree, baby carrots, sweet potato and plum tartare; and for dessert, an espresso panna cotta with dulce de leche and a cocoa nib cookie. Open Tues.-Sun. from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Bashan Restaurant, 3459 N. Verdugo Rd., Glendale, 818-541-1532.
On September 24, husband and wife team Chris and Julie Bennett opened Melrose Bar & Grill in the former Doug Arango’s space on the famed west end of Melrose Avenue. The pair sought to create a comfortable and casual atmosphere reminiscent of the neighborhood grills Chris recalls from his New York upbringing. The menu reflects California seasonal cooking as well as that hearty New York sensibility with dishes like thin crust pizzas, a duck burger with Gouda cheese and cherry ketchup, and Alsatian-style pork chop cider-brined and served with house-cured sauerkraut. To keep customers coming back for more, all items are priced under $25. A chalkboard displays ever-changing specials which could include raw fish appetizers, fish and meat entrees, a Maui Beef Burger, and chowder, as well as a selection of cheeses and desserts. Partner and wine director Robert Evans has compiled a wine program offering a user-friendly “Short List” as well as a “Reserve List” with more than 600 selections. International beers and classic cocktails are also available. Melrose Bar & Grill, 8826 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood.
Chef Antonio Mure, who co-owns Piccolo Ristorante and La Botte Ristorante with Stefano de Lorenzo, has opened Il Carpaccio, naming his latest Italian restaurant for the thin-sliced raw beef dish. Mure prepares his carpaccio with filet mignon, mustard dressing and shaved Parmigiano cheese. Other options include pizza topped with sautéed porcini mushrooms, lamb chops served with red wine and mustard sauce and black ink tagliolini sautéed with Dungeness crab, roasted garlic and white wine sauce. Open Fri.-Sun. for lunch and for dinner nightly. Il Carpaccio, 538 Palisades Dr., Pacific Palisade, 310-573-1411.
Chef Roberto Amico, previously at Clafoutis, Café Midi and Mulholland Grill, has opened Bella Roma SPQR with wife Lisa, naming their Italian café for the historic Latin phrase Senatus Populusque Romanus ("The Senate and the Roman People”). Expect options like the capricciosa pizza with sausage, olives and hard-boiled egg; a variety of Italian sandwiches filled with Italian meats and cheeses; handmade pastas; New York steak with black peppercorn cognac sauce; and for dessert, chocolate-coated cannoli. Open Tues.-Fri. for lunch and Tues.-Sun. for dinner. Bella Roma SPQR, 1513 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-277-7662.
Sommelier Francine Diamond and Ca’ del Sole executive chef Soerke Peters have opened Froma on Melrose, a high-end deli featuring charcuterie, cheeses, chocolates, pastas, fresh fruit and panini. Open Mon.- Sat. from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sun. from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Froma on Melrose, 7960 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323-653-3700.
Gloria Felix, formerly chef at Blair’s Restaurant, A.O.C. and Jar, has teamed with Elizabeth Belkind, previously a pastry chef at Campanile and Grace. The duo intends to open reservoir in the former home of Netty’s in November. The market-driven restaurant will be open Tues.-Fri. for breakfast and lunch, Tues.-Sun. for dinner, and Sat.-Sun. for brunch. reservoir, 1700 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-662-8655.
Yuzando opened this summer in the former Sushi Tenn space. Chef Hideo Sueyoshi, previously of Hatsuhana in Manhattan, prepares an extensive list of sushi and rolls, plus small plates like smoked salmon carpaccio with mustard vinaigrette, Kobe beef “diced steak” with Marsala sauce and sautéed shrimp with butter-soy sauce. Open Mon.-Fri. from 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m. and nightly from 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Yuzando, 2004 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-473-2388.
Juan Sola Jr. and Reg MacDonald have launched Tinto in the old Hunter’s bar space, specializing in traditional Spanish cuisine. Chef Justo Vincent, who worked at famed Spanish restaurant El Bulli, is preparing dishes like langoustines sautéed with onions, cold rabbit escabeche salad with endive and carrots and duck breast with pears poached in Priorat wine. For dessert, think rice pudding or a warm almond and Sherry tart. Tinto, which means “red” as in red wine, serves only wine and beer. Open Sun.-Thurs. from 6 p.m.-midnight and Fri.-Sat. from 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Tinto, 7511 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-512-3095.
Paolo Giovani, previously of Il Sole and Solare, has opened Nonna in the former Joss space on Sunset Blvd. Expect Italian dishes like linguine with “giant” Hawaiian shrimp in spicy tomato sauce; thin-crust pizza with burrata and fresh-chopped tomatoes; and Dover sole sautéed with clarified butter and lemon, filleted tableside. Open for lunch Mon.-Fri. from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and for dinner Mon.-Sat. from 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Nonna, 9255 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-270-4455.A second branch of renowned Tustin izakaya, Honda-Ya, opened on August 20 in Little Tokyo. The near-encyclopedic Japanese small-plates menu includes deep-fried, broiled, grilled and stewed dishes, plus sushi, sashimi, ramen and salads. Open Tues.-Sun. from 5:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Honda-Ya, 333 S. Alameda St., Los Angeles, 213-625-1184.
Colleen Standish and husband Jim have launched Lark Cake Shop in Silver Lake. Offerings include red velvet cake, honeyed apple torte, ginger scones, Mexican wedding cookies and Colleen’s salted caramel cupcakes. Open Tues.-Thurs. from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Fri.-Sat. from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sun. from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Lark Cake Shop, 3337 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-667-2968.Former Mayor Richard Riordan has transformed the bakery next to his diner The Original Pantry Café into Riordan's Tavern. The traditional American menu features blue crab cakes with spicy remoulade; cold water Australian lobster tail with lemon and melted butter; Prime filet mignon, porterhouse and New York steak; and a daily “carver,” slow-roasted beef, lamb, ham or turkey, available as a sandwich on a choice of fresh-baked bread. Open daily from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Riordan’s Tavern, 875 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, 213-627-6879.
Al's Flying Garage, a diner named for a mythical World War II airplane mechanic, has replaced Munchkins as the in-house restaurant at the Culver Hotel. For breakfast, expect green eggs and ham, the option to "build your own omelet," and pancakes, French toast or waffles with chocolate chips or bananas Foster. For lunch and dinner, there are sliders with pickles and thousand island dressing; blackened chicken salad with tomatoes, avocado, cheese and bacon; and macaroni and cheese. For dessert, expect shakes, malts and root beer floats. Open Sun.-Thurs. from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. from 7 a.m.-midnight. Al's Flying Garage, 9400 Culver Blvd., Culver City, 310-842-9400.
Gabe Byer and Ryan Ballinger, previously with The Edendale Grill, opened The York in the former Wild Hare space on July 12, envisioning "Highland Park's neighborhood gastropub." To eat, expect truffle grilled cheese with tomato salad; chicken wings with Serrano ham, cilantro, lime and honey; a cheddar burger with spicy harissa aïoli, pickled onion and rocket; blackened catfish with remoulade and corn; and for dessert, peach cobbler with oatmeal crust. There are also weekly specials like baby back ribs with Asian slaw. Open daily from 5 p.m.-2 a.m. The York, 5018 York Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-255-9675.
Gabe Byer and Ryan Ballinger, previously with Edendale Grill, opened The York in the former Wild Hare space on July 12, envisioning "Highland Park's neighborhood gastropub." To eat, expect truffle grilled cheese with tomato salad; chicken wings with Serrano ham, cilantro, lime and honey; a cheddar burger with spicy harissa aïoli, pickled onion and rocket; blackened catfish with remoulade and corn; and for dessert, peach cobbler with oatmeal crust. There are also weekly specials like baby back ribs with Asian slaw. Open daily from 5 p.m.-2 a.m. The York, 5018 York Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-255-9675.
Ritual Restaurant & Night Club is a new restaurant and club in the former White Lotus space, featuring a candlelit patio and wooden dance floor. Andrew Pastore, previously at Pig ‘n Whistle, Cabana Club and White Lotus, prepares Pacific Rim dishes like shrimp ceviche marinated in chili and truffled yuzu lime juice; sesame-crusted halibut filet with Kaffir lime, coconut sticky rice and sautéed bok choy; and pork tenderloin with garlic-potato purée, pineapple salsa and spinach curry reduction. For dessert, try the “Holy Trinity of Cupcakes”–red velvet, candied lemon and chocolate chip. Open Tues.-Sat. at 6 p.m. Ritual, 1743 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood, 323-463-0060.
Tiffini Soforenko, husband Nik Soforenko and Brogan Faye have opened a second branch of their successful Burbank bakery, Yummy Cupcakes. Just like at the original, cupcakes are featured in flavors like brown sugar-cinnamon, chocolate-raspberry and red velvet. There’s even a "Yummy Cupcake" with three types of melted chocolate, pink vanilla cream and dark chocolate sprinkles. Open daily at 11 a.m. Yummy Cupcakes, 313 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-393-8283.
Building on the success of Pizzeria Mozza, culinary heavyweights Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich have opened Osteria Mozza, the more ambitious of their adjacent Italian establishments. Dishes include spaghetti with clams, pancetta and Fresno chile pesto; grilled lamb “scottadita” with insalata di fregola sarda and yogurt; and whole grilled orata wrapped in fig leaf with olio nuovo. Nancy Silverton commands a central mozzarella bar, preparing cheese-based creations like burrata with asparagus, hazelnuts, brown butter and guanciale; and bufala mozzarella with pesto, salsa romesco, tapenade and caperberry relish. The kitchen is open Mon.-Sat. from 5:30 p.m.-midnight. Osteria Mozza, 6602 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323-297-0100.
Following the success of Katsuya in Brentwood, SBE Restaurant & Nightlife Group has announced the imminent arrival of Katsuya Hollywood. Set to open in September 2007, Katsuya Hollywood continues the creative collaboration of master sushi chef Katsuya Uechi and celebrated designer Philippe Starck. “We are incredibly pleased with the success of our first Katsuya in Brentwood,” commented SBE Entertainment CEO Sam Nazarian. “With Katsuya Hollywood, we’re turning up the edginess quotient a bit in line with that neighborhood, while offering the same unwavering Katsuya standards of quality and service.” These two locations will be joined by even more Katsuya outposts over the next two years, both in the Los Angeles area and beyond. The Hollywood restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Katsuya Hollywood, 6300 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Reservations will be available beginning in late August.
Michael Leko and Will Shamlian have opened Library Bar downtown. Noted mixologist and sommelier Peter Birmingham, currently with Il Grano, has developed a cocktail list that utilizes top-shelf spirits, house-made syrups, sour mix and fresh-squeezed pomegranate, blueberry and pineapple juices. Beer sommelier Christina Perozzi has assembled a list of 29 brews, including Old Rasputin Imperial Stout and Belgium’s Delirium Tremens. Food is available from next door’s Wolfgang Puck Café, including spicy chicken pizza, a rotisserie beef and Gorgonzola pocket and a California turkey hero, all delivered to your stool or table. The space features a wall-to-wall library, vintage cash registers, a retro jukebox and an antler chandelier. Open Mon.-Fri. from 3 p.m.-2 a.m. and Fri.-Sat. from 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Library Bar, 630 W. 6th St., Los Angeles, 213-614-0053.
Sudesh Sood and daughter Nikki Sood have opened Tanzore, an upscale Indian restaurant, in the former home of Gaylord Indian Restaurant on La Cienega’s Restaurant Row. Executive chef Gautam Chaudhry, formerly at 360° Restaurant at the Oberoi Hotel in New Delhi, India, is turning out dishes like seared scallops dressed in vodka-citrus vinaigrette with blood orange segments and palm hearts; seared yellow fin tuna with toasted coriander, avocado raita and tuna tartare; spiced Goan crab cakes with mustard seeds, curry leaves and crab chutney; and for dessert, a pluot-plum frangipane tart, served with a spiced citrus plum shooter. Sat Garg, who designed Tantra in Silver Lake, led the modern makeover. Dinner is served daily from 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m., with a bar menu available from 4:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Tanzore, 50 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-652-3838.
Nearly nine months after an electrical fire shut it down, Ca’Brea opens its doors for lunch and dinner on July 19. Owner and chef Antonio Tommasi is relieved the lengthy process of building inspections and approvals is finally over. “I am so happy to be able to cook again in my restaurant in a beautiful new kitchen,” Tommasi reports. The renovations include the newly named Marco Polo Lounge & Bar, opening later this summer, as well as the offering of afternoon “small bites” snacks and coffee on the patio. Ca’Brea, 346 S. La Brea Ave., 323-938-2863.
Richard Makinadjian opened Salades de Provence on June 23 in the former Empanada's Place space, featuring the same menu as his cousin’s long-running restaurant in the south of France. Salads include L’Assiette de la Ferme, with roasted chicken breast, fried potatoes and breaded goat cheese; L’Assiette Cezanne, featuring Saint Marcelin cheese, rosemary, smoked duck breast, fried potatoes, candied raisins and Provençal honey; and L'Assiette Des Calanques, with marinated wild octopus, grilled peppers and anise-flavored olive oil. There are also quiches, crepes and for dessert, tarte tatin and white cheese yogurt with Provençal honey and shaved almonds. To drink, Café Richard coffee and Mariage Frères tea, both imported from France, are available. Open daily from 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Salades de Provence, 1040 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-666-8367.
Lili and Cecil Kim launched Liliya China Bistro in downtown’s Higgins Building, featuring Korean and Chinese food in sleek confines. Expect dishes like black bean noodles with pork and stir-fried squash, rib-eye or pork bulgogi, honey-glazed walnut shrimp and beef short ribs, marinated in soy and ginger. Open Mon.-Sat. for lunch and dinner. Liliya China Bistro, 108 W. Second St. #102-103, Los Angeles, 213-620-1717.
Adolfo Suaya and Michael Sutton, owners of The Lodge Steakhouse and Charcoal, plan to open Goa along the sizzling Cahuenga corridor at the end of August. The two-story Indian-themed restaurant and club is named for the Indian state of Goa. Chef Ted Fujita, from Yu-N-Mi sushi restaurant in Beverly Hills, will oversee a Japanese menu specializing in sashimi and robata. Goa, 1615 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood.
Capitalizing on the recent relocation of talent agencies CAA and ICM to Century City, Tom Colicchio has opened Craft Los Angeles at the corner of Constellation Blvd. and Avenue of the Stars soon. Matthew Accarrino, recently of Craftsteak, is chef de cuisine. The seasonal, market-driven menu is much like the one at the Manhattan original. Craft, 10100 Constellation Blvd., Century City.
Chef Suzanne Tracht of Jar opened her own eponymous restaurant, Tracht’s, on July 7 at the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel. The restaurant is part of an $11 million renovation to the hotel and features 30-foot-high windows and a sleek bar with a glass-encased, temperature-controlled wine cellar boasting 1,100 bottles. Tracht's menu includes many of the signature steaks, roasts and braised foods from the Jar menu, along with Tracht's market-inspired appetizers, salads and sides. Leading the kitchen is chef de cuisine Jessica Alexander, former sous chef of Studio at the Montage Resort & Spa in Laguna Beach. Tracht’s, 111 East Ocean Blvd., Long Beach.
Bar Hayama had its official grand opening on July 7. Executive sushi chef Toshi Sugiura is the founder of the California Sushi Academy, the first sushi school outside of Japan. Sushi is the focus, of course, but patrons can also find kozara (small plates) and an extensive sake list. Bar Hayama, 1803 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-235-2000.
Pink Taco has brought its suggestive name and Mexican cuisine to Los Angeles. With locations already in Scottsdale and Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Pink Taco has set up shop on the upper level of the Westfield Century City. Lunch and dinner are served daily, including the chain’s namesake panuchos (pink tacos)–pink corn tortillas topped with refried beans, grilled chicken, house salsa and pickled onions. Pink Taco, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-789-1000.
Wolfgang Puck, celebrity chef-owner of Spago Beverly Hills and CUT, has opened Red Seven on the ground floor of the Pacific Design Center’s Green building. Puck chose the name because it’s the seventh restaurant he’s opened in Los Angeles, seven is a lucky number, and it’s the year 2007. Chef de cuisine Yoshinori Kojima is preparing seasonal Asian-influenced dishes like crispy calamari with Thai basil and red curry vinaigrette; Chinese chicken salad with cashews and sesame mustard dressing; whole wok-fried sea bass for two; and sushi and sashimi market specials. Martin Vahtra designed the contemporary space. Open Mon.-Fri. from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Red Seven, 700 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-289-1587.
Richie Palmer has opened Burger 90210 in the former Solar Harvest space. There are seven signature burgers made with a choice of beef, turkey or veggie patties. The list includes the 90210 Royale–sautéed onions, American cheese and special “90210” sauce; the Texas Burger–chili, raw onion and cheddar; and the Tapenade Burger–sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, tapenade and goat cheese. There’s also the option to “build your own” with toppings like Gouda, wasabi mayo or fried eggs for your personal burger. For non burger-lovers, there are hot dogs, grilled sandwiches, onion rings and chili cheese fries. Open Mon.-Fri. from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sun. from 12 p.m.-9 p.m. Burger 90210, 242 S. Beverly Dr. Beverly Hills, 310-271-7900.
Celeste Fierro and Erica Cohen, owners of One Little West 12th and STK in Manhattan, have opened One Sunset on the Sunset Strip. The restaurant and lounge features four separate spaces with Spanish and North African touches. Executive chef Christopher Ennis, previously at Vibrato Grill Jazz...etc., is turning out New American dishes like ahi carpaccio with green tea soba noodles and grated Asian pear; Szechuan seared sea scallops with a potato-parsnip pancake and caramelized green apple; coffee and molasses braised short rib sopes; and wild mushroom pizza with arugula and truffle. The resident DJs are Michelle Pesce, DJ Tendaji and DJ Mi$ter Best. Open nightly from 5:30 p.m.–1 a.m. One Sunset, 8730 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-657-0111.
Mia Sushi owner Rudy Martinez has opened Marty’s, a contemporary fusion restaurant named for his son, in Highland Park. Chef Robert Zaldana, previously of The Restaurant at The Getty Center, is producing dishes like the Kobe beef burger, macaroni and cheese made with Gruyère, Brie and fresh mozzarella; cut-to-order steak tartare; and crispy calamari with tempura batter and homemade tomato chutney. There are no desserts yet. Open Mon.-Sat. from 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Marty’s, 5137 York Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-256-2400.
Zu Robata is a new Japanese restaurant in the old Casa Antigua space in West L.A., specializing in food cooked on a Binchotan charcoal grill, which emits very little smoke. Chef Ricardo Zarate grills sea bream marinated in saikyo miso, grilled scallop skewers topped with chili-garlic sauce and wasabi peas, lamb cutlets marinated with garlic-kimchi sauce and sweet potato skewers glazed with honey-jalapeño sauce. He also prepares sashimi, sushi, pan-fried edamame with spicy black bean sauce and sea bass carpaccio with yuzu dressing and sweet soy sauce. Open Mon.-Wed. from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. and Thurs.-Sat. from 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Opening for lunch beginning in July. Zu Robata, 12217 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-571-1920.
Wife and husband team Amy and Jeremy Berman are planning to celebrate the grand opening of Vanilla Bake Shop on July 10, near the Third Street Promenade. The concept was hatched when Amy was in culinary school and had to write a business plan for a fictitious dessert shop. The couple will offer seasonal French macaroons; striped, torte-like brownies called "cosmopolitans;" and cupcakes, both full-size, bite size and stuffed. The décor will feature white chandeliers, hardwood floors, cotton candy pink flourishes and both table and stool seating. Hours will be Tues.-Sat. from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sun. from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Vanilla Bake Shop, 512 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-458-6644.
Natalia Pereira and Darius Danta have opened Wood Spoon, an airy Brazilian café, in the downtown Los Angeles Fashion District. Dishes include Pastel Portuguese–dumplings stuffed with shrimp and coconut sauce; Brazilian chicken pot pie with hearts of palm, potato, olives and roasted corn; grilled beef, lamb, chicken or Brazilian sausage; and a pork burger with roasted cabbage and grilled onions. To drink, expect fresh-squeezed orange-mango juice and coconut water. Open Mon.-Sat. from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Wood Spoon, 107 W. Ninth St., Los Angeles, 213-629-1765.
Banchan à La Carte is a new high-end Korean deli, named for the complimentary side dishes found at Korean restaurants. The chef-owner is Jayne Chang, founder and director of California Premier Culinary School. European-influenced Korean offerings include herb-rubbed beef ribs, fried salt-and-pepper shrimp served over crispy rice noodles, kimchi pancakes, bibimbap and ready-to-cook marinated short ribs, plus sandwiches and dozens of banchan. Open Mon.-Sat. from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sun. from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Banchan à La Carte, 141 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles, 323-465-2400.
A sleek new branch of Fat Fish, the West Hollywood Japanese restaurant and sushi bar, has opened in Koreatown. Chef James Han is responsible for dishes like Dungeness crab spring rolls, six varieties of oysters on the half-shell, soba noodles with duck breast and a long list of sushi along with rolls named for the cities of Las Vegas, Seattle and Philadelphia. For dessert, there’s green tea tempura ice cream or the “famous” Fat Fish banana split. Fat Fish, 3300 W. 6th St., Los Angeles, 213-384-1304.
