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Which LA Restaurants are UNDERrated?

It's been a while since we've had such a list, and plus I think trying to compile a list of which restaurants are overrated will just result in a giant cat fight on the board, with me chirping Matsuhisa at the top of the list. So how about a current thread of underrated restaurants? Which places are you surprised gets nary a mention?

And who knows, maybe it'll result in the same cat fight.

1. JJ's Steakhouse (Pasadena) - I think steakhouses not named Cut or Mastros are going to be a tough sell regardless, especially in a neighborhood that has ACH and Parkway Grill, not to mention other culinary destinations.

2. Cha Cha Cha (Silver Lake) - Maybe it's too passe, maybe it's not in the right neighborhood, maybe it's actually achieved the middle ground somewhere between over and underrated.

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  1. Max in Sherman Oaks,
    Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks,
    Pastis on Beverly Blvd. near Crescent Hts.,
    Hatfields,
    Tagine and Chameau for Moroccan food - a cuisine that should be tried by everyone at least once, and
    Carlito's Gardel for great wines from Argentina with steaks, chops, or seafood.

    5 Replies
    1. re: carter

      Why would Hatfield's be considered underated? I've read nothing but good things about this place plus it gets a lot of press.

      http://myculinaryadventures.blogspot.com

      1. re: carter

        carter, what do you like at Pastis? it's pretty close to me but i never go in.

        1. re: esculent

          Sorry, but finally returned to this post after nearly a week.
          http://www.lapastis.com/ for the menu and wine list.
          My favorites include the bouillabaisse, cassoulet(not as authentic as I might like but quite tasty nonetheless), chicken tajine, rack of lamb, steamed mussels, frisee aux lardons and their fries are all quite good, and fairly priced.
          Also, listen to the specials as they can also be very good.
          btw - this next week there is a Provence wine tasting on both Wed. and Thursday nights, with the menu on the website at $60 for everything, sans tax and tip. Will probably go one of the two nights.
          Corkage on regular nights is also a good option if you collect, or really enjoy a certain wine that is not on their list. Believe it is $20 corkage.
          Waitstaff all very nice, all French speaking, and an all-around comfortable place done in modern French bistro decor, as opposed to the traditional look, a la Mimosa.

        2. re: carter

          I had a _terrible_ experience at Boneyard. We had reservations and they gave away our booth to walk ins in front of us, leaving us at a 4-top in the center. We waited over 20 minutes for a drink, the membranes were left on the ribs, the rib were stringy and undercooked, the waitress brought the bill instead of the dessert menu, and the place was only half full!! Never going back. Will never recommend.

          1. re: westwood

            Just noticed your comments regarding Boneyard. Cannot address the seating issue, yet the ribs are now being purchased from a new supplier, and they are much better and moister than previously, and since they have no sauce, just smoked flavor, you can dunk, or not, into either one of the two sauces available on the side.
            ps - going tonight for fried chicken night, as Aaron adds it to the menu on Mondays only. I know people who come here strictly for the chicken and do not even look at the menu on Monday.

        3. Carousel in Hollywood. Unclear why people do not mob the place from opening to closing every night. We went last night and there were open seatings -- maybe the cold was to blame.

          Before Sahag went back to Lebanon, I was always amazed that some people had not been there. (Sahag's Basturma, now owned by a nice Persian-looking fellow, but it's just not quite the same)

          4 Replies
          1. re: ttriche

            how long ago did sahag go back to lebanon? just curious if it was him or the new owner there when i visited the last time about 4 years ago. and yes, it's a gem.

            1. re: kevin

              that would have been sahag. i think he sold it to a relative about a year ago.
              he was a friendly and sort of small man with his wife...

              1. re: modernist

                is the food the same or has it changed? oh, and it goes without saying is the basturma (the precursor to pastrami) with the garlic paste still on the menu? thanks.

            2. re: ttriche

              I'm not going to enumerate the many reasons I don't go back to the Hollywood Carousel, but suffice to say I've been there repeatedly and have always been disappointed. And it's all food-related.

              The Glendale Carousel is good, as is Marouch, which is a half mile from the Hollywood Carousel. Golden Fish is also good. It's on Hollywood, several blocks from the Hollywood Carousel.

              The Hollywood Carousel is NOT an UNDERated restaurant.

            3. ps. regarding "(Pasadena) ... a neighborhood that has ACH and Parkway Grill, not to mention other culinary destinations" -- it was recently determined that all food in Pasadena is slop. Tonny's, Tibet House, Lebanese Kitchen, Julienne, Bistro K -- don't bother trying any of them.

              See here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/373038 -- keeping the trollwork going

              It's theoretically possible that one or more of the above is under-rated somehow by someone.

              1. Completely agree that Matsuhisa is absurdly ovverrated, first of all...as to underrated:

                1. La Buca - great Italian place, many people know of it but it still never gets mentioned along with the best Italian restaurants in L.A. The handmade pastas are the best around. This place makes Vivoli look like The Olive Garden.

                2. Ro-Ro's Chicken - Hollywood counter-service Lebanese food a la Zankou, but IMO better than Zankou. Get the #4 Chicken Shawerma Plate.

                3. Nozawa - OK, it's not underrated at all - but every time someone mentions other sushi places as being better, they are in a way underrating Nozawa because he is the one true master.

                3 Replies
                1. re: thegrifter

                  Where is Ro-Ro's? I guess La Buca might be underrated among the general public, but I think on Chowhound, it risks being over-rated. I like it a lot, but sometimes it seems over-adored on the board.

                  1. re: Chowpatty

                    IMO, RoRo's blows.
                    But, to answer your question, I believe it is on Sunset btwn Highland and Wilcox.

                    1. re: bodie

                      I love Ro ros...the guys that work there rule.

                2. Agreed on Matsuhisa. Didn't help that last time I was there weird ceiling fluid dripped into my food. They were slow to move us to a table that wasn't getting dripped on -- but finally did. Comped dessert -- but the taint of ceiling fluid hung over the meal.