Summer Musts 2015
Take one of the biggest intersections in Los Angeles, Melrose & La Cienega, upcoming Australian chef, Louis Tikaram, and a new rooftop destination you have a recipe for success. E.P. is an Asian Eating House without regional boundaries & L.P. a rooftop where many can enjoy the sunset or have a late night snack around a fire pit until 2am. E.P. & L.P. stands for extended play and long play, perfect for this venue. Many make dinner reservations and retract to the roof and never leave. E.P.’s menu is designed to be shared family style, with solid roots in Thai cuisine. E.P. Combines overtones of Chinese, Fijian & Vietnamese influences, blending them with the freshest Californian produce to create an offer unlike any other. L.P. does not serve the full menu on the roof, but offers late night bites, and a private secluded area called Frankie’s in the back for larger private parties. L.P. boasts the true Hollywood scene for rooftop lounging on Friday’s and Saturdays- good luck getting past the doormen.
Recommend: E.P.-Wings & Peppers, Check Yo Neck (Our favorite), Sweet & Sour Crispy Pork, Chiang Mai Larb, Lou Dogg’s Crispy Skin Chicken, Scallop & Mussel Curry, and the E.P. vegetable fried rice. L.P. – The nachos!!!! Download the recipe here.
Summer Reason to Visit: The Rooftop and the Chef’s Table- Experience an intimate table of 10 next to the kitchen available for a degustation style banquet with wine pairings
Owner and Chef Eric Greenspan of the previous Foundry on Melrose certainly knows his way in the kitchen, but more importantly what people in LA want. Under a year to opening Greenspan Grilled Cheese in the previous space, that now is occupied by Melrose Umbrella Club and his cheesy dine and take home bites has now brought the speak easy in dining destination “patio style”.
Maré, Chef Greenspan’s latest endeavor as a restauranteur and chef who uses á la carte dishes on his menu, but remaining true to this love for a tasting menu to allow patrons to be creative with bivalve to broth options, fitting for those so close to the Ocean. Everyone in LA wants to feel like they are in a hidden secret, a destination others cannot reach, and a privacy setting that allows one to return over and over- Maré is that place. A hidden restaurant located through the kitchen of his grilled cheese- aria deposits you into the back aspect of what was once the Foundry. Guests adjourn to a waiting area with a hoststand, where you can charge your phone, and perhaps choose your choice of tobacco and indulge in a cigarette while sitting outside. As you wait for your party, as Maré is a dining experience advocated for parties greater than 4. You then retract to another patio which has trellises that separate large parties.
What I love most about this place is it feels private; you are not looking around at who is there, because it feels of a destination for those localites of LA. But the menu… the menu is perfect for those who are looking to fill their belly, but not get over stuffed. There is such a craze with ramen, shabu shabu, and pan Asian soup style dishes in southern California, Chef Greenspan got this trend right. Check this out- you can basically choose from plates, shellfish, or cocktails. The main attraction to the menu is the fact that you can order your choice of Shellfish; mussels, clams, or shrimp, and choose the broth; leek & white wine, tomato fennel, pistou spicy sausage romesco, or vadouvan curry with green apple. To compliment your choices of shellfish to broth dishes, they are served with pasta, soft boiled eggs, and bread to add.
We recommend the salt roasted potatoes, fried smelt, and arugula salad to start while diving into some of Greenspan’s wonderful fruit muddled cocktails. The winning dish is the Whole Branzino served as is with fig pomegranate sauce. It is delicious and perfect! Here is how we mixed and matched Chef Greenspan’s magic:
- Black Mussels with the Vadouvan curry sauce
- Shrimp with Pistou spicy sausage romesco sauce
- Manila clams with leek & white sauce
Recommend: if you are carb cutting do not use the bread or the pasta to fill. Instead grab the soft boiled egg and add the roasted broccolini to your order.
Summer Reason To Visit: Good Dinner under the stars
The District by Hannah An-
Those throughout the world who flocked to the garlic Dungeness crab and noodles provided by world renowned Chef Helene An can now experience the new noodle provided by daughter Hannah An. Hannah has created an environment that thrives on harmony. The District by Hannah An is unlike any Vietnamese restaurant in the U.S., and why would it be? Hannah An comes from three generations of strong willed Vietnamese women who all have great taste and know their way around the kitchen. The District by Hannah An is not only a restaurant that she has built; it’s a home, one that is a direct reflection of her family dynasty and cultural ties to Vietnam. Like the experience in her country of birth, every guest is greeted, served and tended to like they’re part of the family; they’re encouraged to sit, enjoy, linger, and learn-no guest should ever feel rushed. Because so much history graces the casual-upscale setting, from the cuisine to the decor, staff members are encouraged to create conversations that educate through shared interest. Hannah’s dishes once tasted exude respect from her teachers, and allow patrons to engage in fine dining. Dishes such as the Colossal Langoustine served with grilled jumbo prawns, handmade noodle in house sauce is unlike anything to taste.