Cru is up and running in Silver Lake in the former home of Jade Café. Chef Rachael Carr’s inventive take on raw vegan food includes saffron-cashew cheese balls with pomegranate and olive bread; Thai red curry with garlic coconut rutabaga rice; a pizza duo–Portobello-cashew cheese and tomato pesto; pad Thai with garlic root noodles; and for dessert, a chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and pistachios. Cru, 1521 Griffith Park Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-667-1551.
Ray Nguyen has opened Lemongrass, a modern Vietnamese restaurant named for a popular ingredient in Vietnamese cooking, in Eagle Rock. Expect shrimp or pork spring rolls; rice noodle soup with either chicken, rare steak or meatballs; tomato fried rice with barbecue chicken; charbroiled pork sandwiches; and flan or Jell-o desserts. The décor includes olive green walls, black furniture and shelves of pottery. Lemongrass, 1952 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock, 323-758-8050.
After five years of research and testing, The Healthy Bean, a coffee shop offering the first all-natural coffee product infused with antioxidants and proteins, debuts in West Hollywood on June 1. Its organic and fair-trade certified coffees undergo a patented process in which the ground coffee is permeated with whey protein and antioxidant compounds from pomegranate, blueberry, grape seed and green tea to create a truly revolutionary beverage. The Healthy Bean is the creation of Ray Basa, food scientist and chemist, and Vee Cristobal, a CPA and marathon runner. “Without coffee, life is not complete for me and I can't function very well,” says Cristobal. “Ray and I wanted to create a product that would help active people like us get extra health benefits, while maintaining the taste and tradition of a great cup of coffee in the morning.” The Healthy Bean, 8470 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-848-9401.
Murano Restaurant is a pristine new Italian eatery with white walls and several of the Italian archipelago’s signature chandeliers, custom-made in black and red. Chef Kristi Ritchey, previously of Pinot Blanc in Napa Valley and eat. at the desert in Palm Springs, is preparing sweet corn agnolotti with crisp pancetta, port reduction and shaved Parmesan; pan-seared white fish on roasted golden beets and creamy leeks with beet-orange sauce; and pork tenderloin with fava beans, wild mushrooms and crisp Parmesan risotto fries. Open Tues.-Sun. for dinner and for Sunday brunch. Murano Restaurant, 9010 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, 310-246-9118.
Leslie W. Brenner and Rich Brenner, co-owners of Hugo’s and Hugo’s Tacos, have transformed the old Highland Grounds space into The Dive. An eclectic menu features Caribbean curry chicken clay pot, design-your-own calzones and “grown up” macaroni and cheese—fusilli with Gorgonzola, jack and Parmesan cheeses, plus garlic-braised kale. Mixologist Josh Curtis, previously of The Hungry Cat, is producing drinks like “On the Lam” featuring muddled rosemary, fresh orange juice and gin; and “Deep Purple” with sparkling blackberry lemonade, vodka and cherry limeade. The Dive, 742 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, 323-466-1507.
After a months-long hiatus, Bogota native Elizabeth Perez has resurfaced at a new Hollywood address with her smoothie and juice parlor, The Juice Fountain, which dates to 1969. Popular menu items include the Blackberry Cream—blackberries, pineapple, honey, and yogurt or milk; the Athlete’s Special—cashews, dates, fruit and low-fat milk; and the Fruit Rainbow—watermelon, strawberries, papaya, blackberries, orange and banana. Open Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sat.-Sun. from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The Juice Fountain, 6332 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323-464-8986.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of his first Gaucho Grill, Adolfo Suaya has opened Charcoal with business partner Michael Sutton. The sleek American grill is sandwiched between ArcLight Cinemas and Amoeba Music and features black walnut, sumptuous booths and an elk antler chandelier near the entrance. Chef Yuri Samano, previously of Arnie Morton’s of Chicago and The Lodge Steakhouse, is preparing dishes like the tuna duo (tartare and seared sesame-crusted ahi), a crab burger with caper mayo, a Cajun ribeye with red skin smashed potatoes and for dessert, giant funnel cake with berry and chocolate sauces. Open daily from 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Charcoal, 6372 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, 323-465-8500.
Chef Andy Brooks, previously of Naha in Chicago and DC Coast, has returned home to Southern California to open Brooks with wife Jayme. Chef Brooks’ seasonal New American menu might include pan-seared foie gras with a black pepper waffle, maple-glazed tangerines and crispy pancetta; seared day boat scallops with cactus relish, truffle squash and mole vinaigrette; and for dessert, cornmeal-buttermilk roasted apple buckle with maple-walnut gelato. A nightly five-course tasting menu is available for $45. Tom Nahabedian designed the rustic space. Open Tues.-Sun. for dinner. Brooks, 545 E. Thompson Blvd., Ventura, 805-652-7070.
Chef Stefano Colaiacomo, previously with the L’Opera Restaurant Group, has opened Stefano’s da Vinci Ristorante next to Long Beach Airport, naming his upscale Italian restaurant for the world’s first aviation pioneer, Leonardo da Vinci. The menu includes steamed Manila clams in a broth of garlic, white wine and miso; New Zealand venison rack flambéed in Barolo wine; and a veal loin porterhouse chop glazed with roasted garlic-brandy sauce. Every pasta is attributed to a particular region of Italy, like the baked spaghetti soufflé with prosciutto, egg and wild mushrooms, from Abruzzo. The multi-level space features runway views, towering white columns and aviation models. Open Mon.-Sat. for lunch, nightly for dinner and for Sunday brunch. Stefano’s da Vinci Ristorante, 2801 E. Spring St., 3rd Floor, Long Beach, 562-685-8111.
Brothers Geofrey and Fabrice Ghanem have opened Shilo’s, a modern Kosher steakhouse with predominantly white décor. In addition to a panoply of dry-aged Prime steaks, Chef Michel Aytekin is preparing dishes like pan-seared sweetbreads with cognac-saffron demi glace, grilled ahi steak with Chardonnay-basil-caper sauce, and whole stuffed Cornish hen, braised in Marsala wine. Open Sun.-Thurs. from 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Friday from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., and Saturday from 7:30 p.m.-11 p.m. Shilo’s, 8939 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-858-1652.
The Foundry on Melrose opened on May 1 in the former Caffe Luna space. Chef-owner Eric Greenspan, previously of Patina and Meson G, is preparing contemporary dishes like bacon-wrapped scallops with pea fourchette and vermouth; veal scaloppini with fondant potatoes and sweetbread gremolata; and for dessert, hazelnut- and halva-crusted coffee cake with hazelnut gelato. The industrial design comes courtesy of Sandy Davidson, while live music Thurs.-Sat. nights is provided by Christopher Dowd’s trio. Open for dinner Mon.-Sat. at 6 p.m. The Foundry on Melrose, 7465 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323-651-0915.
In late June or early July, Doug Zell and wife Emily Mange plan to open the first non-Chicago branch of their Intelligentsia Coffee in Silver Lake’s Sunset Junction. The coffeehouse is known for 30 single-origin coffees and blends and for beans roasted fresh daily. The location will house two Clover coffeemakers, which utilize patented “Vacuum-Press” technology. Intelligentsia Coffee, 3922 Sunset Blvd., Sunset Junction, Silver Lake, www.intelligentsiacoffee.com.
Bar 1200, named for the hotel’s address, is a new “A-list hideaway” in the Sunset Marquis Hotel & Villas. The retooled bar offers a new specialty drink each month, including May’s Pomerita—Corzo Silver tequila with Red Bull and Pama liqueur; August’s Paloma—Blanco or Reposado tequila with fresh grapefruit juice, lime juice and a splash of soda; and December’s Moontini—vodka with Blue Curaçao, Cointreau and orange juice, garnished with orange rind. The walls feature photographer Ross Halfin’s portraits of rock stars like Anthony Kiedis, Roger Daltrey and Chris Robinson. Bar 1200, 1200 Alta Loma Rd., West Hollywood, 310-657-1333.
Taj Chowdhury and Zaman Jaman have opened Indian restaurant Lal Mirch, named for a “red chile,” in the former home of Hungarian restaurant Hortobagy. Chef Abdul Awal Miah is preparing dishes like tandoori king prawns, quail and lamb; chicken dhansak in a lentil sauce with mango jam; and shrimp biryani with raisins and cashews. To drink, expect strawberry lassi and mango juice. Open Mon.-Sat. for lunch and nightly for dinner. Lal Mirch, 11138 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818-980-2273.
Kelly Gleason and wife Anastasia Israel, previously the owners of Anastasia’s Asylum, have launched Abode Restaurant & Lounge near the Santa Monica Pier. The eatery, which features ‘60s era design, offers sustainable American cuisine. Executive chef Dominique Crenn, previously of Stars and Campton Place in San Francisco, has designed a seasonal menu that may include pear-parsnip “cappuccino” soup with truffles and coffee; pork osso bucco with shallots confit and apple-berry compote; and scallops with Satsuma tangerines, cauliflower and vanilla sea salt. Crenn also offers six- or eight-course prix-fixe tasting menus, and an equally ambitious menu for vegetarians, called the “Garden Menu.” Open weekdays for lunch, nightly for dinner, and weekends for brunch. Abode Restaurant & Lounge, 1541 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, 310-394-3463.
Ryan Afromsky plans to open grilled cheese restaurant Meltdown etc in downtown Culver City in the second week of May. Specialties will include a classic three-cheese melt with sharp cheddar, muenster and fontina on sourdough bread; sharp cheddar, smoked ham and apple butter on sourdough; a Market Melt with herbed goat cheese, grilled farmers market vegetables, caramelized onions and walnut pesto on ciabatta; and “Sweet Melts” like brie and apricot preserves on walnut bread. There will also be soups and house-made pickles. At first, the café will be open Mon.-Fri. from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Eventually Meltdown will open at 8 a.m. and expand to Saturdays. Meltdown etc, 9739 Culver Blvd., Culver City, 310-838-6358.
Steven Arroyo, owner of Cobras & Matadors, has opened 750ml, a restaurant named for the capacity of a standard wine bottle. The rustic space, across the street from a Gold Line station, features 16 wines by the glass. Chef Greg Bernhardt, previously of Le Dome, Vida and Grace, offers a continually evolving menu of hearty French and American fare. Dishes might include red wine-braised beef shoulder with radicchio and Taleggio pomme fondue; lamb sirloin with roasted grapes; or white bean cassoulet with duck confit and lardons. There are normally two desserts per day, and recent dishes have included espresso pot de crème topped with cocoa nibs and lemon clafoutis with crème fraiche and Russian cherries. Open daily from 5 p.m.-11 p.m. 750ml, 966 Mission St., South Pasadena, 626-799-0711.
In June, Emil Eyvazoff plans to open Takami Sushi & Robata Restaurant + Elevate Lounge in a downtown penthouse. The indoor-outdoor space will offer sweeping city views, a glass-enclosed wine room and fire elements, courtesy of Tag Front designers. Chef Kenny Yamada, previously at the Encino branch of Katsu-ya and at SHU (Sushi House Unico), will prepare sushi and robata selections, plus dishes like “Pop Art Crab,” a tempura creation involving Dungeness crab, sweet potato, avocado, shishito pepper and four sauces; “Tropical Avocado Bowl,” sashimi served inside a hollowed-out avocado, paired with mango and sauces; and “Sweet Scallop Present,” an egg crafted to look like a gift box, filled with tempura scallops and wine-infused Jell-o. Takami will be open daily for lunch and dinner, and Elevate will be open nightly for drinks. Takami Sushi & Robata Restaurant + Elevate Lounge, 811 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 213-236-9600.
Guido Fratesi and Collette Pankopf have opened Coccole Laboratorio del Gusto, a neighborhood Italian restaurant in Redondo Beach. Expect dishes like gorgonzola flan topped with broccoli purée; tagliatelle sautéed with scallops, shrimp, parsley paste and chili flakes; roasted pork simmered in a mix of rosemary, sage, carrots, onions and berries; and pan-seared duck breast “bundled” in prosciutto di Parma and covered with cheese and breadcrumbs. Open Tues.-Sun. from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Coccole Laboratorio del Gusto, 320 S. Catalina Ave., Redondo Beach, 310-374-6929.
Frank Waldman has opened a Hollywood branch of Doughboys, his American bakery and café. The menu is nearly identical to the original 3rd Street, with the addition of chicken pot pies, beefy macaroni and cheese and Grandma Rose’s Rainy Day Special—a tuna melt with chicken noodle soup. The restaurant opens daily at 7 a.m. and has been closing between 9:30 p.m.-10 p.m., but will eventually stay open until midnight. Doughboys, 1150 Highland Ave., Hollywood, 323-467-9117.
Jake Li has opened a Melrose branch of Venice Beach favorite Mao’s Kitchen, named for former Chinese leader Mao Zedong. The Chinese menu, similar to the one at the original location, features pan-fried chicken potstickers, steamed shrimp and spinach dumplings, sesame and yam beef, sliced Shao mountain lamb and, for dessert, red bean pastries. Open daily from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mao’s Kitchen, 7315 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323-932-9681.
Ketchup is a new Dolce Group restaurant in the Sunset Millennium complex, occupying the space formerly filled by Rika. Executive chef Chris Tunnell, previously of Dolce Enoteca in Reno, prepares upscale comfort food like "scandalous lobster wraps" with mango ketchup; drunken scallops, braised in Wicked Ale, with bacon and lobster mash; mesquite-grilled lobster tail with roasted cilantro coulis, blue corn chips and dirty rice; and sweet potato tater tots with five signature ketchups and macaroni and cheese with white truffles and Dungeness crab. Open daily from 6 p.m.-midnight. Ketchup, 8590 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-289-8590.
Capitalizing on the recent relocation of talent agencies CAA and ICM to Century City, Tom Colicchio plans to open an outpost of Craft on Avenue of the Stars on June 1. Matthew Accarrino, recently of Craftsteak, will be chef de cuisine. The seasonal, market-driven menu will be much like the one at the Manhattan original. Craft, 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City.
Short-lived Old Town Pasadena restaurant Sol y Azul has been transformed into Neomeze, a modern Mediterranean restaurant specializing in small plates. Expect dishes like stacked watermelon and feta sticks; pan-seared sea scallops with crispy Serrano ham and saffron-sherry-butter sauce; sweet red yam cakes with green apple chutney and roasted chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese, figs and mint. Open daily from 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m., and until 1:30 a.m. from Thurs.-Sat. Neomeze, 20 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-793-3010.
Parc has opened in the former BlackSteel space. Owner Shereen Arazm has retained BlackSteel chef Jason Harley. His menu features seared bay scallops with spicy zucchini sauce, clay pot baked pepper-caramel cod, grilled lamb chopettes with rosemary port ginger sauce and for dessert, blueberry lavender panna cotta with blueberry relish. There’s also a Champagne and oyster bar. Open Mon.-Sat., 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Parc, 6683 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323-465-6200.
Chef Michael Reardon, previously at 31 West in Santa Barbara’s Hotel Andalucia and Napa Valley’s Tra Vigne, is now at the helm of Casa del Mar's Catch. The seafood-driven menu includes scallop crudo with fresh wasabi and Osetra caviar; free form ravioli with artichokes and Sardinian sheep’s milk cheese; crispy skate wing with Savoy cabbage and braised pork; and for dessert, ginger crème with pineapple confit and lychee sorbet. Open daily, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Catch, 1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica, 310-581-7714.
Surapol Mekpongsatorn has introduced Thaitalian Cooking Duet, fusing Thai and Italian cooking. Chef Nancy Watkins fills egg rolls with mozzarella, fontina and roasted tomato; grills steak with red curry sauce; pairs shrimp and scallop scampi with Thai garlic pepper sauce and saffron risotto; and tops pizza with chicken satay, roasted pine nuts, red onions, Thai peanut sauce and mozzarella. For dessert, think Thai tea crème brulée. Thaitalian Cooking Duet, 49 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-585-8808.
Sergio Dovarro has retooled the Little J’s space as J Restaurant & Lounge, due in September. Expect live music and a mammoth patio with fire pit and cabanas. Chef Ryan McKay, previously of L’Orangerie, will prepare Mediterranean-influenced dishes like foie gras tempura with port reduction and mango purée, slow-roasted Alaskan halibut with artichoke confit and Champagne emulsion and braised lamb shank with saffron couscous. Frédéric Hémon, formerly of Ortolan and Dakota, will serve as sommelier. Hours will be Monday-Friday for breakfast and lunch, nightly for dinner and weekends for brunch. J Restaurant & Lounge, 1119 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, 213-746-7746.
redwhite+bluezz has opened in the former Michael’s Steakhouse space, packaging food, wine and live music. Executive chef Gabriel Contreras prepares fried macaroni and cheese using smoked gouda, sharp cheddar and sun-dried tomato fondue; ancho-honey salmon with baby aubergine steaks and tamarind beurre rouge; and a Kurobuta pork chop with a Camembert, caramelized onion and blueberry bread pudding. For dessert, the Chocolate Cube layers white and dark chocolate mousse and houses a cherry center. Certified sommelier Russ Meek, previously of Parkway Grill, offers 40 wines by the glass. Jazz and blues musicians play Thursday-Saturday, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Open nightly for dinner and for Sunday brunch. redwhite+bluezz, 70 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, 626-792-4441.
Chef Roman Cruz and brother Samuel have opened a second location of their West Los Angeles eatery Tlapazola Grill, named for a town in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, in Marina del Rey. Expect a menu similar to the original, with lime chicken tortilla soup, oven roasted pork carnitas with tomatillo sauce, sautéed barramundi with lime alcaparra sauce, grilled salmon with mole de pipian and a roasted garlic spinach quesadilla. Open Tuesday-Friday for lunch and Tuesday-Sunday for dinner. Tlapazola Grill, 4059 Lincoln Blvd., Marina del Rey, 310-822-7561.
At SusieCakes, Susan Sarich is baking all-American desserts using her grandmother’s recipes. Think butterscotch toffee pudding, chocolate wafer icebox pie, iced molasses snap cookies and frosting-filled cupcakes in flavors like orange creamsicle, peanut butter and red velvet. The sleek retro setting features mint green walls and linoleum tile floors. Open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-7 p.m. SusieCakes, 11708 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-442-2253.
Charles Nelson and wife Candace are expanding from Beverly Hills to Orange County, opening a branch of their insanely popular Sprinkles Cupcakes in Corona Del Mar Plaza on August 14. Expect a menu identical to the original. Sprinkles Cupcakes, 800 Avocado Ave., Corona Del Mar.
David Lentz and wife Suzanne Goin (A.O.C. and Lucques) are planning a second location of their American seafood restaurant, The Hungry Cat. The couple has secured a space in Santa Barbara and hopes to open in December. The Hungry Cat, 1134 Chapala St., Santa Barbara.
When world-famous architect Frank Gehry (Walt Disney Concert Hall; Bilbao, Spain's Guggenheim Museum) wanted a food stand near his studio, he designed it himself. He even got his own caterer, Lisa Field of Catering by Field, to truck in food to the 400-square-foot Delicious Café from a much larger kitchen nearby. Breakfast and lunch menu items include brisket with horseradish sauce, mirin glazed salmon, spicy peanut lo mein over charred green beans and a turkey sandwich with cranberry mayo and Boston lettuce. For dessert, expect pies, brownies and bundt cake. Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Delicious Café, 12541 Beatrice St., Playa del Rey, 310-821-5806.
The Sunset Tower Hotel has added a poolside restaurant, The Terrace, with Tower Bar chef Piero Morovich running the kitchen. The menu includes crab cakes alla Siciliana with chipotle aioli, grilled langoustines with market vegetables, a lobster roll with fries and an entire chicken alla Diavola grilled under a brick. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Terrace, 8358 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-654-7100.
Dumpling House has emerged as an alternative to nearby Din Tai Fung Dumpling House. The tiny Chinese cafe offers eight varieties of dumplings, including boiled chive, egg, and shrimp; boiled beef and onion; and pan-fried pork. There is also noodle in brown sauce, crispy baby hen and smoked pork pancake with scallions and hoisin sauce. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Dumpling House, 921 S. Baldwin Ave., #A, Arcadia, 626-445-2755.
Caterer Tim Foley and restaurateur John Kaufman have opened Truxton’s American Bistro in Westchester, near the airport. The concept is a wide variety of classic and ethnic American dishes with a twist, at everyday prices. The wide-ranging menu features everything from spaghetti and meatballs to buttermilk-fried chicken skewers to Thai Cobb salad. Nostalgic desserts include their rendition of a Hostess cupcake, Rice Krispie treats and real Twinkies served with raspberry coulis. The owners hope this will be the first of many Truxton’s locations. Open Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Truxton’s American Bistro, 8611 Truxton Ave., Westchester, 310-417-8789.
Mickey Katz has transformed the old Café Bazel space into Ate18, named for the San Fernando Valley area code. For breakfast, chef Luis Moya prepares buttermilk pancakes topped with caramelized apples and French toast with strawberry compote. Later in the day, Mediterranean dishes predominate. Think tapenade-crusted Lake Superior white fish, roasted pear salad with goat cheese and candied pecans and herb-roasted New Zealand lamb chops with cinnamon raisin couscous. Ate18, 17620 Ventura Blvd., Encino, 818-728-1212.
Sam Nazarian’s SBE Restaurant Group has opened Katsuya in the old El Dorado space, with Japanese food from Katsu-Ya chef Katsuya Uechi and design from Philippe Starck. Offerings include spicy tuna on crispy rice, Cajun halibut cheeks, sushi, sashimi and a robata bar. Katsuya, 11777 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood, 310-207-8744.
