LA Dine: What You Need to Know About Los Angeles' Restaurant Week
Eat Los Angeles like a Hollywood A-Lister, whether or not you carry a Black Card: Dine LA, which runs through Jan. 25, tempts us with shrunken prices, specialty menus and inventive riffs by some of the city's most accomplished chefs.
Take Providence, maybe the most exciting spot on this year’s lineup: Michael Cimarusti has built a temple to sustainable seafood, and the city’s responded by filling his pews. Critics routinely rank the restaurant at the top of their “best of” lists, and the rooftop farm helps keep it there. Try the local California rockfish, or any of the other elegant tasting menu offerings; they’ll be going for $100 per person, $160 with wine pairings.
Or Bazaar, in Beverly Hills, where force-of-nature chef José Andrés breaks from feeding the world to serve up his famed “Hamachi cone” and seared Wagyu beef cheeks with honey dates and mustard caviar. The menu ($110 per person) draws from Andrés’ Spanish background (hola, tortilla and croquetas) but also features new takes on low-fi American classics, like a Philly Cheesesteak served on “air bread.”
At Jean-Gorges Beverly Hills, things kick off extravagantly, with sea urchin and caviar accompanied by crispy potatoes, yuzu, and crème fraiche ($99 per person). The lunch menu’s a steal at $35 per person; it includes “Slowly Cooked Salmon” with truffled mashed potatoes and shaved Brussels sprouts. Meanwhile, over at Hotel Bel Air, Wolfgang Puck’s offering a starter of Pacific coast oysters, followed by “Black Pasta” with lobster and goat cheese or a young Sonoma lamb with quince and a “bouquet” of winter vegetables ($100 per person, or $155 with wine pairings).
Naturally there’s more to Dine LA than exclusive tasting menus. Nearly 400 restaurants across the impressively wide culinary spectrum of Los Angeles are participating; whatever your pleasure, there’s something here for you.
Quite possibly, that's A Frame, food-truck legend Roy Choi’s first brick-and-mortar restaurant, which continues to push the envelope with a Hawaiian-Korean mix on the west side. The Dine LA menu here is $29 per person and mix-and-match. There’s a Cracklin’ Beer Can Chicken with rice, kimchi, salsa roja and salsa verde; “OG Ribs” in a pool of hoisin-chili sauce, showered with slivers of green onions and sesame seeds; and Ahi Poke, mixed with a riot of furikake, spicy ponzu and other flavor bombs. Do not not not miss Choi’s revelatory take on street churros: deep-fried pound-cake fingers rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with a luscious malted chocolate milk for dipping.
Then there’s Culver City’s Akasha, which throws a big, uh, bear hug around the bounty of Southern California. The dinner menu ($39 per person) begins with a complimentary glass of wine or a cucumber agua fresca. Next try the heirloom carrot salad with goat cheese and pumpkin seeds, and follow that with the “sambar chicken tikka masala”—a nod to Chef Akasha Richmond’s time in India. The dish comes with vegetable biryani, chutney, papadum, and raita (or go vegan, if you’re so inclined, with cauliflower curry in place of the chicken). Next door at sister restaurant AR Cucina, the dinner menu features orecchiette with pesto and broccolini and other Italian classics ($29 per person), while lunch options include strozzapretti pasta in a tomato vodka sauce or a grass-fed burger with fonduta, calabrian chili aioli and cacio e pepe fries ($15 per person).
The most iconic menu, though, may be the one at Los Angeles institution Lawry’s the Prime Rib, where, to fans’ infinite relief, not much has changed in the 80-plus years since the restaurant opened. The aged prime rib’s still carved tableside in the grand dining room on gleaming silver carts by waiters in chef hats. The Dine LA menu ($59 per person) includes classic sides like an impossibly airy Yorkshire pudding cup, creamed corn or spinach, and a pile of mashed potatoes pooled with gravy. And in keeping with the eating-like-an-A-Lister theme, the restaurant was recently the scene of a legendary red-carpet event that dates back to 1956: a prime rib bacchanalia called the Beef Bowl, thrown for each year's Rose Bowl teams during the lead-up to the big game.