Recommend: The Hannah An Noodles- these Homemade Noodles are made with; jasmine rice, brown rice, District Brown Rice (with Edamame, quinoa), Market Roasted Vegetables, Chinese Broccoli, and Brocolini (Broccoli, garlic & chili flakes). They are like to imitate an additictin
Summer Reason To Visit: The only place to lunch after a day of shopping on Robertson Blvd.
B.S. Taqueria- “Broken Social”
Former Creative Chef of the Fairmont’s Fig Santa Monica, Ray Garcia just made Downtown LA better with B.S. Taqueria. The market –fresh ingredient menu follows the Broken Spanish ethos, preparations demonstrating elements of long-established tradition, paired with contemporary approaches, and local flavors. The Taqueria provides the ideal backdrop for Chef Ray Garcia’s rift on convention, a casual, counter service environment for lunch, and bustling full service dinner. Snacks, referred to as Bolsas, such as the Lemon-Pepper Chicken Chicharrones and “Rice and Beans” are perfect to share with the group, but the headliner remains the taco. House favorites include the bologna with escabeche and the clams and lardo. For dinner, also expect family-style nightly specials like the Snapper Veracruz, a deep-fried whole fish presentation. The design of B.S. Taqueria is another reason why this is a summer must stop in, as the bold colors, wooden furniture, and green garden back room with picnic tables offers a destination you have to just check out, while you dive into B.S. Taqueria tacos. There are some restaurants in Los Angeles that try and add that healthy element to Mexican Cuisine, but often cannot seem to get it right. B.S. Taqueria has done that with dishes such as the Beet Torta, the cucumber salad, or even the specialty tacos like Garcia’s clams and lardo taco. Los Angeles Times, Jonathan Gold put it perfecting- “Garcia’s menu manages to be satisfying to both the transgressive big-meat guys and the Gaia-conscious vegans; the carb-lovers and the gluten-free.”
Recommend: The Chorizo and Papas Tacos, Lemon-Pepper Chicken Chicharrones, The Beet Torta, The Masa Ball Soup, and if you didn’t get the Churros- you have missed out on life! Any cocktail you can order is fabulous- created by Julian Cox
Summer Reason To Visit: Best restaurant to pre-game at with a group Downtown style
Laurel Hardware’s second venture has taken the space of Lola’s on Fairfax and is called Ysabel. This swanky and chic restaurant could possibly be one of the most beautiful restaurants in Los Angeles today. Phil Howard and Dean McKillen have created a two wing restaurant that will have one feeling that they have landed in a Restoration Hardware heaven. Ysabel exudes contemporary modern design with mid-century flare, white marble touches throughout, and endless windows create the indoor dining area. A large patio separates the two wings of Ysabel, where there are beautiful leather sofas and candle lit tables. The lighting around the trees and above creates a very playful mood. There are two bars so everyone has access to their crafted cocktails that are spectacular. Check out the cocktails and their fun names here. So once you have grabbed your Maria Linda, Gia, Peggy Sue, or the Dorothy which is made with Dewars 15 year paired with Lillet Blanc sous-vide Lemongrass & Lemoncello tea, Ardbeg Corryvrecken Float head out to the main patio. Here other than being served the full menu you have the best seat in the house to people watch. Now our favorite part of Ysabel is their elevated private patio above a regal marble illuminated staircase. If you are lucky enough to get the sofa lounge private patio to yourself at Ysabel, hold on to that seat because it is the hot ticket. Ysabel is the perfect summer patio spot.
Recommend: The Orecchiette Bolognese pasta, Azuri Clams, sprouted broccoli, pickled beets, Hamachi, and of course their oysters. Food Flaunt’s favorite drink is the Maria Linda, go taste it!