A branch of Ravi Koneru’s Irvine restaurant, Chakra Indian Cuisine, is set to occupy the former Maurya space. The Beverly Hills branch will replicate the Irvine menu, with dishes like spinach fritters with mint sauce, ginger-marinated tandoori salmon, roasted garlic duck with vermicelli and carrot pudding with cashews and raisins in phyllo pastry. Chakra Indian Cuisine, 151 S. Doheny Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-786-7858.
Chef Twain Schreiber will cook American food at Liberty Grill. Breakfast includes silver dollar pancakes with orange butter, homemade cinnamon rolls and omelets with ham, gruyere and mushrooms. For lunch and dinner, expect Cajun sausage hushpuppies, chicken fried steak, almond wood smoked rib eye and meatloaf with chipotle-tomato glaze. The nineteenth century building features brick walls, wood beam ceilings and an open-air patio with fireplace. Now serving lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m., with dinner beginning August 1 and breakfast to follow in October. Liberty Grill, 1037 S. Flower St., Los Angeles, 213-746-3400.
Lisa Buch, Michael Buch and Chris Weiss are partners in Silverlake’s Pazzo Gelato. A seasonal menu of house-made gelato and sorbet may include flavors like chocolate malt, Sicilian pistachio, almond fig or cayenne peach. The café also offers shakes, sundaes, chocolates from Boule and pastries from Heirloom Bakery & Café. Open Tuesday-Sunday. Pazzo Gelato, 3827 Sunset Blvd., Unit D, Los Angeles, 323-662-1410.
Beard Papa is now serving their signature brand of Japanese cream puffs on Sawtelle, sharing space with the Mousse Fantasy cake shop. So far, they just have vanilla puffs, but chocolate, green tea and more flavors are forthcoming. The Japanese chain has also expanded to the Puente Hills Mall, where they have a full menu. Another branch is coming soon to Monterey Park. Beard Papa, 2130 Sawtelle Blvd. #110, Los Angeles, 310-479-6665; 1600 Azusa Ave., City of Industry, 626-839-1240; 141 N. Atlantic Blvd., #106, Monterey Park.
Patrick Parmentier and wife Dora are converting the old XO Wine Bistro space into a branch of their Belmont Shore eatery, La Crêperie Café. Open for three meals a day, the French cafe will feature stuffed apple French toast with cinnamon; eggs Benedict with prosciutto and basil hollandaise sauce; Belgian steamed mussels with white wine, shallots and leeks; and a variety of crepes. The decor will be French Gypsy, with a wine bar. The Parmentiers are targeting an August opening. La Crêperie Café, 1209 Highland Ave., Manhattan Beach, 310-545-3509.
Josh Kleinberg is cooking California cuisine with Southern and Caribbean influences at Fresh Corn Grill. Fresh corn appears in the grilled vegetable salad, corn chowder and sun-dried tomato pasta. The walls are even corn yellow. There is also grilled chicken with ginger curry sauce, salmon with Caribbean sauce, smoked salmon pizza and fresh-baked brownies. Open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fresh Corn Grill, 1510 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-470-0414.
Yervant Sarkisian and wife/chef Vanni Sarkisian have opened Danube, a seldom seen Bulgarian restaurant. Dishes include cheese- and egg-filled phyllo rolls, lamb kebab baked in parchment, wine beef kebab and the seasoned ground pork dish known as kebapche. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Danube, 1303 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-473-2414.
Alfredo Diaz has opened a branch of his Silver Lake coffee shop, Eat Well, in the old Cafe Tartine space. Breakfast items include pork chops with eggs, omelettes, pancakes, and French toast. Lunch centers around salads, burgers and melts, plus specials like chicken fajitas and macaroni and cheese. Open daily from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Eat Well, 7385 Beverly Blvd., 323-938-1300.
Mirü Chung has opened Mirü8691 in the old Tamarin space. 8691 refers to the year his wife Julie was born, reversed. In addition to sushi, sashimi and rolls, a market-driven Asian fusion menu may feature spicy shark’s fin wonton soup, torched yellowtail with ponzu, fettuccini alfredo with chili miso or a half-pound Wagyu burger. Retro décor elements include an open kitchen, color-changing lights (a la LAX) and the waterfall inherited from the prior tenant. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Mirü8691, 9162 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-777-8378, www.miru8691.com.
Glendale will up its sophistication quotient with the arrival of MINX Restaurant & Lounge, planned for mid-July. Highlights of the globally inspired menu from executive chef Joseph Antonishek (O-Bar, Raffles L’Ermitage Hotel) will be halibut roasted in banana leaves; harissa glazed New Zealand lamb rack; and, for vegetarians, wild mushroom soufflé, tomato cappuccino with asparagus and a daily vegetable and salad. Designed by Peg O’Brien, who also created the design for Republic, the restaurant will feature multiple dining spaces, including an outdoor patio, lounge and private cabanas, as well as a dance floor. MINX Restaurant & Lounge, 300 Harvey Dr., Glendale.
Adolfo Suaya and Michael Sutton, the duo behind Gaucho Grill, plan to open a casual American chophouse called Charcoal in the ArcLight complex. The restaurant is supposed to open in either late August or early September. Charcoal, 6372 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood.
A branch of Brazilian stalwart Bossa Nova is set to open in July near the Westside Pavilion. Expect the same menu as the Sunset Strip location, including grilled New Zealand sea bass; the Havana sandwich with caramelized bananas, melted mozzarella, mascarpone and cinnamon; and Edgar’s goat cheese salad with sautéed scallops, white Mexican shrimp, shiitake mushrooms and Dijon vinaigrette. Bossa Nova, 10982 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles.
West LA’s Café Ugo has joined the bustling Culver City dining scene, duplicating their Italian menu and adding a patio. Dishes include capellini pomodoro, four cheese rigatoni, grilled chicken pesto panini and grilled steak. Café Ugo, 3865 Cardiff Ave., Culver City, 310-204-1222, cafeugo.com.
The biblically themed Noah’s Ark serves Mediterranean cuisine amidst intricate woodwork and murals that depict Noah’s trials. Dining options include chicken and beef shawarma, spinach and cheese pastries, ground meat and eggplant kebab, charbroiled lamb chops and baklava for dessert. Noah’s Ark, 13641 Burbank Blvd., Van Nuys, 818-786-1202.
Hirotaka Fujita has opened Jinpachi in the old Izakaya Yuzu space, naming the Japanese restaurant for his grandfather, who owned a sushi restaurant in Japan before World War II. Specialties include Asari miso soup with Manila clams, roasted chicken breast with ginger sauce and grilled black cod with Saikyo miso, plus sushi, sashimi and three levels of omakase. Open for lunch Tuesday-Saturday and for dinner Monday-Saturday. Jinpachi, 8711 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-358-9134.
Capitalizing on the success of the Arroyo Parkway original, Blair Salisbury has opened a second location of Dona Rosa, his bakery and taquería. Expect similar tortas, tamales, tacos, soups, fresh-baked Mexican sweet breads and margaritas. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Dona Rosa, 400 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, 626-821-3556.
Nano Crespo, previously of Il Sole and Farfalla, is cooking Spanish cuisine with a European flair at Tasca, which means “neighborhood place” in Spanish. For dinner, expect short rib and butternut squash agnolotti, boudin noir sautéed with onions and green apples in brandy sauce, heirloom tomato gazpacho with Dungeness crab meat and avocado, black bass with Tuscan bean salad and chocolate pot de crème for dessert. Open for nightly dinner and weekend brunch. Tasca, 8108 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, 323-951-9890.
John Hooper and brother Stephen have opened a South Bay branch of Skooby’s, their Hollywood hot doggery. Named for John’s 1961 Nash Metropolitan, the new location’s expanded menu features the same hot dogs, fresh-cut fries and lemonade, plus hand-pressed burgers; “melty sandwiches;” and Skooby’s brand lager, ale and Hefeweizen. Skooby's, 502 Pacific Coast Highway, Hermosa Beach, 310-376-1292.
After a several-month delay, WEST is finally open in the Hotel Angeleno penthouse, highlighted by executive chef Josh Moulton’s Italian cuisine and 200-degree views of Los Angeles. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. WEST, 170 N. Church Lane, Los Angeles, 310-476-6411.
Quinn and Karen Hatfield, previously of Cortez in San Francisco and Spago, have opened Hatfield’s in the old Le Chine Wok space. Quinn is the chef and Karen is pastry chef and manager. Specialties include rabbit loin and foie gras terrine with tarragon emulsion; butter-poached veal loin with pan-fried spaetzle, licorice-dusted sweetbreads and carrot puree; and, for dessert, chocolate peanut butter truffle cake with salted caramel ice cream. Open 6 p.m.-10 p.m., Monday-Saturday. Hatfield’s, 7458 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, 323-935-2977.
Julie Rico and Sid Carter are about to open Weeneez and the Red Dot Gallery & Bistro on the ground floor of downtown’s Security Building. Weeneez will offer several hot dogs and sausages; chili; tamales; and homemade lemonade. Red Dot Gallery, named for the stickers that gallery owners apply to sold art, will feature salmon, gingered crab, spinach and potato cakes; grilled chicken and beef sticks; and “strawberry dream cake.” Red Dot will also sell art. Weeneez, Red Dot Gallery & Bistro, 500 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, 213-817-6002.
Divine Pasta Co. on La Brea now houses Cube at Divine Pasta Co., a cheese bar and Italian café. In addition to an array of charcuterie and clearly labeled cheeses, expect panini; wood-fired brick oven pizzas; marinated wild keta salmon; chimichuri flank steak; and fresh Divine Pasta like rosemary chicken ravioli with arrabbiata sauce and whole wheat linguine puttanesca. Cube, 615 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, 323-939-1148.
Restaurateur Giacomino Drago has partnered with real estate developer Mauricio Oberfeld on Sushi House Unico (SHU), a modern Japanese restaurant with Italian and Latin touches. Chef Kenny Yamada, previously of Katsu-Ya, is preparing sushi; Kobe beef sashimi; scallop sashimi with yuzu vinaigrette; Cajun-style John Dory; and, for dessert, pan-seared bananas with plum wine sauce. Sushi House Unico (SHU), 2932 Beverly Glen Cir., Bel Air, 310-474-2740.
Richard Kaye has transformed the setting of the late Cirxa Bistro into Sushi Koda, where chef Gary Flood is preparing traditional and contemporary maki, sushi and sashimi. More elaborate dishes include grilled unagi topped with white chocolate, roasted almond slivers and eel sauce; smoked squab with grilled oyster mushroom dressing; and seared tuna loin stuffed with smoked shrimp, topped with mango basil cream sauce. Now open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, with lunch service coming later. Sushi Koda, 3719 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-663-1048.
WeHo now has its very own wine retreat with the opening of BIN 8945 Wine Bar & Bistro. The wine list, like the cuisine, will be global in scope: 450 labels from virtually every major wine producing region comprise the inventory, a portion of which comes from owner John Haskell’s private collection. Executive chef Matt Carpenter will infuse influences from the Caribbean and North Africa into modern European fare such as mini Cornish game hen Bastila with almond sugar; Jamaican jerk chicken with peas, rice and pineapple compote; and blackened Bajan-style catfish with citrus risotto. There will also be an oyster and ceviche bar offering fresh selections daily. After-dinner cigars and Cognac can be enjoyed on the patio. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m. BIN 8945 Wine Bar & Bistro, 8945 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-550-8945.
In late July or early August, Mastro’s Steakhouse is set to expand to Thousand Oaks, in the old home of 2087: An American Bistro. Expect more Prime steaks and chops, seafood and sides from this Scottsdale-based chainlet. Mastro’s Steakhouse, 2087 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks.
Mido Khalili is in the kitchen at Greek Nights, preparing classics like spanakopita; chicken and lamb souvlaki; lamb chops with mint lamb jus; and house-made baklava. Weekend nights feature entertainment, like Greek singers and belly dancers. Open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. Greek Nights, 13615 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks., 818-907-6336.
Erik Oberholtzer and David Dressler, formerly of Shutters on the Beach, have partnered with Matt Lyman (ex-Hotel Casa del Mar) and Scarborough Farms of Oxnard on the forthcoming Tender Greens, a casual takeout spot. Dishes will include baby spinach, goat cheese and hazelnut salad with Cabernet vinaigrette; mesquite-grilled free-range chicken; line-caught ahi; and chicken soup with lemon and thyme. Tender Greens, 9523 Culver Blvd., Culver City, 310-842-8300.
Following success in Burbank, Orange County restaurantrepreneur David Wilhelm’s Culinary Adventures is getting ready to open another L.A.-area branch of his French 75 Bistro—this time in Westfield’s Century City shopping mall. Look for a July launch of the Parisian-style restaurant specializing in French and American comfort food classics, open for lunch and dinner daily. French 75 Bistro, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-788-0700.
The Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa is readying for the June opening of its new showcase restaurant, BIN189, headed by executive chef Randal St. Clair from Galileo restaurant at The Observatory in Sydney. St. Clair’s eclectic menu of modern California cuisine will be partnered with an extensive list of wines organized into “bins” by the numbers of the highway on which the featured regional wineries are located (the resort itself is on Highway 189—hence, the restaurant’s name). BIN189, Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa, 27984 Highway 189, Lake Arrowhead, 800-800-6792, 909-336-1511.
Tim and Liza Goodell will be opening a Red Pearl Kitchen come September in the space that was home to Meson G, which closed May 31. With locations already open in Huntington Beach and San Diego, Red Pearl Kitchen will offer Southeast Asian fare including a wide array of dim sum, hot pot, curry, noodle, vegetable and wok-fired dishes. The new restaurant will feature a bar, lounge and dining room. Red Pearl Kitchen, 6703 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles.
Grace’s Neal Fraser is planning a June opening for BLD, named for the meals of the day, in the former Cafe Capo space. Fraser’s American cafe will feature a breakfast of braised short ribs with poached eggs and Cabernet Sauvignon Hollandaise and a charcuterie bar with a 100-year-old Berkel meat slicer. The modern café will include a 40-seat patio and will accept no reservations. A retail store will sell BLD’s cheeses and charcuterie. BLD, 7450 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles.
Fred Eric, of Fred 62 and formerly of Dominick's, has opened Tiara Café in downtown’s New Mart Building. Casting a global net, dishes include Middle Eastern “bubble bread” with toppings like muhammara and pickled jalapeño labne; a Cuban smoked and roasted duck medianoche sandwich; and an Italian butternut squash pizette with caramelized onions, cavolo nero, ricotta and sage. For dessert, there's a chocolate fountain for dipping your choice of sweets. Open for breakfast and lunch, Tiara also houses a market. Tiara Café, 127 E. Ninth St., Los Angeles, 213-623-3663.
Kimiko Wachi is making fresh gelato twice a day at Gelato Fantasia on the Westside. Using real fruits, nuts, and chocolates, never syrups, her eighteen flavors may include tiramisù, apple pie, rum raisin and mango. Order by the cup, cone or bowl. Wachi also offers crêpes. Closed Tuesdays. Gelato Fantasia, 10422 National Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-280-9771.
Chef Albert Visanu Chivacharern is preparing “Neo-Thai” cuisine at Asia, peppering his Thai food with the flavors of France, Italy, Japan and America. With chic décor and Thai artifacts, dishes include duck and potato ravioli in truffle sauce; Chilean sea bass en papillote with mango avocado salsa; Chef Visanu fried rice with crab, shrimp, and truffle oil; and for dessert, mango banana flambé . Open on weekdays for lunch and nightly for dinner. Asia, 3179 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-906-9498.
Pat Yoshida has opened Sushi Dokoro Ki Ra La—the less familiar part of the name is Japanese for “one-of-a-kind-sparkle”—in the old Café Blanc space. She’s utilizing a three sushi chef attack, pairing Shinji Nakao from The Hump, Nobu Shishido from Take Sushi, and Taka Uchida from Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. In addition to high-quality sushi and sashimi, expect baked black cod and Chilean sea bass, with yakitori still to come. Sushi Dokoro Ki Ra La, 9777 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-275-9003.
Chef Todd Barrie, previously of Joe’s Restaurant, is manning the stoves at Upstairs 2, above The Wine House. The menu emphasizes Mediterranean small plates like spice-poached shrimp with lemon oil; grilled pork loin and Manchego flatbread; braised boneless short ribs with mole sauce and taro mashed potatoes; and pan-seared scallops with a sherry glaze and lemon risotto cakes. There are 43 wines available by the glass, pulled from the downstairs shop. Open for dinner Thursday through Saturday. Upstairs 2, 2311 Cotner Ave., Los Angeles, 310-231-0316.
Executive chef Edward Brik, previously of Spago and Gerard Boyer in France, is turning out Asian cuisine at Sumant Pardal’s Tiger Lily Restaurant Bar. Dishes include carpaccio-style beef tataki; Mangalore calamari with cilantro tamarind chutney; tempura soft-shell crab laced with wasabi vinaigrette; black bean osso buco; and for dessert, a trio of crème brulee: vanilla, mango and lemongrass. The décor is “Old Hollywood meets Shanghai.” Tiger Lily Restaurant Bar, 1739 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, 323-661-5900.
Kamil Majer’s BluJam Café pays tribute to antioxidant-rich blueberries, which appear in crepes, pancakes, scones, muffins and smoothies. Majer also turns out salads, sandwiches and seasonal items like wild mushroom soup; gnocchi with grilled chicken breast, baby spinach and sun-dried tomato-cream sauce; pan-fried pork schnitzel; and goulash. There are also coffee drinks, prepared using a house blend. Open daily for breakfast and lunch, with plans for dinner. BluJam Café, 7371 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, 323-951-9191.
Bridge Restaurant and Lounge, located in the former Alto Palato space and owned by Koi Group, is now offering the Mediterranean-influenced Italian cuisine of chef Mirko Paderno, previously of Valentino, Celestino and Dolce. Dishes include vitello tonnato; risotto with lobster, crab and calamari; Kobe-style beef tagliata with arugula and shaved Parmesan; grilled swordfish with baked eggplant; and “Chocolate Trio.” Sommelier Alessandro Sbrendola oversees a 6,000-bottle wine cellar. Open Monday through Saturday for dinner. Bridge, 755 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-659-3535, www.bridgela.com.
Duke Pham, owner of Chinatown’s Via Café, has opened Blossom in downtown’s Old Bank District. Vietnamese dishes include shaking beef with tomato paste fried rice; roasted Cornish hen with pan fried egg; grilled garlic-lemongrass pork chops; several variations on both pho and rice vermicelli; and ginger limeade. Blossom, 426 S. Main St., Los Angeles, 213-623-1973.
Marcello Felho will soon open a second outpost of Venice Blvd. mainstay Café Brasil. The menu will feature hearts of palm empanadas; picante catfish; grilled Brazilian-style steak and lamb chops; and, on the weekends, feijoada---pork stew with black beans, orange, rice and collard greens. Café Brasil, 11740 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-391-1216; and 10831 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-837-8957.
Enzo Battara and wife Angela have opened a namesake Italian restaurant, Enzo & Angela. Dishes include gnocchi in gorgonzola sauce; pork tenderloin with green olives, Marsala and rosemary; and a mixed grill of salmon, white sea bass, ahi and jumbo shrimp. The still-ambitious lunch menu features pizzas and panini. Enzo & Angela, 11701 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-477-3880.
Armine Chambazian named her Eagle Rock restaurant Zangezour Grill for a mountain range in Armenia. Start with stuffed grape leaves; eggplant caviar; or beef vegetable soup. Entrees include rotisserie chicken with garlic and dill; and chicken breast, beef and ground beef kabobs. Zangezour Grill, 2750 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-259-9500.
Lou Amdur is pouring 25 wines by the glass at Lou, his mini-mall wine bar. Chef Lori Frystak, previously of Grace and Jar, prepares a menu that recently included pig “candy”; a mixed crostini plank; salami from Armandino Batali, Mario’s father; Prairie Grove pork shoulder braised in milk with garlic and rosemary; and, for dessert, chocolate espresso cookies. Open Monday through Saturday for dinner. Lou, 724 N. Vine St., Hollywood, 323-962-6369.
Katrina Moore and Elfie Weiss have opened little ten-seater Hotcakes Bakes, combining their American and Parisian baking techniques. Everything’s made on premises, from scratch, without benefit of mixers. Signature baked goods include opera cake; banana cream pie with milk chocolate ganache; and croissants. Sandwiches served on fresh baguettes pair ingredients like caprese with prosciutto and turkey with avocado. Open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hotcakes Bakes, 4119 Centinela Ave., Mar Vista, 310-397-2324.
Elliott Mahn, who previously ran California Crisp in the same location, has re-emerged with Quincy’s BBQ, named for his late great dog. Featuring the motto “The Best BBQ under One Woof,” Quincy’s sells baby back, St. Louis and beef ribs; barbecued chicken; wood grilled tri-tip; and assorted sandwiches known as “Sloppy Qs.” Sides include macaroni and cheese; creamed spinach; and BBQ beans. For dessert, think peach cobbler. Quincy’s BBQ, 17201 Ventura Blvd., Encino, 818-QUINCY-2.
Royale is slated to open soon in the former Wilshire Royale Hotel, complete with outdoor patio and upstairs lounge. Chef Eric Ernest, previously of BOA and Citrine, will serve such specialties as big-eye tuna crudo with rogan josh oil and yuzu; scallops with black truffle cream, potato fondue and crispy basil; and The Original Royale Burger with foie gras, truffles and Gouda. For dessert, expect a chocolate tasting and bowls of cotton candy. Sommelier Thierry Perez, previously of Naya and Providence, will offer 40 wines by the glass. Daily hours will be 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Royale, 2629 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 213-388-8488.
New York-based restaurant mogul Jeffrey Chodorow is planning an April opening for Social Hollywood, a massive Moroccan-themed eatery in the former Hollywood Athletic Club space. The complex will include a bar, screening room, ballroom and second-floor VIP lounge/game room. Chef Joe Ojeda, previously of Chodorow’s Asia de Cuba, will offer ceviches, tiraditos and tartars prepared tableside; roast pork, leg of lamb and prime rib served with sauces and chutneys; plus Moroccan mezze and an à la carte menu. The pastry chef will be Sam Christopher, from Norman’s on Sunset. The sommelier will be Franklin Ferguson. Social Hollywood, 6525 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, 323-462-5222.
Richard Su has opened R’s Cajun Grill in downtown’s Grand Central Market. Specialties include Bourbon chicken; jambalaya; red beans and rice; shrimp étouffée; blackened fish; and, for dessert, homemade red bean egg custard. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. R’s Cajun Grill, 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, 213-626-2908.
Eagle Rocker Rudy Martinez is set to open Mia Sushi, named in honor of his daughter. The indoor-outdoor space is designed by Mary O’Grady, who also worked on Figueroa Hotel. Chef Matsu Kim will prepare fusion sushi rolls such as the Mia Roll, a California roll with spicy tuna and avocado on top; the Eagle Rock Roll, a tempura-fried spicy tuna and asparagus roll with creamy lemon sauce; and the Marty Roll, a California roll with baked lobster and eel sauce. For dessert, expect tempura-fried bananas and strawberries. Mia Sushi, 4741 Eagle Rock Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-256-2562.
Karrn Petrosian operates Picnicland next to Grand Central Market, specializing in sandwiches, pizzas, salads, kebabs, and stuffed grape leaves. In mid-May, a Picnicland cart will park on Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, between Arizona and Broadway. Expect five multi-course picnic lunches, made and boxed downtown, including Japanese soba noodles with miso-glazed salmon, pickled cucumber and Asian pear; and a French option with steak and caramelized onion baguette, potato gratin and an organic apple. In the meantime, the downtown original is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Picnicland, 324 S. Hill St., Los Angeles, 213-613-9393.
Hans Röckenwagner and chef de cuisine Wolfgang Gussmack have re-emerged in Mar Vista with Rockenwagner Bakery. Pastries include cheese pretzels with jalapeno; triple-chocolate espresso cookies; and blueberry streusel. A changing menu of sandwiches made with house-made bread may contain brie with sautéed mushrooms, grapes and walnut pesto on croissant; or porchetta Italian ham with Asiago cheese and plum jam on pretzel bun. Coming soon, the bakery will offer takeout quiches, salads and soups. Guests can nosh at sidewalk tables. Open daily for breakfast and lunch. Rockenwagner Bakery, 12835 W. Washington Blvd., Mar Vista, 310-578-8171.
Chef/owner Jean Marc Kiffer has opened Le Marmiton Marina, building on the success of his Santa Monica brasserie. Focusing on fresh market cuisine, specialties include coq au vin; beef bourguignon; bouillabaisse en papillote; and an assortment of tarts for dessert. Open daily for breakfast and lunch; Monday through Thursday for dinner; and weekend brunch. Le Marmiton Marina, 4724 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, 310-773-3560.
Lucky Vanous, best known from his appearance in a 1994 Coca-Cola commercial, has opened Lucky Devils, which offers all-American food in a high-tech setting. Dishes include a hand-ground Kobe beef hamburger; a Kobe hoagie; and deluxe grilled cheese sandwiches featuring Spruce Mountain Vermont white Cheddar, Maytag blue and Swiss gruyère in different combinations. Pastry chef Karla Lomeli, previously at A.O.C., bakes Meyer lemon cupcakes with fresh Meyer lemon curd and steams chocolate cake with “goo” (vanilla cinnamon sauce). Open daily from lunch through dinner, with late hours. Lucky Devils, 6613 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323-465-8259.
Chef Olivier Rousselle, previously of Michael’s, is preparing Asian-influenced French cuisine at Camden House. Dishes include blue fin tuna sashimi with verjus reduction; red king salmon with squid ink risotto; crisp-skinned duck breast with braised red onions, red wine and roasted quince; and, for dessert, tangerine crème brûlée. Décor features art-lined walls and an open wine cellar. Open weekdays for lunch and Monday through Saturday for dinner. Camden House, 430 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-285-9848.
Chef Kazuo Mita is grilling skewers of meat, seafood and vegetables—AKA kushiyaki—at Kushiyaki Dan. Skewers include chicken meatballs; bacon-wrapped mochi; chicken breast with shiso and ume; shrimp; and beef short ribs. There is also the terrine-like chicken cheese roll; eggplant meat sauce gratin; and soboro don—ground chicken rice. Décor is modern, featuring dark wood slats and papier mâché globe lanterns. Open Monday through Saturday for dinner. Kushiyaki Dan, 4001 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-634-9992.
Owner James Ramirez is turning out Indonesian, Thai and Cantonese dishes at Warung Café in Downtown’s Old Bank District. Entrées include rendang sapi, coconut sauce-marinated beef; udang goreng, sautéed shrimp in oyster sauce with Indonesian butter; and kari ayam nanas, pineapple chicken curry. Warung Café, 118 W. 4th St., Los Angeles, 213-626-0718.
Building on the success of the Westwood and West Hollywood locations, the ITOCHU Group has opened a branch of an emerging chain of stylish Japanese food marts, Famima!!, on the Third Street Promenade. Targeting young urbanites, Famima!! offers everything from sushi, sandwiches and panini to gourmet groceries, anime comic books and digital printing services. Open 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Famima!!, 1348 Third St., Santa Monica, 310-393-2486.
Jamaica Vawter, previously of The Sweet Life Patisserie in Eugene, Oregon, has opened Jamaica’s Cakes with husband James Crist. From scratch, she bakes black-bottom cupcakes; berry butter crunch bars; chocolate- and caramel-dipped shortbread cookies; scones streaked with fruit purée or lemon curd; and a variety of cakes, all decorated with fresh flowers. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jamaica’s Cakes, 11511 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-478-1971. www.jamaicascakes.com.
Gordon Bijelonic, co-owner of Memphis, has launched Citizen Smith, a new “Urban Bistro” along the Cahuenga corridor. Chef Taylor Boudreaux, previously executive chef at Mastro’s Steakhouse, prepares jalapeño macaroni and cheese; a New Orleans-style muffaletta; and maple-chipotle pork chops. Open for dinner until at least 2 a.m. nightly. Citizen Smith, 1602 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood, 323-461-5001.
Bobby Burton, co-founder of Porterhouse Bistro, has opened Aphrodisiac in the old Lunaria space. His playful dishes include crispy penne with crumbled feta; a bone-in Prime New York steak with creamed corn and grilled endive; and the Cupid Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich, a pan-seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras panini with peanut butter and raspberry jam. A private bedroom hosts eight-course meals with wine pairings, served on a king-sized bed, with each dish featuring an aphrodisiac ingredient, a private butler, and a complimentary DVD of your experience. Aphrodisiac, 10351 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-282-8870.
The Farmer’s Daughter Hotel is planning a mid-March opening for their American bistro, Tart. The chef to be is Claude Segal, formerly of The Sunset Room, Drai’s, and the legendary Ma Maison. Tart, 115 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, 323-937-3930.
Richard Shapiro and Murray Wishengrad are planning to
open a branch of The Stand in Century
City in November, on the site of the former ABC Entertainment
Center, which is currently being redeveloped by Gensler
as a mixed-use complex. Expect the same menu as at the
Encino original, including hot dogs, sausages, burgers,
chili, and fruit cobbler.
Nassir Elmachtoub has relocated Emle’s from Carmel after 50 years up north. Just as at the original location, funnel cake-crusted French toast anchors the breakfast menu. For lunch and dinner, Mediterranean-influenced dishes include calamari steak; beef and chicken kebabs; and braised lamb shank in an herb, garlic and wine sauce. For dessert, expect Key lime pie, cheesecake and tiramisu. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Emle’s, 9250 Reseda Blvd. #1, Northridge, 818-772-2203.
Ken Harada has opened Phoreign in the same Sawtelle mini-mall as his other restaurant, Blue Marlin. Vietnamese specialties include chicken, beef and seafood pho, egg rolls, spring rolls, and stir-fried noodle dishes. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Phoreign, 2123 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-477-4885.
Celebrated chef Michael Mina has teamed up with world-renowned designer Tony Chi to create the new Stonehill Tavern, a one-of-a-kind dining experience at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa, just opened on February 8. Mina's Modern American menu, featuring his signature small plate trios, allows guests to enjoy their favorite menu items in three distinct preparations. Chi has created a contemporary, sophisticated dining room that is the perfect setting for Mina’s artful interpretations of classic American Tavern fare. In addition to the handsomely appointed dining room, Stonehill Tavern also offers an outdoor terrace for dinner or cocktails while enjoying a Pacific Ocean sunset; a warm and inviting bar and lounge; and a private, fireside dining room well-suited for larger groups or business dinners requiring more privacy.
Aqua Restaurant & Lounge is a sumptuous subterranean establishment with aquatic touches, including fish tanks and wood floors patterned after a ship’s deck. Chef Ian Kleinman, previously at Emogene Patisserie et Café in Denver, focuses on small plates like shrimp phyllo rolls with citrus risotto and apple cider reduction; goat cheese and dried cherry wontons with tomato jam; and lobster tacos with chipotle cream and jicama orange slaw. Desserts include Hawaiian donuts with jasmine chocolate sauce and crispy cashew caramel ice cream on a warm rum pineapple slice. Scheduled post-dinner entertainment includes DJ sets, jazz and rock music. Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Aqua Restaurant & Lounge, 424 N. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-275-8511.
Melba Rodriguez, previously of King’s Fish House in Long Beach, is preparing healthy California cuisine at Chef Melba’s Bistro. Dishes high in organic ingredients and low in preservatives include a sashimi ahi tower with mango, avocado, basil and chili-infused oil; a baby mache salad with blackberries, spicy caramelized almonds, and poppy seed dressing; and U-10 sea scallops with rock shrimp hash and Thai curry sauce. Chef Melba’s Bistro, 1501 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach, 310-376-2084.
Antonio Viscito, previously of La Luna on Larchmont, has opened Cavi Cucina Italiana. Chef Tonino Cardia prepares family recipes from Sardinia, including rack of baby veal with green peppercorn sauce; linguini with clams and bottarga; and malloreddusu pasta with sausage and tomato sauce. Cavi Cucina Italiana, 23754 Lyons Ave., Newhall, 661-254-2475.
Luca Mandreino, previously of Giorgio Baldi, has opened La Sosta Enoteca. La Sosta means the resting place in Italian. Mandreino personally slices imported cold cuts on an old meat slicer in the dining room. Chef Claudio Colaticchioni prepares Northern Italian classics like gnocchi with lobster sauce, Venetian veal liver sautéed with onions and vinegar, and for dessert, homemade chocolate beignets. To drink, there are currently 30 wines by the glass. La Sosta Enoteca, 2700 Manhattan Ave., Hermosa Beach, 310-318-1556.
Mark Mittleman, chef de cuisine of the upcoming REPUBLIC (see below), also helped develop the menu for the future complex’s casual breakfast and lunch spot, Prana Café. Named for the yoga term meaning “life force,” Prana will offer such dishes as a breakfast spring roll; Hawaiian bread French toast with warm berry compote; and build-your-own omelets with “Flying, Walking, and Swimming” ingredients like chicken apple sausage and smoked salmon. For lunch, there’s a lamb burger and a warm goat cheese salad with candied walnuts and cinnamon oil. Opening soon. Prana Café, 650 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood.
Chris Heyman and Josh Woodward’s Meridian Entertainment, which owns Table 8 and RokBar, has opened L’Scorpion. The menu features Mexican small plates like shrimp and halibut ceviche, chiles rellenos, cheese and potato taquitos, and sopes. There are 120 different tequilas available by the shot. Open 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., Monday through Saturday. L'Scorpion, 6679 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323-464-3026.
Restaurateur Mikayel Israyelyan’s REPUBLIC is slated to open mid-March in the old Bliss space with executive chef Gabe Morales and chef de cuisine Mark Mittleman, both late of The Beverly Hills Hotel’s Polo Lounge. Expect barbecue-braised Kurobuta pork lollipops; surf ‘n’ turf tartar; bacon-wrapped blue-nose bass; mesquite-grilled steaks; and, for dessert, a warm pecan tart with maple ice cream. Design elements include patio cabanas, water features and a 20-foot-tall “Tower of Wine,” with “wine fairies” that float up to retrieve diners’ selections. REPUBLIC will be open nightly for dinner. Republic, 650 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-360-7070.
The recently shuttered Café Veneto is about to become a gastropub called 3rd Stop. Argentine chef Emanuele Candido, who donned the final toque at Café Veneto, will offer small plates like homemade soufflé gnocchi and cheese; seared ahi with a sweet and sour balsamic sauce; fried spinach and ricotta dumplings; and a number of pizzas, including a chocolate hazelnut version for dessert. The establishment will offer 36 beers on tap and remain open nightly until 2 a.m. 3rd Stop, 8636 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, 310-273-3605.
West is an Italian steakhouse set to debut soon on the penthouse floor of the new Hotel Angeleno, with chef Josh Moulton behind the stoves. The former Holiday Inn is targeting a February 4 opening, with the restaurant likely to debut on February 15. Hotel Angeleno, 170 N. Church Ln., Los Angeles, 310-476-6411.
Jason Brown bought out the Briazz sandwich chain and opened three branches of his Seattle-based Organic To Go concept in their place. Offering seasonal, organic food, these casual cafés also deliver to homes and businesses. Dishes include a grilled salmon wrap with honey-lemon vinaigrette, a pear and spinach salad with dried cherries and smoked almonds, basil chicken chili, soups and desserts. Organic To Go, 5757 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 106; 555 W. 5th St., Ste. cc56; 350 S. Grand Ave., Ste. D6, 800-304-4550.
Tim and Liza Goodell’s burger and wine joint, 25 Degrees, is set to debut in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which already houses their Dakota restaurant. Named for the temperature difference between a medium-rare and well-done burger, the eatery will offer sirloin and turkey burgers, fries with garlic-parmesan and lemon-dill dipping sauces, a selection of cheeses and over 50 wines by the half-bottle. 25 Degrees, 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323-785-7244.
Eric Ulmer, who owned Café Beaujolais in Eagle Rock for eight years, has opened Bistro de la Gare in South Pasadena next to the gare (train station in French). Entrées include sautéed salmon in tarragon balsamic sauce, duck breast with honey and balsamic vinegar sauce, and New York steak in cognac and green peppercorn sauce. Open Tuesday-Sunday for dinner. Bistro de la Gare, 921 Meridian Ave., South Pasadena, 626-799-8828.
Chef Daniel Snukal and brother Joshua are transforming the Rocca space into Three on 4th, named for the three alcoholic beverages they’re licensed to serve: beer, wine and saké. “International tapas” blending American, European and Japanese influences will include a burger with wild boar bacon and three cheese; a vegetable pancake with smoked salmon and salmon roe; and a Friday- and Saturday-night special of fried river crabs covered with fleur de sel, sesame seeds and fresh pepper, eaten like chips. The Snukals plan to open in early March. Three on 4th, 1432 4th St., Santa Monica, 310-395-6765.
Surfas, the chef’s choice for specialty foods and cookware dating to 1937, has opened Café Surfas under the direction of executive chef Brandi Quinn, formerly of The Restaurant at the Getty Center. Utilizing ingredients from the adjacent store, menu items include filet mignon chili with Fiscalini Gold cheddar; Asian duck confit salad with pickled ginger and sesame wasabi mustard dressing; and pressed sandwiches such as roasted tomato with grilled fig, Taleggio and Crespi pesto mayo on roasted garlic bread. Sweets include freshly baked cookies, ginger chai brownies and hazelnut pear buttermilk bars. Café Surfas, 8777 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, 310-558-1458.
Chef Adnen Franco and Manager Sean Jemai, former partners at Amori Trattoria in Hermosa Beach, have transferred their Northern Italian concept to Old Town Pasadena’s La Maschera Ristorante. Expect smoked-salmon pizza with mozzarella, goat cheese and dill; zucchini-wrapped sea scallops with mango-lime salsa; and wild mushroom gnocchi with tiger shrimp and sage in a Pinot Grigio sauce. There’s an adjoining wine lounge. La Maschera Ristorante, 82 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, 626-304-0004.
Karen Mikaelian has delivered Scarlet Tea Room to Pasadena. Her five-course “Scarlet Tea Ceremony” includes sorbet, homemade scones with lemon curd and “Scarlet” cream, a selection of tea sandwiches, strawberries Romanoff and a choice of loose teas like Jade Prince oolong and Charlie Chan Cha green tea. Unceremonious items include mascarpone and floral honey with roasted pistachios, and a grilled steak sandwich on flat bread. Scarlet Tea Room, 18 W. Green St., Pasadena, 626-577-0051.
Petros Benekos has opened upscale Greek restaurant Petros in Manhattan Beach’s new Metlox Block development. Chef Yanni Koufodontis prepares food you’d find in Mykonos, such as feta-crusted lamb; pan-roasted halibut with eggplant in a green olive sauce; and lobster spaghetti with chili, tomato, feta and basil. For dessert, there’s rice pudding brûlée and bougatsa, a cream-filled semolina crust. Koufodontis previously cooked at Spago and Maple Drive. Petros, 451 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach, 310-545-4100.
Executive chef Francisco Chaidez, previously at P6 in Westlake Village, and sous chef Terry Fortia, a New Orleans resident and victim of Hurricane Katrina, work together behind the stoves at Memphis, a Southern eatery situated in a 19th-century Hollywood schoolhouse. Dishes include Andouille-spiked red beans and rice, cornmeal-coated catfish, house-smoked baby back ribs and banana bread pudding. Memphis, 6541 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323-465-8600.
La Loggia chef/owner Frank Leon has opened Next Door Tapas Lounge—next door to its sister restaurant La Loggia, as its name implies. Open-faced sandwiches called “montaditos” blend toppings like mozzarella, Serrano ham and truffle butter. “New tapas” include “pockets” of Serrano ham stuffed with artichoke and Manchego cheese; kataifi-wrapped langoustine in a poached lettuce cream sauce; and filet mignon with three sauces—romesco, Roquefort foam and grilled foie gras. Sunday is paella night. For dessert, the banana tart Tatin comes with lemon cinnamon sauce. Open nightly for dinner, Leon plans to begin serving lunch in mid-January. Next Door Tapas Lounge, 11814 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818-985-9222.
Nita Millstein’s Southern-tinged eatery, The Peach Café, occupies a 1920s garage and displays Robert Brady’s contemporary art. For breakfast, look for buttermilk blueberry pancakes; Bourbon mashed sweet potatoes; and Belgian waffles made with Nueske bacon, cornmeal and maple syrup. Weekends offer chocolate waffles. For lunch, the HDAD is an open-faced sandwich topped with apple butter, country ham and Brie. Homemade goodies include sour cream streusel coffee cake, pecan pie and a coffee blend that took four months to perfect. On Fridays, “Family Festival” dinner features homey specials like pepper steak, pecan crusted halibut and meatloaf. The Peach Café, 141 E. Colorado Blvd., Monrovia, 626-599-9092, www.thepeachcafe.com.
Bella (1708 Las Palmas Ave., Hollywood, 323-468-8815) co-owner J.T. Torregiani, property owner Adolpho Suaya and James Sinclair of Element nightclub plan to open La Cantina in January at the corner of Hollywood and Hudson. Half outdoors, half indoors, the restaurant will serve “easy Mexican food” until 4 a.m.
Chef/owner Michael Wilson, formerly of 5 Dudley, anticipates a mid-March opening for Wilson’s in Culver City. Studio Pali Fekete architects have designed a space to highlight an international concept that will likely include lobster wrapped in pickled pear; duck griddle cakes; curry-dusted sweetbreads on roasted pumpkin; venison strudel with Brussels sprouts, plums and chestnuts; and baby pineapple pot pies for dessert. Wilson’s, 8609 Washington Blvd., Culver City.
French 75 Bistro is expanding into the Valley in January 2006. The Parisian-inspired menu will offer traditional bistro fare such as escargots, steak frites and French onion soup while the atmosphere offers red leather bother, stamped tin seilings and French Bohemian light fixtures. The hours will be Monday-Wednesday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Thursday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sunday 5 p.m.-10 p.m. French 75 Bistro, The Pinnacle, 3400 W. Olive Ave., Burbank, 818-955-5100.
Fabina Rasulov’s Bird Cage features four rooms, including one with bird murals and a live African grey parrot, plus a downstairs “aquarium patio” and hookah lounge. The menu changes daily and offers “international fusion” cuisine like a smoked-fish trio on a potato pancake, potato-crusted chicken stuffed with mushrooms, and a grilled jerk pork chop with lemon risotto and “coyote cream.” Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Bird Cage, 11282 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818-980-0099.