Summer Reason To Visit: Perfect Summer Date spot
Commissary at the Line Hotel
Chef entrepreneur Roy Choi creator of Pot, Pot Lobby Bar, and Pot Café at The Line Hotel has opened his newest project at the hotel, Commissary Restaurant in Koreatown. Commissary is a greenhouse designed restaurant stationed on the pool level of the hotel with a focus on fruits and vegetables. Even the drink menu is based around plants as the foundation. Chef says that Commissary is homage to all the people and families in Southern California that work on farms to bring food to all. Inside the greenhouse restaurant are hanging plants, pots of herbs, and communal tables scattered throughout. The bar is in the center of the restaurant and even has a garden hose at the end of the bar. The menu is vegetable focused. The Charred Carrots are a restaurant favorite, along with the braised leeks in yellow curry sauce. I stumbled upon a large vegetable garden located on a further terrace, and understood that Commissary is not playing around with this menu. In addition to what they celebrate with farm to table, the restaurant is also using what they grow. Choices of grilled melon, radishes, beets, asparagus, and the list goes on. However this restaurant would not be a Roy Choi spot without a little meat and eggs! The green curry mussels served in a yellow sauce with parmesan topped and focaccia, this dish is packed with flavor. However the Soft Scrambled Eggs are on another level good. These fluffy eggs are served in a red sauce with boursin over hash browns, you literally need to order two servings of this, and because it is not for sharing it is so good. Lastly, the Pork Schnitzel is a staple to order when visiting Commissary. Make sure to check out the Matthew Biancaniello inspired cocktails served in plastic storage cups.
Recommend: The Shrimp Po’boy, Braised Collard Greens & Kimchi, Cauliflower Tempura, Bok Choy, Deviled Eggs, Pea Soup, and Pan Roasted Scallops.
Summer Reason To Visit: Great weekend group plan for pre-game dinner and nightlife in one spot.
Terrine is a lively California Brasserie by Chef Kris Morningstar a James Beard Rising Star Chef semi-finalist who has become a one to watch chef. Terrine serves rustic food inspired by the French classics, cooked with California flair. The wine program led by Francois Renaud, revolves mainly around French wines, with a few chosen locals to round up the list. The spirited cocktail program, created by Ryan Wainwright, insists on the classics. Located in West Hollywood on Beverly Blvd you can recognize the French spot from a large pig on the wall. Terrine is in our opinion one of the best French restaurants in Los Angeles as it is warm, romantic and convivial. Chef Morningstar partnered with Stephane Bombet of Bombet Hospitality Group founded Picca, Mo-chica, Paiche and Blue Tavern Restaurants in Los Angeles and is involved in Faith & Flower in Downtown Los Angeles. This power team is just one reason why Terrine will be timeless. The lunch, brunch, and dinner are all fantastic. Staple dishes such as charcuterie boards, avocado toast, onion soup, roasted duck, and branzino are nothing short from perfect. After visiting Paris every September, I often wonder where I can get great French cuisine in Los Angeles- Thanks to The Terrine Team I have no more doubts.
Recommend: DINNER- The Charcuterie board over and over again, The Herb Spaetzle is like fluffy butter pillows in your mouth, Bone Marrow, Foie Gras, and Mussels. BRUNCH-Eggs in Purgatory, croquet Madame, and a no brainer the Avocado toast. LUNCH- Moule Frites, Octopus, and the gravlax Tartine.
Summer Reason to Visit: You should visit Terrine year round, but this French gem is a great solution for lunch on their beautiful patio.
A.O.C is one of the most acclaimed restaurants in Los Angeles, and has proved to be able to stand the test of survival among the Hollywood competition. The dynamic duo of celebrity chef Suzanne Goin and sommelier/owner Caroline Styne own the right to say they have LA’s best wine bar. A.O.C has the groundbreaking concept of inspired wines by the glass with a small plates menu. A.O.C is a summer must because as much as people have tasted, sipped, and visited it is the continuous staple for thought on where to make a reservation. The patio and atmosphere alone will have many feeling as though they have taken a vacay from the hustle and bustle of LA, and settled in Southern Europe. From the Focaccia, savory bites from the wood oven, to platters such as roasted chicken “ode to zuni”, panzanella, fennel & green olives this menu is magnificent. A.O.C also boasts one of the largest cheese and charcuterie options we have seen in LA.
Recommend: brioche, prosciutto, gruyère & egg, hanger steak, Roquefort butter & shallot rings, tuna meatballs, spiced tomato sauce, and just about everything on their brunch menu.
Summer Reason to Visit: the wine room at A.O.C. offers one of Los Angeles’ most intimate and memorable private dining experiences. The wine room at a.o.c. can accommodate parties of up to 40 seated guests.