Beachwood Sparks drummer Aaron Sperske is manning the stoves at The Trails, a refurbished Griffith Park snack stand. Savory creations include steak-and-onion pies, vegan chili and the pastry-wrapped Snake Dog. For dessert, Sperske’s chocolate cookies come in the shape of the California bear, and his pumpkin pie has a graham cracker crust. The Trails, 2333 Fern Dell Dr., Los Angeles, 323-871-2102.
Restaurant Halie is now Madeleines Restaurant & Wine Bistro, named for Proust’s favorite baked good. Chef Claud Beltran is preparing bouillabaisse, roasted chicken on fried cheese grits and roast pork tenderloin with olive oil mashed potatoes. For dessert, there’s a crème brûlée trio: ginger, chocolate and coffee. There are also more wines by the glass than anywhere else in Pasadena. Madeleines Restaurant & Wine Bistro, 1030 E. Green St., Pasadena, 626-440-7087.
Galanga Thai Fusion is a funky wooden shack that features a corrugated metal roof, an outdoor patio and Thai cuisine with Chinese, Japanese and French touches. Highlights include chicken dumplings with panang dipping sauce; Granny Smith almond salad with peanut coconut vinaigrette; spicy basil duck; and, for dessert, almond banana roll. Galanga Thai Fusion, 7440 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-851-4355.
Gil Ran and Alex Shteyman’s Synergy Café offers mini omelettes cooked in a raclette, a grilled cheese with honey, mustard, gouda and mozzarella and hundreds of desserts. To drink, organic teas are served in an “Australian press” and coffee is made using a 19th-century “balance brewer.” There’s also a stage for jazz performances, poetry readings and DJ sets. Synergy Café, 4455 Overland Ave., Culver City, 310-559-8868.
The former Pinot Hollywood has been redesigned by Patina Group as eat. on sunset. Chef Gary Menes, previously of Firefly, prepares “traditional” and “modern” small plates and entrées. An open-faced “ham and eggs” sandwich and red wine-braised pot roast are “traditional,” while lobster and pomegranate salad with citrus vinaigrette and a smoked then grilled Kurobuta pork chop with black-eyed peas and buttermilk onion rings fall under “modern.” Desserts include white chocolate rice pudding and blood orange panna cotta. Open for lunch, the restaurant will add dinner service beginning January 3. eat. on sunset, 1448 N. Gower St., Los Angeles, 323-461-8800.
Mentioned in the famous in the ‘80s Don Henley’s hit, the Sunset Grill has just been renovated both in style and in food by restaurateur Deep Sethi who also owns Nirvana and Bombay Palace. The new look includes a sun-filled dining room and rooftop patio. The menu is café inspired offering paninis, salads and sandwiches with an emphasis on healthy, fresh and unique foods. Try the pesto chicken panini with avocado, sun-dried tomato, basil pesto and mozzarella or perhaps the Sunset chicken salad made with Tandoori chicken. Then, refresh yourself with a variety of freshly squeezed juices like guava, strawberry and banana or just pure, sweet watermelon. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 7439 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-851-5557.
British mega-chef Gordon Ramsay plans to open a restaurant in 2006 in West Hollywood’s Bel Age, a hotel that will soon be renamed the London LA by its new owner, LXR Luxury Resorts. The restaurant’s name and concept have yet to be announced.
Josh Evans and wife Kate have opened The Crêpe Vine bistro & wine Bar in Old Town Pasadena. Chef Dan Siegel, previously of Café Bizou in Santa Monica, prepares French classics like steak (filet mignon) frites and coq au vin, plus savory buckwheat crêpes. Pastry chef Lokelani Alabanza adds such desserts as sweet crêpes, amaretto bread pudding and a “brûlée duo.” The Crêpe Vine, 36 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-796-7250.
Norm Theard, brother Paul and fiancée Amy Lipp have opened The Creole Chef in Baldwin Hills. Norm cooks New Orleans classics like crawfish étouffée, red beans and rice, and po’ boys. Shrimp Yvonne is a version of New Orleans barbecued shrimp, named for Mom. For dessert, expect bread pudding with bourbon sauce and, on Sunday, beignets. The Creole Chef, 3715 Santa Rosalia Dr., Los Angeles, 323-294-2433.
Oliver De Mori has opened Sopra in West Hollywood, featuring Italian small plates called spuntini—along with a view of the Hollywood Hills. Chef Carlo Romeri, previously of i Cugini, offers Kobe beef carpaccio, marinated anchovies, spicy mussels with chili peppers and, for dessert, truffle cake filled with chocolate mousse. Open nightly. Sopra, 8840 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-492-0880.
Chabuya is the first American venture from Japanese chef Yasuji Morizumi. This ultra-modern “Tokyo Noodle Bar” serves ramen in a house-made pork or chicken broth, char-broiled with bacon and onion, and cold with vegetables. For non-noodlers, there are chicken and pork “Asian Bun Sandwiches,” gyoza and both pork and shrimp shiu mai. Chabuya, 2002 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-473-1013.
Occidental College grads Bryce Rademan and Robert Wicklund are looking at a mid-December opening for their Eagle Rock doner kebab restaurant, Spitz. In addition to the spit-shaved beef-and-lamb mix, expect falafel balls and waffle fries. For dessert, 32 flavors of gelato and sorbet join cinnamon-sugar pita strips with chocolate dipping sauce. Spitz, 2506 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-257-5600.
Natally Raisin has opened the “raw fusion” Jade Café in Silver Lake, with a menu designed by Lesa Carlson. Serving food that’s not heated above 110 degrees, Carlson’s dishes blend Mexican, Italian and Thai elements. Big sellers include ginger coconut noodles, squash blossoms stuffed with almond cream cheese and persimmon ice cream. Jade Café, 1521 Griffith Park Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-667-1551.
Stefano De Lorenzo and chef Antonio Mure of Venice Beach’s Piccolo have opened Italian restaurant La Botte near the Third Street Promenade. Amidst floors and walls made from wine barrel wood, Mure rolls branzino carpaccio with sea urchin, prepares red beet tagliolini with homemade quail sausages and roasts colossal veal shanks for two. La Botte, 620 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-576-3072.
Chef John Enright is serving small plates at the modern Zinc Bar in Manhattan Beach’s Shade Hotel. Highlights include duck confit wontons, artichoke brie fondue and a trio of mini burgers—sirloin with Grafton cheddar, seared ahi and ground chicken. Zinc offers sixty wines by the glass and the “martini lunch,” consisting of smoked bacon, feta cheese, black olives and Siroc vodka. Zinc Bar, 1221 N. Valley Dr., Manhattan Beach, 310-546-4995.
Martin Garcia and Alfonzo Ramires plan to open a Pasadena
outpost of their Lynwood Mexican restaurant, La
Huasteca, by mid-December. The branch will
offer the same moles and seafood specialties, plus some
dishes Garcia and Ramires can’t sell, price-wise,
in South Los Angeles, like lamb rack with mint jalapeño
sauce and swordfish with pineapple jalapeño sauce.
La Huasteca, 49 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena.
Tiffini and Nik Soforenko are about to open Yummy Cupcakes in Burbank. Specializing in New York-style cupcakes, they’ll bake traditional flavors like vanilla vanilla and peanut butter chocolate chip, plus the more unusual banana split and S’mores. There’s even a cocktail line: margarita, cosmopolitan, mojito and piña colada. Yummy Cupcakes, 2918 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, 818-558-1080.
Milton Sznaidr’s just-opened Solar de Cahuenga offers organic coffee drinks and 27 kinds of crêpes, sweet and savory. “Suzy’s Own” is named for Milton’s mother and blends spinach and ground beef. Solar Coffee utilizes tea, espresso, milk and cinnamon. There’s an outdoor patio, tables and couches inside. Open 365 days a year, 6 a.m. to midnight weekdays, 24 hours on weekends. Solar de Cahuenga, 1847 Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood, 323-467-7510.
To capitalize on foot traffic along the Cahuenga Corridor, Eric Fleming has opened E’s Fish & Shrimp. This takeout-only spot offers lightly fried seafood: shrimp, catfish, red snapper and whiting. Southern sides include macaroni and cheese, pork-seasoned collard greens and black-eyed peas. Eric’s mother supplied the recipes; she had two seafood restaurants in Charlotte. E’s Fish & Shrimp, 1645 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood, 323-462-2898
Maury Rubin hopes to open the West Coast outpost of
his New York institution, City Bakery,
at Brentwood Country Mart by early December. Using Santa
Monica Farmers Market ingredients, the retail bakery
will also feature a cafeteria and “short order”
seating area. Expect Rubin’s famous hot chocolate,
pretzel croissants and seasonal tarts. City Bakery New
York’s Ilene Rosen will plan the savory menu,
including an advanced “salad bar.” City
Bakery, 26th St. & San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood.
Kenny Cordova’s eponymous Bodega de Cordova is a traditional Spanish tapas and wine bar near the Third Street Farmers Market. No food is cooked, and everything is imported from Spain, including jamon Serrano, Pamplona chorizo, Manchego cheese and three kinds of Sevilla olives. Cordova offers exclusively Spanish wines, many from smaller regions like Jumilla, Alella and Yecla. The bar is cash only and closed on Mondays. Bodega De Cordova, 361 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, 323-951-1969.
Benny Adasha opened the modern-looking O4U in Beverly Hills with three friends: Donna Miller, Elias Amkie and his wife Liora, the chef. Her Mediterranean specialties include turkey and lamb shawarma, veal steak, potato cigars and, for dessert, house-made baklava. They’re certified Kosher by the Kehilla of Los Angeles. O4U, 214 S. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-550-8655.
Ben Ford, chef/owner of the late Chadwick, has re-emerged with Ford’s Filling Station. Slated for a late December or early January opening, the Culver City gastropub will serve charcuterie, cheeses, organic fish, poultry and produce. Utilizing two wood-burning ovens, Ford will serve lunch or brunch daily and dinner six nights a week. Ford’s Filling Station, 9531 Culver Blvd., Culver City.
Bowery is a New York-style bar and bistro named for one of the least-used subway stops in Manhattan. Chef David Bonfiglio, formerly of Savoy and Triomphe in New York, features a roasted chicken breast French dip and daily blackboard specials like moules frites, coq au vin and New York cheesecake. The kitchen stays open until 2 a.m. daily. Bowery, 6268 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, 323-465-3400.
Melody Dosch gave up law to open Artisan Cheese Gallery in Studio City with her parents, Fred and Kay Heinemann. Sophia Villareal, formerly at Greens in San Francisco, prepares panini that incorporate American artisanal cheeses. A raspberry chocolate truffle from in-house chocolate maker Robert Spano accompanies each sandwich. Monthly cheese and chocolate tastings just began. Artisan Cheese Gallery, 12023 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818-505-0207.
Andre Guerrero, chef/owner of Max and Senor Fred, is targeting a January 2006 opening for his Eagle Rock “slow fast food” concept, The Oinkster. Made-from-scratch classics will include house-cured pastrami, barbecued pulled pork, brined rotisserie chicken, Nebraska Angus burgers and twice-cooked Belgian fries. A condiment bar will feature chipotle ketchup and garlic mayonnaise. And to drink: orange lemonade. The Oinkster, 2005 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles.
Audrey Bernstein has opened Bluebird Bakery in Culver City. Amidst a “Vermont country store” atmosphere, Bernstein bakes red velvet cupcakes, pies, crisps and banana bread. For lunch, expect grilled pizzas, a Reuben with Gruyère and a tuna melt on potato dill bread. Open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday. Bluebird Bakery, 8572 National Blvd., Culver City, 310-841-0939.
Lino Savoia, chef/owner of Caffè Delfini for sixteen years, has opened Lino in the former Giorgio’s space in Malibu. He and his wife Sam are using the old sheriff’s station to serve Mediterranean tapas, including daily seafood specials and dishes like mashed garlic yam samosas, grilled polenta with gorgonzola and black truffles, and lamb skewers. Lino makes desserts in-house. Lino, 21337 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu, 310-456-1221.
Sokyo, a Japanese small-plates restaurant from David and Michelle Myers (Sona, Boule), is set to open in June 2006, replacing Noura Café (8479 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood). Sushi Nozawa’s Kazunori Nozawa will serve as a consultant. Menu categories will include salty and crunchy, raw, robata, vegetables and bowls, with mini-sweets from Michelle. To drink: sakés and Japanese-inspired cocktails. The atmosphere will be high-energy, with a patio. Sokyo is a contraction of “So Tokyo” and translates from Japanese to "grand undertaking" or "master plan."
Bella is the new venture from Dolce Group (Geisha House, Dolce) and J.T. Torregiani. Chef Angelo Traversa, formerly of Allegria in Malibu, turns out Southern Italian standards like carpaccio, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parmigiana and tiramisu. The space features high brick walls, silver wallpaper and Murano chandeliers and is open for lunch and dinner daily. Bella, 6639 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323-468-8815.
Cody Diegel, formerly of The Belmont, is serving “classic
American” food at Magnolia. Look
for an iceberg wedge, mac 'n' cheese, pork chop, and
for dessert, a mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwich.
The décor is Art Deco inspired, with a patio
out back and a 3 a.m. closing time to capitalize on
the neighborhood bar scene.
Massively popular in Japan, the first L.A. branch of Beard Papa Sweets Café just hit Hollywood & Highland. Specializing in fresh vanilla cream puffs, they’ll add creams like green tea, chocolate and sesame by November. A second Los Angeles branch will open in Gardena’s Marukai Market in November. The Japanese character with the white beard and pipe is designed to invoke Santa Claus. Beard Papa Sweets Café, 6801 Hollywood Blvd. #153, Hollywood, 323-462-6100.
Helen Yoo and husband Young are fusing Hawaiian and
Korean "eats" at their Ventura Boulevard mini-mall
café, Ohana BBQ. The menu offers
grilled short ribs, BBQ chicken, kim chee, bibimbap,
pork katsu, chicken potstickers and Hawaiian ices. Ohana
means family in Hawaiian. Open for lunch and dinner
Monday through Saturday.
Atwater Village is about two weeks away from the opening of Indochine Vien, a contemporary orange-hued café offering Vietnamese classics like fried spring rolls, several variations of pho and banh mi. Rice and rice noodle dishes will be available with grilled pork, chicken, shrimp and vegetarian options. They’ll serve lunch and dinner. Indochine Vien, 3110 Glendale Ave., Los Angeles, 323-667-9591,
Taking its name from the Japanese word for "naked," Hadaka Sushi has opened in the space formerly occupied by Wacky Waffles. This Sunset Strip restaurant serves Japanese and French inspired dishes with a sexy twist. Some of the menu items from Chef Edward Brik (Tiger Lily Restaurant Bar, Blowfish Sushi To Die For) are labeled "Naughty," "Nice" or "XXX," including aptly named creations such as "Aphrodisiac on a Half Shell" (oysters with a spicy wasabi mignotte), "Nice Rack" (grilled rack of lamb with sweet and sour eggplant and coriander-mint vinaigrette) and "The Big Unit" (marinated Szechwan grilled rib-eye with wasabi mashed potatoes and crispy leeks). A private room is available for events and parties and offers special menus and entertainment such as "body sushi." Hadaka Sushi, 8226 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-822-2601.
Bret Thompson, previously the corporate executive chef for the Patina Group, has launched Milk with former Patina pastry chef Richard Yoshimura. Expect a variety of sundaes, shakes, malts, floats, ice cream sandwiches and bon bons called “milkies.” There are also baked goods like glazed red berry scones, “ooey gooey double chocolate cookies” and blue velvet cake. Savory offerings include hot pressed sandwiches, salads and seasonal soups. Open daily, 7 a.m.–10 p.m., and Fri.-Sat. until 11 p.m. Milk, 7290 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-939-6455.
Hokusai recently opened in the former home of The Continental. Chef Charlie Nagase prepares dishes like Kobe cheek stew, with red wine and veal stock; octopus sashimi with chili olive oil; and roasted salmon in spicy lobster bisque sauce. Sushi chef Koji Matsuzaki oversees a variety of sushi, sashimi and rolls. Open for lunch Mon.-Fri. and for dinner nightly. Hokusai, 8400 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 323-782-9717.
Bastide owner Joe Pytka has hired Walter Manzke, previously at Patina in Los Angeles and Bouchée in Carmel, as executive chef. The restaurant’s long-awaited re-opening is slated for this summer. Bastide, 8475 Melrose Pl., West Hollywood.
Simon to Make Los Angeles Debut
Bistro Provence Bows
Cucina Paradiso Returns
Chris Due for Pasadena
Barbecue for the Valley
8 Debuts in Agoura Hills
Café de Chaya Debuts
Soon to Thousand Oaks
Steakhouse of its Own
Opens at Long Last
A Daily Grill has opened in the Pegasus Building downtown. The look of this one, open for lunch on weekdays and dinner nightly, is more upscale than the other locations, but the menu will be the same. Daily Grill, 612 S. Flower St., downtown L.A., 213-622-4500.
French 75 Bistro is expanding. Owner David Wilhelm of Culinary Adventures (with Orange County restaurants Savannah Chop House, Rouge Bistro and Chat Noir to his credits) is opening a French 75 Bistro in Tustin this summer and he just signed leases on locations in Culver City and Pasadena for two more. No firm opening dates for the latter two yet, but we’ll keep you posted. French 75 Bistro, 1464 S. PCH, Laguna Beach, 949-494-8444.
Wilshire Restaurant, which was slated to open back in December, is finally nearing a real opening. The target date, as we were told by GM and partner Bill Bonbrest, was the end of May. We’ll keep you apprised of the final plans of chef Chris Blobaum and crew in the old Knoll’s Black Forest Inn spot in Santa Monica as we get the details.
Terry Marvin and Meer Pollak have joined the L.A. cupcake fray with My Little Cupcake. Pastry chef Kirby Galli, who previously worked at Surfas, bakes cakes in flavors like peanut butter, lemon meringue, red velvet, and “Hi Hat”—chocolate marshmallow. The décor is kid-friendly, featuring blue walls with bright-colored polkadots. Open Tuesday-Sunday. My Little Cupcake, 11925 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818-985-2253.
Frank Sadeghian has opened Minotaure, a tapas restaurant and wine bar, in the old Chloe space. A Picasso fan, Sadeghian features framed Picasso prints on the walls, plus hand-drawings on the ceiling and walls. Chef Severiano Morales, previously of Geisha House, prepares shrimp and swordfish ceviche, tortilla Española with goat cheese, paella Valenciana and tiger shrimp with balsamic and coconut sauce. To drink, there are Spanish wines by the glass. Flamenco guitarists perform Friday and Saturday nights. Open 5:30 p.m.-midnight nightly. Minotaure, 333 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey, 310-306-6050.
California Chicken Café has opened a sixth branch of their healthy fast food concept in Venice. Specializing in rotisserie chicken, the order-at-the-counter café also offers salads, wraps and a number of sides. A seventh branch will hit Woodland Hills in early 2007. California Chicken Café, 424 Lincoln Blvd., Venice, 310-392-3500; 22333 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, www.californiachickencafe.com.
Stephane Strouk has opened a branch of Farmers Market stalwart, French Crêpe Company, on the fourth floor of Hollywood & Highland. The menu is the same, specializing in crêpes like La Normandie—chicken, button mushrooms, carrots and green beans in white Dijon sauce—and La Savoyarde—raclette and Emmenthaler cheese, dry cured ham and cornichons. There are also waffles topped with apples and cinnamon, sandwiches like the croque monsieur, a niçoise salad and French onion soup. French Crepe Company, Hollywood & Highland, Hollywood, 323-960-0933.
Specializing in French dip sandwiches filled with roast beef, pork, lamb, pastrami and more, Sherman Oaks’ own, The Dip, has also taken up shop at Hollywood & Highland. In addition to the dips, there are also deep-fried hot dogs topped with chili or pastrami, and coming soon, breakfast, burgers and desserts. The Dip, Hollywood & Highland, Hollywood, 323-871-0888.
With locations already in London, Seoul and Tokyo Sushi Hiroba opened July 19 in Hollywood, offering conveyer belt sushi, tempura and Japanese dishes. Think black rice with sautéed foie gras and “sweet sauce;” crispy popcorn shrimp with ponzu butter sauce; salmon sashimi with crispy ginger and tofu purée; and a Monkey Roll with banana, freshwater eel and avocado. Open for lunch Monday-Saturday and for dinner nightly. Sushi Hiroba, 776 Vine St., Hollywood, 323-962-7237.
Fred Bambadji has opened Punch Grill, an American bistro in the former Royal Star Seafood space. Chef Peter Sang, who worked with The Patina Group and at The Mirage in Las Vegas, is preparing short rib ravioli with fume horseradish cream sauce, skillet roasted shrimp and mussels with garlic butter, filet mignon garlic chili and a lamb and feta burger. The stylish space features earth tones, a wine cellar room and a lounge with acid-stained floors. Open for lunch and dinner daily. Punch Grill, 3001 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-828-8812.
venerable downtown Redwood Bar, which in its heyday
hosted the likes of Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy and
gangster Mickey Cohen, will re-open its doors as the
newly imagined Redwood Bar and Grill in September. Boasting a nautical-themed décor
with a treasure trove of pirate kitsch, the restaurant
was designed by Fred Sutherland, known for his design
62. The kitchen, manned by Jason Michaud of Cobras
and Matadors and serving until 4 a.m., will turn
out specialties from the sea such as fish and chips,
a fried catfish burger, grilled stuffed squid and pan
seared scallop risotto, as well as comfort food favorites
like mac ‘n’ cheese and grilled maple glazed
pork chops. Rum-based brews named after rigging knots
will be available at the bar. The Redwood Bar and Grill,
316 W. 2nd St., Los Angeles, 213-680-2600, www.theredwoodbar.com.
David Wilhelm’s Culinary Pleasures, Inc. opened
the latest French 75 Bistro at Westfield
Century City mall. Named for a 75mm gun that turned
the tide against ermany in World War I, the restaurant
will feature leather booths, stamped tin ceilings, a
red glass bar and patio seating. Chef Ryan Adams, who
has been with Culinary Adventures for six years, will
oversee a menu of bistro classics like French onion
soup, shrimp en cassolette, “free range”
Burgundy escargots, prosciutto wrapped scallops and
a selection of Prime steaks. For dessert, think hot
chocolate soufflé for two. Open daily for lunch
and dinner. French 75 Bistro, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd.,
Century City, 310-788-0700.
Adam Fleischman and Keith Fox have partnered on BottleRock, a casual wine bar and shop that opened on August 25. There are 20 wines by the glass, build-your-own flight and any bottle in the store is fair game, as long as you commit to two glasses. Chef Jason Travi, previously of La Terza and Spago Beverly Hills, is prepares small plates like marinated Italian anchovies with arugula and red onion, a caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes and burrata and a panini with piquillo peppers, manchego and harissa-honey aïoli. There is also Paul Bertolli salumi and an array of cheeses. BottleRock, 3847 Main St., Culver City, 310-836-9463.
Baran Restaurant is turning out traditional
Persian cuisine amidst stunning modern décor.
Expect slatted wood, red panels with calligraphy Farsi,
elaborate metalwork shaped like branches and marsh grass
and an intricate flower-shaped chandelier. Dishes include
chicken kebab served with sweet and sour cherry rice,
Cornish game hen kebab, broiled whitefish, and for dessert,
Persian ice cream and honey-dipped fritters known as
bamieh. On Friday and Saturday nights, there is Gypsy
flamenco dancing. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Baran
Restaurant, 1916 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-475-4500.
Asian Tapas Bar is serving small plates inspired
by yatai—Asian street vendors. Chef Koji Miyamoto,
previously of Sushi
Roku and Koi,
is stuffing mushrooms with shrimp and spicy tuna, pairing
tuna sashimi with quail eggs, and grilling Jidori chicken
and barbecue eel. There is also grilled shrimp with
sesame salt sauce, creamy chili soft shell crab, and
for dessert, house-made crème brulée.
The décor is red and black, reflecting Thailand
and Malaysia. Open for lunch Monday-Friday and nightly
for dinner. Yatai Asian Tapas Bar, 8535 Sunset Blvd.,
West Hollywood 310-289-0030.
Dennis Ofsthun and Marco Gonzalez, previously of Rib Ticklers, have opened Willy’s Smokehouse, a barbecue establishment and grill named for the late Tacoma pitmaster Willy Harris. The menu features 'que favorites like pulled pork, baby back ribs, tri-tip and brisket. Sauces come in regular, spicy and “turbo.” Barbecue alternatives include pulled pork quesadillas, shrimp sautéed in white wine, butter and garlic sauce and warm slices of pecan pie. Willy’s Smokehouse, 28435 Roadside Dr., Agoura Hills, 818-991-7227.
After a $500 million renovation, Westfield Topanga mall will soon house a trio of new dining options. By mid-October, Fran Berger and Hans Frederich Goplen will open a third location of The Farm of Beverly Hills, featuring beef, turkey and veggie burgers, plus the restaurant's renowned brownies. Also slated for mid-October, an express version of Coral Tree Café will be located in the food court, offering the same style of organic, casual dining as the three other locations. In January, Bay Area restaurateurs Eduardo Rallo and wife Sylvia will open Amaranta Cocina Mexicana, contributing authentic Mexican food. Westfield Topanga, 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park; The Farm of Beverly Hills, 818-888-6738.
Lenny Young, Andrew Gould and Stephanie Meckler have partnered on T on Fairfax, a modern teahouse that offers over 100 organic teas, plus coffee from Portland’s Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Gould and consulting chef Gloria Felix designed a vegetarian menu that features sandwiches on fresh-baked breads: English cheddar and date chutney on whole grain, egg salad and watercress on country white, and Manchego with fig on pain de mie. A four-bean medley is bathed in tarragon cumin dressing and kale highlights peanut salad. A live DJ blares beats on Friday and Saturday nights and during Sunday afternoon tea service. Open daily from morning until late night. T on Fairfax, 435 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, 323-782-0695.
Little Next Door is a gourmet store that just hatched next to The Little Door restaurant. Chef Nicholas Peter cooks for both establishments. Sweets include macaroons, a black walnut chocolate tart, rhubarb pie and Myers Rum coconut cheesecake with gingersnap crust, plus imported chocolates and candies. Savory items include small sandwiches like grilled wild salmon with romesco sauce and ahi tuna tartar with hummus and fennel. There are fresh croissants, breads like olive batard and raisin walnut and a daily selection of charcuterie, cheeses and terrines. There’s even a small wine shop. Open daily from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Little Next Door, 8142 W. Third St., Los Angeles, 323-951-1210.
Canelé opened in mid-September in the former Osteria Nonni space. Corina Weibel, formerly sous chef at Lucques and Jane Choi, formerly of Balthazar and Pastis, offer market-inspired Mediterranean dishes. The seasonal menu is written on a blackboard and may include seared calamari in lime juice, the caramelized onion and olive tart known as pissaladiére and an herb-roasted chicken with ratatouille. Upon exiting, each diner is given a warm version of the restaurant’s namesake pastry. Open for dinner Tuesday-Sunday. Canelé, 3219 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-666-7133.
Vertical Wine Bistro, slated to open this month, will offer small plate food prepared by chef Sara Levine and feature over 400 different selections of wine, many available by the glass. There will also be flights and vertical selections by the glass. Vertical Wine Bistro, 70 North Raymond Ave., Pasadena.
Circa 55, named for the year The Beverly Hilton opened, has replaced Griff’s as the hotel’s poolside restaurant. Chef Sean Dent, previously of Citrus, prepares California cuisine. His breakfasts include peppercorn smoked salmon and brioche French toast with Turkish apricot compote. At lunch and dinner, expect sautéed John Dory with crab tabbouleh, prime steaks cooked in the 1700-degree broiler, bone-in pork loin with caramel ginger apple butter, and artichoke ravioli with pancetta and Arbequina olives. Open daily for breakfast, Monday-Saturday for lunch, nightly for dinner, and for Sunday brunch. Circa 55, 9876 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-887-6055.
Jonathan Weiss has opened Granville Café, a casual gourmet restaurant in downtown Burbank. Chef Glenda Galvan prepares an eclectic menu of sandwiches, salads and soups, plus a lobster quesadilla with mango relish, root beer-marinated baby back ribs, rib eye stew topped with Point Reyes blue cheese and The Full Monty pizza, topped with pastrami, andouille sausage, pepperoni, button mushrooms and caramelized onions. For dessert, chef Galvan prepares a birch beer float and three-berry shortcake. Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Granville Café, 121 N. San Fernando Blvd., Burbank, 818-848-4726.
Bob “Smokin’ Jack” Krauss and wife Pam Taylor have opened the first L.A. County location of their Kansas City-style barbecue establishment, Smokin’ Jack’s. The meats are slow-smoked for 15 hours using hickory and pecan wood, then further flavored with Bob’s three sauces: Sweet & Smokey, Fire House or Hot House. The meats are beef brisket, tri tip, chicken, twice-smoked ham, sausage, baby back and spare ribs. Alternatives include deep fried pickles, hobo chili, a 32-ounce pork chop with spicy apricot sauce and for dessert, pecan pie. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Smokin’ Jack’s, 220 N. San Fernando Blvd., Burbank, 818-842-RIBS.
Chef-owner Laurent Masliah has opened the Kosher French café, A Cow Jumped Over the Moon, in the ritzy Rodeo Collection. Dishes include savory and sweet crepes; raclette; fondue; a brie and honey sandwich; and a beet salad with warm goat cheese, spicy candied walnuts and rosemary honey dressing. For dessert, there’s a floating island and a crème brulée trio: lavender, rosemary, and vanilla. Open Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. A Cow Jumped Over the Moon, 421 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-274-4269.
Mozza, the joint venture from epicurean superstars
Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich,
will begin taking reservations the week of November
13. Pizzas will include Margherita with mozzarella di
bufala, lamb quarters with cacao di Roma, and lardo
with rosemary. There will also be panini, insalate,
carne, bruschette, antipasti and Piatti del Giorno like
crispy duck legs with lentils and saba on Mondays and
lasagna al forno on Sundays. Osteria Mozza, the ownership
group’s more ambitious restaurant, is expected
to open next door in the first quarter of 2007. Matt
Molina, previously of Campanile and Del
Posto, is the chef for both restaurants. The pastry
chef is Dahlia Narvarez, formerly of The Conga Room
and Campanile. Pizzeria Mozza, 641 N. Highland Ave.,
Los Angeles, 323-297-0101; Osteria Mozza, 6602 Melrose
Ave., Los Angeles, 323-297-0100.
Enriquez, who ran the legendary Cuban restaurant La
Bodeguita Del Medio in Havana from 1990-2000, and who
expanded the concept internationally, has opened La
Bodeguita de Pico in Los Angeles. Chef/general
manager Joe Enriquez is cooking fried bananas stuffed
with ground beef, fried pork chunks with Mojo Creole,
roast chicken cooked in a “special secret sauce,”
grilled shrimp marinated in rum, and for dessert, papaya
chunks with cream cheese. La Bodeguita de Pico, 5047
W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-937-CUBA.
Steve Scarduzio and business partner Tommy Saboni, previously the maitre d' at The Palm in West Hollywood, have opened Scarboni New York Lobster & Steakhouse in the old Pentola space. The restaurant is an amalgamation of their last names. The food includes prime steaks, lobsters flown in daily from Nova Scotia, Italian dishes, and chocolate thunder cake and imported New York cheesecake for dessert. The décor is reminiscent of a 1930’s New York saloon, with wood paneling and white tiles. Open Mon.-Fri. for lunch and nightly for dinner. Scarboni New York Lobster & Steakhouse, 312 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-393-2288.
Pastry chef Darby Aldaco and business partner Jennyfer Rodgers of SweetCake Desserts plan to open SweetCake: A Dessert Parlor on La Brea in February 2007. Small bite desserts will include non-alcoholic, parfait-like shooters; tarts in flavors such as Meyer lemon, chocolate caramel, and champagne ganache; and cakes with three distinctive design aesthetics: punched-out polka dot, whimsical floral and classic white or dark chocolate. The contemporary “French pop art” space will house a private salon for private tastings or wedding tastings. Platine Cookies and Little Flower Candy Co. will share the location. SweetCake: A Dessert Parlor, 633 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles.
Owner John Pena offers “Latin Asian Fusion” at Vive, in the old Nonya space. Chef Micah Fields prepares dishes like jalapeno scallop ceviche with pepper relish, spiced cheese empanadas with plantains; ginger and garlic lamb with sesame vinegar; and for dessert, coconut crème brulee with shaved coconut and lemongrass. Open daily at 4 p.m. Vive, 61 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, 626-583-8483.
The second Los Angeles location of Eric Kayser’s Breadbar is finally open on the first floor of the Westfield Century City mall. With a menu identical to the Third Street Breadbar location, expect the same fresh-baked breads, tarts, pastries, sandwiches and salads. Open daily from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Breadbar, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Century City, 310-277-3770.
Chef-owner Larkin Mackey and partner-manager Joshua McBride plan to open a contemporary soul food restaurant called Larkin's in Eagle Rock on January 1. According to Chef Mackey, the renovated 1911 Craftsman house will have a wrap-around porch and a “Harlem-renaissance juke-joint kind of feel.” Chef Mackey will tweak old family recipes on dishes like fried chicken, candied yam ravioli, macaroni and cheese, and for dessert, Mexican chocolate-sweet potato pie. Larkin’s, 1496 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-254-0934.
Tommy LeVasseur and Ray Franco have opened Tommy Ray’s, offering Mediterranean-influenced California cuisine. Chef Marianne Zdobysz, previously of Chez Shea and Queen City Grill in Seattle, is cooking skillet-smoked salmon, cornmeal-coated scallops, roasted chicken with jerk sauce, grilled filet mignon with roasted shiitake mushrooms, and for dessert, butterscotch pot au crème with malt whiskey cream. Open daily from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tommy Ray’s, 12345 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818-506-2412.
David Myers of Sona and Kazunori Nozawa of Sushi Nozawa have scrapped plans to open a Japanese pub called Sokyo in the old Noura Café space. Myers will instead use the space for a “modern brasserie” named Comme Ça, likely to open in 2007. The chef will be Sona sous chef Michael David. Myers and Nozawa hope to find another location for Sokyo. Comme Ça, 8479 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood.
Mike Oxley, Nabeel Kort and sister Shareen Kort have opened The Kansas City BBQ Company near Universal Studios. Mike is a Kansas City native with twenty years of meat-smoking experience. He slow-smokes his meats with hickory, and even makes his own dry rub. Sides include sweet potatoes, cole slaw and BBQ beans. The homey order-at-the-counter establishment seats 44 people, with photos of Kansas City to come. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. The Kansas City BBQ Company, 4141 Lankershim Blvd., Studio City, 818-754-0030.
The former Yi Cuisine space has been transformed into Celadon, a Euro-Asian “galerie culinaire.” Chef Danny Elmaleh, previously of Lemon Moon, produces ahi tuna caprese, crispy scallop and shrimp dumplings; steamed Cantonese halibut with ginger and sizzling sesame oil; and roast duck with grilled Kyoto leeks and mizuna. Open daily for dinner. Celadon, 7910 W. Third St., Los Angeles, 323-658-8028.
Lucy’s 51, named for the year the building was constructed (and the number of available martinis), opened in October in Toluca Lake's former Money Tree space. Chef James Leach prepares dishes like pan-seared ahi on cold soba noodles in peanut sauce; char-grilled Iowa pork chops in apple-flavored Calvados sauce; steak au poivres; pistachio crusted Alaskan halibut, and for dessert, pumpkin cheesecake. The décor is “old school Hollywood meets old school New York.” Open daily from 11 a.m.-11 p.m., and until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Lucy’s 51, 10149 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake, 818-763-5200.
and Audrey Coley have opened a San Fernando Valley branch
of their Inglewood Jamaican establishment, Coley’s.
Expect the same menu as the original, including shrimp
patties, jerk chicken, oxtail, escoveitched king fish,
curried goat, and for dessert, sweet potato pie. To
drink, there are homemade juices like pineapple-ginger
and sorrel. Open daily from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Coley’s,
10842 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-761-4944.
Annette Ricchiazzi launched Hollywood Gelato Company in the former home of her grandparents’ Italian deli. Ricchiazzi serves Palazzolo’s Artisan Gelato & Sorbetto, from Michigan. A rotating roster of 24 flavors may include risotto, cappuccino orange peel, mojito or Mexican chocolate chipotle. The space features stainless steel, pale blue walls and a flat screen TV to show Lakers games and old movies. Open Mon.-Thurs. 1 p.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. until midnight and Sun. noon-10 p.m. Hollywood Gelato Company, 1936 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles, 323-644-3311.
Restaurateur Tony Jones debuted the long-awaited Royale on December 16 in the former Wilshire Royale Hotel. The swanky two-level restaurant and lounge showcases the eclectic French-influenced cuisine of chef Eric Ernest, formerly of BOA Steakhouse. Dishes include foie gras with candied blood orange, licorice essence and brioche; scallops with potato fondue, and The Original Royale Burger, pairing Angus beef, short rib and black truffle cheese. Open nightly, 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m., with the lounge open until 2 a.m. Royale, 2619 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 213-388-8488.
The Prime Grill, the West Coast edition of a popular kosher steakhouse in Manhattan, has opened at the Rodeo Collection in Beverly Hills. The menu offers a wide selection of signature steaks, some contemporary American fare and even some Japanese-inspired dishes from executive chef Makoto Kameyama. Everything on the menu is strictly kosher but designed for a broad clientele. The sleek, contemporary design—hardly out of place on chic Rodeo Drive—gives kosher dining whole new image. In New York, the kosher eateries of Prime Grill owner Joey Allaham enjoy a celebrity following. The Prime Grill, 421 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-860-1233.
Legendary television producer Sid Krofft, responsible for “H.R. Pufnstuf” and “Land of the Lost” with brother Marty, plans to open a restaurant and nightclub called Eleven during the week ending January 27. The space, formerly the First National Bank of Sherman, will house a grid of 32 interconnected plasma screens, a water fountain with encapsulated flames and a “theatrical glass staircase” to the second floor. Chef Vincent Manna, previously of Maple Drive, Spago and Mélisse, will prepare fusion cuisine. Eleven will be open daily from 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Eleven, 8811 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-855-0800.
Genevieve Ostrander has placed her initial inventory order and plans to open a retail location for Delilah Bakery before January ends. Ostrander’s “old fashioned American” baked goods, previously only available by custom order, include homemade pies (with homemade pie crusts) like pecan bourbon and Tollhouse cookie. There will also be a variety of cakes and cupcakes, including chocolate cupcakes with orange Jack Daniel’s frosting. Delilah Bakery, 1665 Echo Park Ave., Los Angeles, 213-975-9400. www.delilahbakery.com.
Tengu, named for the Japanese god of mischief, has opened a second location in the old Ivy at the Shore space. The sleek marble and glass-lined restaurant is brighter than the Westwood original and is open for lunch and dinner. Sushi chef Shunji Nakao, previously of Matsuhisa and The Hump, works in tandem with “kitchen chef” Johnny Itliong to execute an Asian fusion menu. Dishes include roasted Jalapeno-miso Chilean sea bass, togarashi-crusted New York strip steak and the subarashi roll—spicy shrimp, seared tuna, avocado, sweet onion and ginger sauce. Desserts are made in-house and are currently limited to green tea ice cream, champagne sorbet and triple-chocolate mousse cake. Tengu, 1541 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, 310-587-2222.
Edoardo Baldi, previously with his father’s restaurant, Il Ristorante di Giorgio Baldi, has opened E. Baldi with wife Darnell. Expect dishes like mixed fish carpaccio, pizza, Swiss chard lasagnotti, porcini mushroom ravioli, veal scallopine and bread pudding for dessert. E. Baldi, 375 N. Cañon Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-248-2633.
Ara Kalfayan, formerly of Mandaloun, has resurfaced with Lebanese restaurant Phoenicia. A large menu features specialties like shredded beef and pine nuts on hummus, pomegranate-glazed chicken liver, an array of kebabs, and lamb shank braised with red wine and sea bass flown in fresh daily from the Mediterranean. There is live music and belly dancing on Friday and Saturday nights. Open daily, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. and until 2 a.m. on weekends. Phoenicia, 343 N. Central Ave., Glendale, 818-956-7800.
Restaurateur and downtown booster Jason Ha, whose Zip Fusion has pioneered downtown’s burgeoning Arts District, has quietly opened e3rd Steakhouse & Lounge, with a grand opening scheduled for March 1. The venue offers some of Zip’s appetizers, along with a wide selection of steaks and more. Among starters are deep-fried jalapeños stuffed with spicy tuna and cream cheese or Zip’s signature apple-shaped “alba-cado” (seared albacore wrapped in avocado), while entrée options include sizzling sliced rib-eye marinated in Asian pear and honey, a 14-ounce Delmonico, spicy baby-back pork ribs and a kimchee burger. Prices are moderate. e3rd Steakhouse & Lounge, 734 E. Third St., Los Angeles, 213-680-3003.
Stefano Ongaro, formerly of Valentino, Enoteca Drago and Il Grano, opened Italian restaurant All' Angelo on January 20, in the old Mumtaz space. All' Angelo means "to the Angels" in Italian. Chef Mirko Paderno, previously of Valentino and Dolce, will prepare dishes like warm Maine lobster salad with wild fennel, olive-crusted monkfish with caponata sauce and foie gras-stuffed Dover sole filet with Champagne sauce. The modern space will feature dark banquettes and 25 wines by the glass. Open Mon.-Sat., 6 p.m.-11 p.m. All' Angelo, 7166 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323-933-9540.
At freshly launched Zen Chi Café, chef Manuel Castro is producing Asian fusion dishes like beef satay with mango-peanut sauce, Chilean sea bass in wasabi-soy vinaigrette and Thai-glazed lamb chops. Open Tues.-Sun., 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Zen Chi Café, 11334 Moorpark St., Studio City, 818-760-3890.
Josh Loeb, previously of Capo, has opened Rustic Canyon, a restaurant and wine bar named for the Santa Monica hillside enclave. Chef Samir Mohajer, formerly at Axe and The Little Door, is preparing a market-driven menu that includes seared scallops with salsify and preserved lemons; wild striped bass “puttanesca” with sautéed rapini and fingerling potatoes; and yams with harissa. For dessert, expect rocky road bread pudding with marshmallow cream and Hachiya persimmon cake with sweet mascarpone. To drink, there are 24 wines by the glass. Open Tues.-Sat. for dinner. Rustic Canyon, 1119 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-393-7050.
Drummer Chris Reece of punk band Social Distortion has opened Pike Restaurant & Bar, named for the Long Beach amusement park that closed in 1979. The eclectic menu includes lobster, mushroom and steak tacos; pastas, sandwiches, burgers and beer-battered fish and chips. There is also live music nightly, ranging from folk to rock and live DJs. Pike Restaurant & Bar, 1836 E. 4th St., Long Beach, 562-437-4453.
Abbot Kinney Boulevard recently welcomed 3 Square Café + Bakery to Venice. Serving Röckenwagner breads and pastries along with chocolates, coffees and teas at the bakery and sandwiches including Bavarian meatloaf and salmon pastrami at the café, this sweet spot is open seven days a week. 3 Square Café + Bakery, 1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 310-399-6504.
X Bar, named for the large steel X that supports the structure, is expected to open in the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza by mid-March 2007. Expect an indoor-outdoor lounge with fire pits and a screening wall. The menu will feature internationally-inspired small plates, including shrimp in Chinese pancakes, ahi wonton stacks, Camembert and pesto fondue and the “Ultimate Grilled Cheese Panini.” Cocktails will incorporate organic and seasonal ingredients like ginger, blood orange and red grapefruit. X Bar will be open Mon.-Thurs. from 4 p.m. to midnight, and until 1 a.m. on Fri.-Sat. X Bar, 2025 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, 310-551-3332.
Beverly Hills welcomes Gonpachi, a new Japanese restaurant, on March 31. The venue will be the latest addition to the Global Dining Inc. empire which has 65 restaurants throughout Japan and the United States including La Bohème in West Hollywood.
Chef David Myers of Los Angeles’ Sona and Boule Patisserie will debut his second restaurant, Comme Ça, this spring. The modern brasserie will open in West Hollywood and serve traditional French fare with a spin. Expect to see onion tarte tatin with tapenade and arugula; crispy beef marrow and oxtail jam with toast and fleur de sel; and steak frites and Cassoulet on the menu. Seasonal cocktails will also be a feature. Comme Ça, 8479 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood.
The recently-opened 270-room Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, owned by billionaire David H. Murdock, features fine-dining restaurant Hampton’s. Chef Sandro Gamba, previously at NoMI in Chicago, crafts contemporary California cuisine. Think Santa Barbara spiny lobster meat with sweet corn ragout and tarragon bisque; Colorado lamb medallions with baby carrots, chorizo and a sweet potato cake; beet and chestnut soup with apple cider and cinnamon; and Maine scallops with spinach lasagna. Open daily for breakfast and for dinner Mon.-Sat. Hampton’s, 2 Dole Dr., Westlake Village, 818-575-3000.
Manhattan chef Laurent Tourondel is planning to import his BLT Steak concept to Los Angeles, in the former Le Dome space. BLT Steak, 8720 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood.
Mikayel Israyelyan, owner of Republic and Prana Café, is opening Romanov Restaurant + Lounge in Studio City in late February. Mark Murillo, formerly of Saddle Peak Lodge, is the executive chef, with Manuel Medina, formerly of BlackSteel, as executive sous chef. Classical Russian cuisine will include pelmeni trio (Russian dumplings); Ossetrina pod Syrom (baked sturgeon topped with breadcrumbs, savory cream and melted cheese); and whole roast duck stuffed with apples and calvados demi-glace. The space also features a gold-plated chandelier; a large stage which will showcase a grand pianist on weekdays and Russian gypsies on the weekend; and a winter garden. Romanov Restaurant + Lounge, 12229 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818-760-3177.
After ten years of success with Lasher’s in Long Beach, Raymond and Lynn Lasher have opened Lasher’s American Steakhouse in downtown Burbank. Chef James Rico Grey, a CIA graduate and former executive chef at Lincoln Steakhouse, has imported certain dishes from Long Beach, including meatloaf with cranberry glaze and fried green tomatoes topped with Andouille sausage. There are bone-in rib eyes and Porterhouses, plus Dutch Valley veal chops and Grey's creations like grilled squab with blackberry demi-glace. Expect nightly piano music. Open Mon.-Fri. for lunch and nightly for dinner. Lasher’s American Steakhouse, 250 E. Olive Ave., Burbank, 818-843-8800.
Kado Restaurant has opened upstairs at the Farmers Market. Japanese cuisine includes conveyor-belt sushi, teppan-prepared ingredients like Kobe filet mignon, black tiger shrimp and calamari steak, and plated dishes like rib-eye with miso jus, seared Japanese sea scallops with raspberry vinaigrette and shiitake risotto, and a whole grilled lobster with soy-uni butter sauce. Open daily from 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., 11 p.m. on weekends. Kado Restaurant, 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, 323-933-0055.
Gail Silverton has partnered with fiancé Joel Gutman on Gelato Bar, a gelateria with a “piazza” feel. There are 24 daily selections of gelato and sorbetto, custom-made by Allessandro Fontana. Flavors may include spicy chocolate made with habanero, English toffee, cinnamon basil and pomegranate. There’s also a coffee bar, with beans from Coffee Roaster in Sherman Oaks and Intelligentsia in Chicago. Designed to cultivate camaraderie, the café offers newspapers, chess, and even free Italian lessons on Thursdays at 2 p.m. Gelato Bar, 4342 ½ Tujunga Ave., Studio City, 818-487-1717.
The Penthouse has debuted in the former Toppers space on the 18th floor of the Huntley Hotel, with design from Thomas Schoos. Chef Michael Reidt, previously of Sevilla in Santa Barbara, prepares globally-inspired dishes like sugarcane-skewered scallops with chili-braised oxtail and parsnip; citrus-poached shrimp cocktail with spiced horseradish sauce; and for dessert, dolche de leite de carina with crumbled Oreos and caramel-balsamic ice cream. Open daily for lunch and dinner. The Penthouse, 1111 Second St., Santa Monica, 310-393-8080.
Alain Giraud, the Provence-born chef who launched Bastide, is partnering on an as-yet-unnamed brasserie with Mike Garrett and Tommy Stoilkovich, owners of Falcon and Pearl Dragon. The restaurant, situated on Santa Monica’s Second Street, should open in late summer and will offer French cuisine utilizing ingredients sourced from the famed Santa Monica Farmers Market.
Chef Kris Morningstar has left Blue Velvet for an opportunity with a still-coalescing restaurant in downtown's L.A. Live complex. Jonathan McDowell, previously with Saddle Peak Lodge, will fill Morningstar's toque at Blue Velvet.
NINETHIRTY at W Los Angeles Westwood hired Firefly Bistro co-owner Monique King as executive chef. Chef King has retooled the restaurant’s menu to feature “modern American cuisine with global influences,” with dishes like seared diver scallops with butternut squash purée, spicy mango chermoula and cinnamon-braised fennel; a smoked pork chop with sage flan, dried figs, grilled chard and whole-grain mustard pan sauce; and grilled wild sturgeon with herbed black lentils, caramelized Brussels sprouts, chanterelle ragoût, pomegranate molasses and chive oil. NINETHIRTY, 930 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles, 310-443-8211.
Chef Ramon Perez will now take on the role of corporate pastry chef for David Myers’ FoodArt Group. He will divide his time between the kitchens of Sona and Boule, whose pastries are also featured on the dessert menu at Comme Ça. Perez previously led the pastry station at Sona, and before that, at his parents’ restaurant, Citronée, in Nevada City, CA. Meanwhile, chef Kuniko Yagi, who has worked in the kitchen at Sona for four years, has been promoted from sous chef to chef de cuisine. Yagi began her Sona career at the amuse station, where her drive and creativity propelled her through the ranks to the role of sous chef, a position she held for two years.
Chad Minton starts in February as chef de cuisine at jer-ne restaurant + bar, joining executive chef Drew Sayes. Minton previously worked as a chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco and at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco before taking the reigns as chef de cuisine at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver.
Chef Don Dickman has left Westwood’s Italian institution, Matteo’s. Sous chef Armando Parada has taken his place as executive chef. Matteo's, 2321 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-475-4521.
Glen Ishii has succeeded Robert Gadsby as executive chef at Noé in the Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza. Ishii has served as chef de cuisine at Noe since 2004 and he previously held posts at Café del Rey and Oceans 33 Degrees. Drawing from his Japanese-American background, some of Ishii’s new dishes will include wild Alaskan King salmon with green tea soba salad, ikura and shiso pesto, as well as Yuzu Kosho chicken with sansai rice and sesame dressing. Noé, Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza, 251 S. Olive St., Los Angeles.
Olivier Rousselle takes over as executive chef at On Sunset, the renovated restaurant at the Luxe Hotel Sunset Boulevard. Rouselle, most recently executive chef at Michael’s in Santa Monica, specializes in market-driven California fare with a French twist. His new lunch menu offers items like an ahi tuna melt, black mussels “paysanne,” and roasted organic chicken with potato gnocchi and sautéed haricots vert with tarragon-citrus sauce. Prices range from $7 to $21. At dinner, Rousselle prepares roasted baby beets with honey vinaigrette, ahi tuna tartare with heirloom tomato-yuzu broth, braised short rib risotto in Port glaze with shaved Parmesan and roasted jidori chicken breast with seasonal mushroom ragoût and Maui onion sauce. Dinner entrées range from $17 to $32. On Sunset, Luxe Hotel Sunset Boulevard, 11461 Sunset Blvd., Brentwood, 310-476-6571.
Carolynn Spence, former chef de cuisine at The Spotted Pig, now runs the kitchen at Bar Marmont. The freshly overhauled menu features appetizers including a pork and sage crepinette with butternut puree and crispy duck leg confit with port and sour cherries. Main courses range from spicy seafood stew with chickpea croutons to sheep’s milk ricotta gnocchi with roasted tomato and wild mushrooms. Open nightly from 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Bar Marmont, 8171 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-650-0575.
Josef Centeno, who was in the kitchen at the now-defunct Meson G, will be taking over the reins at the Opus Restaurant (formerly Opus Bar & Grill) in mid-August. He says, “The concept is simple. I want a place where people can come on a regular basis two or three times a week and get good food at a good price point, about $30-40 apiece". Expect refined dishes like sashimi with lardon, braised short rib and horse mackerel, with tasting menus and a separate bar menu available.
Matthew Gladstone, who got high marks for a great burger, among other things, at the Mint, is the new executive chef of the Formosa Café. Gladstone changed the entire menu, which now features Asian-inspired small plates like sesame wasabi fries, tamarind shrimp and crab cakes, hoisin-barbecued Kobe beef burger on onion bread and Asian “paella,” saffron rice with five-spice duck, shrimp and edamame. Formosa Café, 7156 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, 323-850-9050.
Gabriel Gabreski, previous of San Francisco’s La Folie and New York’s Daniel, has been named executive chef at Avalon Hotel’s blue on blue. Gabreski highlights seasonal ingredients in New American dishes like sunchoke soup with red wine and spiced sunflower seeds; pan-seared turbot with braised beef, salsify and Meyer lemon; and pork tenderloin with white corn polenta, smoked ham, apple and watercress. blue on blue, 9400 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-277-5221.
Dakota Weiss has replaced Troy Thompson as executive chef of Jer-Né, moving from The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, to The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey. Menu changes are impending. Thompson will serve as chef at David Burke Las Vegas, likely opening in August at the Venetian. He then plans to open a restaurant in L.A., backed by Burke. Jer-Né, 4375 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, 310-823-1700.
Mike Bryant has replaced Craig Petrella as chef de cuisine at Norman Van Aken’s “New World” restaurant, Norman’s on Sunset. Bryant has worked with Van Aken since 2000 and most recently held the executive sous chef role at the restaurant. Norman's on Sunset, 8570 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-657-2400.
After a trial run, Don Dickman is out as chef at Piero Salveggio’s Valentino. Dickman previously owned Rocca. Angelo Auriana, who left Valentino to cook at Masque Ristorante, outside Sacramento, has been reinstated as head chef. Valentino, 3115 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-829-4313.
Pete's Cafe & Bar owners Pete McLaughlin and Tom Gilmore hired Nick Shipp as head chef in October. Shipp, previously with Wolfgang Puck’s catering company, has added ahi tuna salad with Thai peanut dressing; grilled pork chops with potato pancakes; and boned beef rib with brown gnocchi. He should have a new dessert and bar menu ready by April. Pete’s Café & Bar, 400 S. Main St., Los Angeles, 213-617-1000.
Ocean & Vine, situated in the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, has promoted Gregg Wangard from chef de cuisine to executive chef. In addition to his duties with the restaurant, Wangard will also oversee the hotel’s other culinary aspects, including banquets, in-room dining, the pool lounge, and Papillon Lounge. Ocean & Vine, 1700 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, 310-576-3180.
Founding chef Rodelio Aglibot has left Yi Cuisine to embark on a three-month around-the-world culinary adventure. He will return to Los Angeles to develop new gastronomic ventures. Aglibot’s replacement has not been named yet, but Yi Cuisine remains open. Yi Cuisine, 7910 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, 323-658-8028.
Jacob Ramos, previously of Patina, has replaced Mark Dao as executive chef at the Wiltern Theatre Building’s Opus Bar & Grill. Ramos’s redesigned menu features chipotle-and-Zinfandel-braised short ribs with porcini mashed potatoes; black bass with oregano-marinated sweet pear tomatoes; a crab cake with kumquat gazpacho; nd foie gras with persimmon chips, purée and cubes. Desserts are now from Luis Perez, also a Patina alum. Opus Bar & Grill, 3760 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 213-738-1600.
The new chef at Casa del Mar’s Oceanfront restaurant is Michael Reardon, previously of 31 West in Santa Barbara’s Hotel Andalucía. Reardon’s menu should be implemented shortly. Oceanfront, Hotel Casa del Mar, 1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica, 310-581-7714.
Chef Bill Bracken, most recently serving as the executive assistant manager of food and beverage at The Peninsula Beverly Hills, has been named the executive chef of the newly renamed The Island Hotel Newport Beach (formerly Four Seasons Newport Beach) where he will oversee the Pavilion, The Gardens Lounge and Café, banquet services and 24-hour in-room dining.
With the closure of Erawan (7119 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles), chef Malee Chantra switched over to Tony Boon’s other Thai restaurant, Pink Pepper. Chantra has reinvigorated the long-standing eatery with several signature dishes from her former establishment; including green curry fried rice, Thai herb-crusted salmon and a rib-eye main course known as “crying tiger.” Pink Pepper, 1638 N. La Brea Ave., Hollywood, 323-461-2462.
Santa Monica’s hot spot, Cinch, recently announced the arrival of new chef Yuji Iwasa. Most recently of Silverlake’s Café Stella and Marina del Rey’s Café Del Rey, Iwasa has had formal training in classic Japanese and French technique. His menu presentations are now in place, reflecting a significant shift toward more simple, flavorful offerings consistent with the beach community lifestyle. Cinch, 1519 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-395-4139.
Vibrato Grill & Jazz, the jazz club owned by the Smith Brothers (Parkway Grill) and Herb Alpert, has a new man in the kitchen—Charlie Trotter alum Chris Ennis. His new menu will be in place by September. Vibrato Grill & Jazz, 2930 Beverly Glen Circle, Bel Air, 310-474-9400.
Robert Lia has left Geoffrey’s in Malibu and gone to P6 in Westlake Village. Give him at least a month to tweak the menu at P6, where the owners have decided to get more serious about the food.
O-Bar welcomes its new executive chef: Scott Hawley. His elegant and simple cuisine will help hone the restaurant’s "familiar-with-a-twist" menu. Expect to see a more thorough menu change in the fall, as well as "Sunday Share," a weekly Sunday night Family-Style sharing menu.
David Tarrin, from Roy’s in Atlanta, is the new chef at the venerable Parkway Grill in Pasadena. His menu includes such appetizers as a cocoa crepe stuffed with lobster in a tomato-cream sauce and a warm tiger shrimp cocktail; and main dishes like mustard-grilled short ribs, whole fried catfish, and periscope pasta with chicken, broccolini and burrata cheese. Parkway Grill, 510 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena, 626-795-1001.
The Tower Bar at the Argyle Hotel is “still a work in progress” according to maitre d’ Dimitri Dimitrov. A new chef has stepped in to replace Collin Crannell after only a couple of months. Piero Morovich was the chef at Ammo for six years. The new general manager is Michal Gregus. The menu isn’t really set yet and neither is the phone number. So keep checking back; we’ll stay on top of it. The Tower Bar at the Argyle Hotel, 8358 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-848-6677.
Sean Hardy, sous chef under Bill Bracken for three years, has stepped into the executive chef position at The Peninsula Beverly Hills as Bracken becomes Director of Food & Beverage for the entire hotel.
After sixteen years as executive chef of Bel-Air’s Four Oaks, Peter Roelant has announced his departure. He is currently looking for restaurant spaces in Los Angeles in which to showcase his own brand of modern American bistro food with international influences. “I have lived in different countries and think multiculturally, and this is the way I believe people think about food today.” Born in Belgium and educated in Switzerland, Roelant was a protégé of the great Swiss chef Fredy Girardet. He arrived in Southern California in 1982, first working at L’Orangerie before moving on to Four Oaks.
Chef changes often bring new excitement to any menu, and particularly when those changes take place at the dining rooms of top-notch hotel chains that can draw on international talent. We eagerly await the July arrival of Ashley James at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. He’s moving there from his previous post as executive chef at the Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires. Meanwhile, highly regarded Conny Andersson, who headed the kitchens at the L.A. property, has moved over to take charge of the same responsibilities at sister property The Regent Beverly Wilshire. Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, 300 South Doheny Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90048, 310-273-2222, 800-332-3442; The Regent Beverly Wilshire, 9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212, 310-275-5200, 800-421-4354.
Piero Selvaggio’s famed Valentino has a new chef in Ezio Gamba, pictured, who replaces Steve Samson and trained under Luciano Pellegrini at the Las Vegas Valentino at The Venetian for three years. He’s sending out dishes like roasted quail with braised lentils and egg-soaked fried soft-shell crabs. His six-course tasting menu changes daily. Valentino, 3115 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-829-4313.
Chef David Tarrin, who comes from Roy’s in Atlanta, has replaced J. P. Amateau at Parkway
Grill. Tarrin wants to update the menu at the venerable
restaurant and move away from mashed potatoes. His changes
began in early April, but he doesn’t want to shock
the longtime customers with too many changes too soon.
Some of the new dinner dishes will be mustard-grilled
short ribs; seared John Dory with a shrimp pear butter;
and a chervil, chive, watercress and Bibb lettuce salad
from the restaurant’s herb garden. At lunch there
will be an ahi tartar starter on olive toast; a grilled
New York steak on ciabatta bread with pan gravy; and
a brick-pressed ham and gruyère sandwich. Parkway
Grill, 510 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena, 626-795-1001.
The waterfront Café del Rey in Marina del Rey has named Esti Rothstein, who previously worked at Mario Batali’s Babbo, as its new pastry chef. Her new dessert menu includes banana icebox cake with banana fritters; ginger panna cotta with peach carpaccio, sautéed peaches, white wine and fresh vanilla bean; and the Ménage à Chocolat: chocolate truffle cake with frozen Earl Grey mousse; chocolate caramel tart covered with sea salt; and chili chocolate milk. Rothstein replaces departed pastry chef Richard Yoshimura. Café del Rey, 4451 Admiralty Wy., Marina del Rey, 310-823-6395.
Chef Jason Travi has left BottleRock,
a wine bar that opened on August 25. Owners Adam Fleishman
and Thierry Perez will retain Travi’s small plates
menu until they find a new chef. BottleRock, 3847 Main
St., Culver City, 310-836-9463.
Nolan Bushnell, who founded Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s, opened uWink in the Westfield Promenade at Woodland Hills, projecting the restaurant as the first in a chain. The concept centers around tabletop touch screens, used to order food and drinks and to play games and videos. The eclectic menu includes options like Southern-style popcorn shrimp, a Far East chicken salad, a grilled three-cheese sandwich, build-your-own burgers; pizzas, pastas, and desserts like a fruit cobbler topped with brown sugar crumble. Open daily for lunch and dinner, until at least midnight daily. uWink, 6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills, 818-992-1100.
Robert Hartstein and developer Bret Mosher opened Blue Velvet, an eco-friendly restaurant, on November 20. The establishment is situated in The Flat, a residential building in a former Holiday Inn, and houses two lounges, a 17-foot granite communal table and a glass fireplace. From chef Kris Morningstar, previously of Patina and Meson G, expect dishes like duck confit with roast pumpkin, corn agnolotti with chanterelle mushrooms, lime brown butter, and hazelnuts; a duo of pork - braised shank and crispy belly with tea soaked prunes, forbidden rice and rapini; and venison loin with crispy banana pudding, red chard, tamarind-glazed chestnuts and bacon jus. Open Mon.-Fri. for lunch and daily for dinner. Blue Velvet, 750 S. Garland St., Los Angeles, 213-239-0061.
Yose, a new restaurant located in the Edgemar Building in Santa Monica, serves nomadic Asian cuisine daily for lunch and dinner. Chef Jaehoon Jung’s menu includes Korean fusion items as well as sushi and steak. Yose, 2435 Main St., Santa Monica, 310-255-0680.
Roelant, previously at L’Orangerie and Four Oaks, is the new chef at Jean-Bernard Torchon’s Wine
Bistro. The revised menu features Bouchot mussels
with white wine, mustard and saffron; smoked sturgeon
with red beet crème fraiche and pommes gaufrettes;
crab and shrimp fritters with pineapple ginger chutney,
pumpkin ravioli with sage butter and melted arugula;
and slow braised beef bourguignon with glazed root vegetables
and horseradish whipped potatoes. Chef Roelant will
update the dessert menu soon. Wine Bistro, 11915 Ventura
Blvd., Studio City, 818-766-6233.
Douglas Silberberg, promoted from within after a prior run at Water Grill, is now chef at Michael’s, Michael McCarty’s eponymous restaurant. The current menu features Maine diver scallops with hazelnuts, black Currants and salsify; and slow-poached Maine lobster with stone-ground white corn grits and red wine essence. Michael’s, 1147 Third St., Santa Monica, 310-451-0843.
Drew Sayes, previously chef de cuisine at The Ritz-Carlton, Dearborn and most recently sous chef at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, is the new chef de cuisine of Jer-Né restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey. Jer-Né, The Ritz-Carlton, 4375 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey.
Joseph Gillard, previously of Pinot at the Chronicle and Nick & Stef's, has replaced Anne Conness as executive chef of Napa Valley Grille. His revamped menu includes a Duroc Heritage pork duo with bacon-flecked faro and applesauce; grilled Baja day boat scallops with artichoke hummus; and a grilled cheese and lobster "knuckle" sandwich with sweet pea salad. Napa Valley Grille, 1100 Glendon Ave., Los Angeles, 310-824-3322.
The Village Idiot, a British-style gastropub, has opened in the old Chianti space. Chef Lindsay Kennedy, previously of San Francisco’s One Market, is cooking dishes like rock shrimp and scallion fritters with Meyer lemon relish and crème fraiche; cornmeal-crusted catfish with black-eyed peas, mustard greens and andouille sausage; fish and chips with malt vinegar dipping sauce; and, for dessert, warm gingerbread cake with pear compote. Open daily, 11:30 a.m. until at least 11 p.m. The Village Idiot, 7383 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323-655-3331.
Tokyo Table, a casual Japanese restaurant, is the latest addition to La Cienega’s Restaurant Row. The eclectic menu features rock shrimp with wasabi aioli; teriyaki chicken pizza; fried noodle omelet with pork; seared beef tataki sushi with balsamic; and, for dessert, honey toast with toppings like red beans and chocolate. Open daily, 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Tokyo Table, 50 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-657-9500.
Raaga, Harjinder Vij’s Indian restaurant taking its name from the word for melodic modes in Indian classical music, has opened in the former Mother India space in Chatsworth. Chefs Nachattar Toor and Jose Gutierrez are preparing dishes like lamb samosas; chicken, lamb and sea bass tandoori; chicken with green chili, mint and yogurt sauce; and naan stuffed with cashews, pistachios, raisins, and cherries. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Raaga, 10110 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Chatsworth, 818-407-6340.
Spring Has Sprung at Murano
Spotlight on Crudo
Prix Fixe Menus at Cézanne
Jaan Unveils Table JAAN
“You Call It” at Whist
Anniversary Deals at Locanda del Lago
More than Peanuts & Cracker Jack
More Space for Stella
Citrus at Social Offers Catering Service
“Recession Concessions” at Table 8
LA MILL Expands Hours
Hooray for Bollywood
Pasadena Student Wins 'Almost Famous Chef Competition'
La Provence to Offer Intelligentsia Coffee
Celestino Introduces Wild Game Menu
“Kick the Blues” at blue on blue
Easter Treats at Boule
Chocolate Eggs from Jin Patisserie
Meal Deal at Wilhelm's Savannah
Hotel Bel Air’s Restaurant Honored
Tasting Menu at Valentino’s Vin Bar
Oink It Up
David Myers Launches FoodArt Events
Unwind with “Cork and Rind”
Tiara Café Debuts Dinner
Fresh Menu at Fraîche
Larchmont Grill's Appetite Stimulus Package
Tacos and Cocktails at Cantina
Sweets for Your Sweetie
Costly Cocktail at Nic’s
Adieu to French 75
Paperfish Opens for Dinner
Asia de Cuba Offers Tasting Menu
Champagne and Caviar Dreams
New Menu at Cube
Beginning January 2nd, 2008, Cube will offer new, seasonally-driven and Italian-inspired café menus for both lunch and dinner service as well as a dessert menu by new pastry chef Jun Tan. The more sophisticated menus replace Cube’s current combination lunch/dinner menu and are inspired by Italy’s 20 different regions. Featured regions will change roughly once per month, rotating throughout the year based on the season. Winter regions will include Umbria and Piedmont, while spring and summer may feature Calabria and Campania. Among new dinner items are handmade chestnut ravioli with mascarpone and sage sauce, specialty pizzas and wild halibut served with truffled risotto. Cube, 615 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, 323-939-1148.
Fritzie’s Holiday Specials
Scoop Up a Cake
CUT Comes to Vegas
Red Pearl Kitchen Serves Up Peking Duck
Night and Day
Holiday Omakase at Hokusai
No More Puttin’ on The Ritz
CrepeVine’s New Menu
Celebrate 2008 with Whist Brunch
Campanile Feeds Hungry Writers
Mini Bar at Luna Park
Haute Sandwiches at InterContinental
Happy Birthday, Ruby’s
You Can Still Pig Out
Holiday Pies at Delilah Bakery
Bistro Burgers at blue on blue
The Palm Dresses Up Menu
SIMON L.A.’s Rockin’ Brunch
Give Thanks for Bread Pudding
Snack at Saks
Smoke-Free Outdoor Dining
Game Time at Mélisse
Come On, Get Happy
Long Beach Lunch
Solace for Chicago Sports Fans
Valentino Debuts V-vin Bar
Round-the-Clock Grub at The Roosevelt
Aburi Sushi at Kabuki
Lefebvre Has Landed
Flights of Fancy
Early & Late Nights at Abode
Napa Picnics Year-Round
The Next Iron Chef?
B&B at The Ritz
End of Summer Getaway
Making Sweet Music
Have A Peachy Picnic
Lefebvre and Sutton Unite
$3.60 Martinis at Bar 360
Late Nights at La Cachette
Tastes of Tuesday at Whist
Ciudad After Dark
Kabuki’s Summer Menu
Danielle Keene, "pastry chef and soda jerk" at Wilshire Restaurant, has launched a Tuesday night "Ice Cream Shoppe." Her offerings change weekly, but possible items include frozen strawberry cheesecake with spiced graham cracker crust, filled with cream cheese ice cream and topped with fresh strawberries; a four-cone sampler with milk chocolate chai ice cream, plum sorbet, coffee ice cream and honeycomb ice cream; and candied ginger shortcake with roasted peaches and honey lavender ice cream. Each week will showcase a different milkshake and scoop. Available Tuesday nights from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Wilshire Restaurant, 2454 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-586-1707.
New Tasting Menus at Noé
Dinner and Stogies at Republic
“Dago” at Dominick’s
Summer Sundays at Spitfire
Summers @ Table 8
Summertime Tapas by the Pool
New Spring Menu Has Sprung
Cézanne Unveils New Menus
Picnic Baskets from La Cachette
Rockin' Brunch at Simon L.A.
Bluesy Brunch at Firefly Bistro
Late Nights at Napa Valley Grille
“Ford’s Play” Happy Hour
Dine Close to Home
On the Road
Downtown Daily Grill Opens for Breakfast
Napa-Inspired Picnic Boxes
Eat Well All Day
“Mom’s Great Cake Contest” at SusieCakes
Eat Love Live
Pastry chef Brooke Mosley has joined the team at Whist, the restaurant at Viceroy Santa Monica, where she will collaborate with executive chef Warren Schwartz. Mosley developed her skills under A.J. Voytko at Chive in San Diego and Elizabeth Belkind at Los Angeles’ Grace before making the move to Santa Monica. Mosley describes her style as “playful and creative, but balanced in flavor and texture.” And their position on the menu dictates their importance: “Desserts are the last thing you eat, so they need to be memorable." Desserts currently offered include hazelnut cream ravioli with vanilla-scented apples, cider caramel, candied hazelnuts and apple butter ice cream; flourless chocolate cake with chocolate ice cream, chocolate candy brittle and chocolate sauce; and Guinness cake with Bailey’s Irish Cream ice cream, whiskey sauce and caramelized sugar. Whist, Viceroy Hotel, 1819 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, 310-260-7511.
Box Lunches offered at MINX
at Providence—Fridays Only
Wine on Vine
Adds Wine Bar
Arango’s New Menu
But Basic Burgers
of the Week BBQ
Up for Saturday Brunch
Café Sweets at Home
Valet Lunch Parking at boe
Plates at 8
Then and Now
End to the Weekend
Day Brunch at Jin
Southern Twist on Brunch
Dolce Vita Celebrates the Big 4-0
Snags Top Nomination
Deli Coming to Westlake Village
Tasting Room Open
Down on the Bayou
at the Peninsula
Revamps Dessert Menu at Providence
Dining Car Now Open 24 Hours
is the Bull's Horn
Original or Extra Crispy Here
Tropics in a Billiard Room
Becomes Iron Chef America Champion
Hungry Cat Likes Fish
Taste of Hawaii in Downtown
the Dining at Westfield Century City
Comes to Woodland Hills
Leaves Bluebird Bakery
out Another Barney's Beanery
Bakery in Glendale
Pastas at Lucia's
Grande Bollito Misto Wednesdays
Roast and Paella
with an Asian Flare
Opens in Pasadena
Miaafe Expands to the Beach
"Röcking" Yard Sale
Dressed up for the Holidays
of the Seven Fishes
of a Spanish Christmas
Farmer’s Market Change
Block in Manhattan Beach
G’s New Twist on the Chef’s Table
and Mamey Ice Cream, Anyone?
n' Jill went up to Santa Monica
Adventures Moves North
G Prepares for its Close-Up
and “Fabulous Forty-Fiver” Nights at Pasadena’s
Puck Fine Dining Group Restaurants Donate to Katrina
O-Bar restaurant offers a new “Sunday Share,” a very large-plate format created for the entire table, à la the traditional family dinner table of a bygone era. Guests enjoy a choice of starter, with entrées and sides arriving on large serving platters. Priced at $15 per person, the dinner is adjusted to suit the number of diners at each table, and ends with “create your own” sundaes. Guests are also encouraged to bring their own iPods, with a “shared” connection that will allow dinner guests to create their own high-tech juke box. For even more fun, guests may bring DVDs or videos of their own performances (e.g. singing, dancing, magic) to be shown during dinner (tapes must be delivered one week in advance). O-Bar, 8279 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-822-3300.
Rocks on Thursdays
Cachette Unveils Tasting Menus
Dim Sum Tuesday Nights
There a Wolf in the House?
Tastes at Asia de Cuba
Barbecue at Katana
Specials at Koi
Change at Table 8
Sunday Menu Change
Fresco at Saddle Peak Lodge
Cuisine Debuts at the Peninsula
Wine at Porta Via
at La Cachette
Peak Al Fresco
Wine at Sona
Midday Meal and Outdoor Dining at Naya
Are the Thing!
Sprinkles in Beverly Hills offers approximately eight flavors daily, with 20 flavors in all, plus seasonal and canine (yes, canine) additions. Adorable sugar cutouts decorate the little cakes, also made with only high-end ingredients like Callebaut chocolate. Popular flavors include red velvet cake with cream-cheese frosting, dark chocolate cake with bittersweet chocolate frosting and peanut butter cake with milk chocolate frosting. Gift boxes and disposable cupcake display towers are available for purchase. You can place advance orders for delivery or pick-up. Cupcakes are $3.25 each or $36 per dozen. Hours are Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sprinkles, 9635 Little Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-274-8765.
Rush Hour” Debuts at O-Bar
Puck Does Steak This Fall
Plate Tuesdays at Meson G
Opens Second LA Food Show Restaurant in Beverly Hills
at Flor Morena
Tapas at Norman’s
Down on Sundays
Night at Napa Valley Grille
Menu at Doug Arango's
Menu at Bistro K
Thankful for Mr. Cecil’s
It Yourself at Tiger Lily
Hungry Late Downtown?
Bento Outside the Box
Restaurateur Steven Arroyo recently closed his La Brea izakaya, Happi Songs Asian Tavern. On February 29, he will debut a new concept in the same space, to be called Goat. The chef will be Robert Luna, previously of Malo.
Brasserie Vert, Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant at Hollywood & Highland, closed in January. Nolan Bushnell, who founded Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s, intends to fill the space with another branch of uWink, a concept that centers around tabletop touch screens used to order food and drink and to play games and videos.
The original Zen Grill, located near the Beverly Center, closed in January. With the Westwood saké lounge also a memory, the Beverly Hills branch of the Pan-Asian restaurant is the only remaining link in the local chain.
Deborah Gross was forced to close Back Door Bakery in January when she lost her lease on the space.
Naraya Thai, Patrick Suwan’s stylish South Robertson café, has closed.
Alfredo Diaz has closed Eat Well, his Silver Lake coffee shop. No word on what will take its place in Sunset Junction. Diaz still owns a branch of Eat Well on Beverly Blvd.
Ten-year-old Santa Monica martini bar Voda is closed. The Hotel Carmel will replace the establishment with a two-pronged approach. Laurie Mulstay and Ron Marino, who co-own Magnolia in Hollywood, opened French bar Chloe on December 13. Around the corner, Jonathan Chu and Evan Silver plan to open a second branch of Buddha’s Belly in January 2008. Executive Chef-owner Hisashi Yoshiara will oversee the menu, which will mimic the pan-Asian original on Beverly Blvd.
Z’Tejas closed its doors on Saturday, October 27th due to the competitive marketplace precluding its ability to do enough business to stay open.
After 38 years in business, owner-mariachi Natividad Cano is being forced to close La Fonda de Los Camperos on October 28 after losing an eviction battle with his new landlord. Cano hopes to open his Mexican restaurant at another downtown location within the next year in a continued effort to bring mariachis respectability.
After a protracted battle with their landlord, Robertino and Paula Giovannelli and La Luna Ristorante co-owners David and Theresa Whitworth were forced to close their Italian restaurant on September 22 after 15 years in business. Restaurateur Fausto Zapata has reserved the Larchmont space and plans to open a continental-style eatery by the end of 2007.
Christian Shaffer and wife Tedde have announced that Friday, October 5, 2007, will be Avenue’s final day in business.
Pedals Café, the casual eatery at Shutters on the Beach, has closed. The beachfront space has been converted into Coast Beach Café & Bar, which is open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Coast Beach Café & Bar, Shutters on the Beach, 1 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-587-1707.
Windows, renowned for panoramic views from its 32nd floor perch in downtown L.A.’s AT&T Tower (formerly–and better–known as the Transamerica Center) closed July 31. With its floor-to-ceiling windows, the restaurant long boasted some of the most spectacular views in town, but food always had difficulty competing with the vistas. With so many new dining alternatives in downtown, Windows’ demise was long anticipated. The ultimate fate of the space has yet to be announced. Windows, AT&T Tower, 1150 S. Olive St., 32nd Fl., Los Angeles, 213-746-1554.
Grill Lyon, featuring chef-owner Matsuno Tadayoshi’s Japanese-influenced French cuisine, closed on May 13. No word yet on what will take its place in Little Tokyo’s Honda Plaza.
For the Hollywood elite, gathering at Morton’s on Monday nights has been a part of “The Biz” since 1979, making the phrase “Monday Nights at Morton’s” part of the Hollywood vocabulary. The best tables have long been reserved for top agents and their celebrity clients and on Oscar night, Morton’s has traditionally been the site of one of the most prestigious parties. Now, the Morton’s era is entering its final stretch, as the West Hollywood eatery announced it will close its doors at the end of the year. After that, the space will be converted into a members-only social club by British hotelier Nick Jones. The restaurant, founded by Peter Morton, was originally located on the southwest corner of Melrose Ave. and Robertson Blvd. before moving across the street in 1994. "We have enjoyed serving so many great people in Los Angeles and have always appreciated their patronage," Peter Morton said in a recent interview. Morton’s, 8764 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, 310-276-5205.
After more than fifty years of serving tropical drinks and Americanized adaptations of Polynesian food, the legendary Trader Vic's at The Beverly Hilton has closed. It was opened in 1955 by chef Victor J. "Trader Vic" Bergeron, who claims to have invented the Mai Tai, and spawned a chain of Hawaiian/Polynesian decorated restaurants from Dallas to Dubai. The original celebrity-studded location lives on as the Trader Vic’s Lounge in a new poolside incarnation adjacent to the hotel’s restaurant Circa 55, scheduled to open May 17.
The Old Town Pasadena outpost of fashionable Mexican restaurant La Huasteca has closed. The Lynwood original is still in business.
Flor Morena Fine Foods, Shawnette Wright’s Southern-flavored café in Silver Lake, has closed. No word on what will fill the indoor-outdoor space, or where Ms. Wright will cook next.
After a half-ton slab of stucco fell from one of the arches and engineers discovered more loose stucco panels, iconic LAX restaurant Encounter will be closed for approximately six months to fortify the building. Encounter, 209 World Way, Los Angeles, 310-215-5151.
Malverde Restaurant, the high-end Mexican restaurant in Lynwood’s Plaza Mexico, has closed. According to its website, the restaurant may resurface in another location.
Annie Miler has closed the branch of Clementine at The Hammer Museum. The Century City flagship is still going strong.
Eurochow is closed. Diners looking for a Michael Chow fix can still find it in Beverly Hills, at Mr. Chow.
Czech Point, Redondo Beach’s cleverly named Eastern bloc restaurant, has shuttered its doors.
Royal Star Seafood, the long-standing Westside affiliate of Monterey Park’s Ocean Star, has closed, leaving a Cantonese void in Santa Monica.
Solare, Paolo Giovani’s Northern Italian restaurant, has closed after less than a year in the old EM Bistro space.
Cecile Tang Shu-shuen closed Joss after 19 years in business. Shu-shuen is scouting a new location and remains available for catering by calling 310-277-6139.
Chef/owner Koichiro Kikuchi and wife Akiyo are closing Kikuchi in April to return to Japan.
Chef-owner Uma Singh has closed her stylish Beverly Hills Indian restaurant, Tamarin. She plans to take a hiatus before catering and hosting culinary tours to India.
Charlie Bean and husband Ron Miranda have closed their Manhattan Beach “Cal eclectic” restaurant and winebar, XO Wine Bistro. They still own Bacchus Wine Made Simple in the same town. No word yet on what will fill XO’s space or where chef Dave Martin will land.
Joe Pytka, owner of Bastide, closed the buzzworthy Provençal restaurant (and one of Gayot's 2005 Top 40 restaurants in the nation) on January 21. He wants to make a restaurant with a hip and urban Californian atmosphere. The space is being reimagined by designer André Putman, and the restaurant will reopen under a new name, which has yet to be announced. The now largely French wine list is being reconceived; wines from all over the world will be added. Chef Ludovic Lefebvre is staying and is working on a more simplified version of his culinary interpretations. Bastide, 8475 Melrose Pl., West Hollywood 90069, 323-651-5950.
Hollywood barhoppers will have to go elsewhere for medianoche sandwiches and braised oxtails now that Paladar Bistro Cubano has closed after over two years in business. No word yet on a new tenant.
Vida, the funky Los Feliz restaurant originally owned and operated by Fred Eric, is no longer. The building will soon house the Chabad of Greater Los Feliz.
After nearly 21 years, Röckenwagner restaurant will serve its last meal on January 14, 2006. After much thought, Hans Röckenwagner decided to take up an offer to sell when approached by entrepreneurs. He is currently searching for a new location for Röckenwagner restaurant and will be opening 3 Square Bakery & Café in Venice featuring classic Röckenwagner pastries, breads and pretzel products.
We’re sad to see Chloe go at the end of the year. Even though it’s located in a somewhat inconvenient area in Playa del Rey, we gladly made the trek there for its adventurous and successful menu.
We also say farewell to Lunaria, Bernard Jacoupy’s little bit of France, which has closed.
Cirxa Bistro (3719 W. Sunset Blvd.) will no longer be supplying Silver Lake with Cajun and soul food. No word yet on a new tenant.
Chef Don Dickman will no longer be serving his “adventurous rustic Italian cuisine” at Rocca (1432-A Fourth St., Santa Monica). The Santa Monica restaurant will serve its last dinner on Wednesday, November 30. No word yet on future plans for either Dickman or the restaurant space.
In Pasadena, fans of Ray Luna’s loup de mer and elegant setting will miss Naya Restaurant Moderne. The stylish spot on East Colorado Boulevard has closed.
If you got a yen for kaiseki-style tofu and yuba (tofu skin) dishes, you’re out of luck in L.A. after August 31. Umenohana in Beverly Hills, the first U.S. branch of this established upscale Japanese chain, will have shut its doors.
In West Hollywood, Rika Restaurant-Diamond Lounge is no more in its hip location of Sunset Boulevard. If you got a hankering for progressive sushi, check out our list for Top 10 Sushi.
Fifties throwback ice cream parlor and restaurant Soda Jerks at 219 S. Fair Oaks Ave. in Pasadena will close Labor Day weekend due to lease issues. The establishment might be relocated to a new Pasadena location.
Pinot Hollywood at 1448 N. Gower Street has been closed by the Patina Group. The official line from corporate offices is that it’s being reworked into another restaurant project by them.
Sushi-Ko sushi bar at the top of Beverly Glen has closed.
Harvest, the “natural” restaurant
in Beverly Hills with the mix-and-match menu, closed
on September 8. Their food is still available for catering
and special events. Solar Harvest, 310-77-SOLAR.
Norman Van Aken’s “New World”
restaurant, Norman’s, has closed.
The new inhabitant has not been named.
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