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Help! 1st Date in Brentwood/WLA

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Hounds, I need help!

I have a date tomorrow (TUES) and here are the parameters:

1 dont want to scare her off with intimidating food
2 she is coming from northridge and gets lost easy... I need easy access to freeway
3 good food!
4 see #1, i know she likes thai & steakhouse fare... but those are the only clues I have... she's not that into sushi... so thats a no.

I dont need to tell you ambiance and all that, you already know. She's no hound, so help me out on this one. Thank you in advance!

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  1. How about Nook? Upscale comfort food plus easy access from the freeway. Only trick is finding the actual restaurant, which is hidden in the back of a mini-mall.

    1. You didn't mention Italian but Guido's is a nice romantic environment with booths and is actually quiet! Great italian food. Santa Monica/Bundy

      1 Reply
      1. re: dinami

        VITO on Ocean Park and 28th!! Right off the 10 at Bundy!! Great food, dark and cozy. : )

      2. Violet would be my pick - it's delicious, romantic and right near the freeway!

        7 Replies
        1. re: hrhboo

          I keep meaning to try Violet. Any recs?

          1. re: a_and_w

            I've been pleased with every dish I've eaten there, but standouts are the mac n' cheese (ruined me for life), pork chop with polenta, zaatar fries and mussels. The menu is seasonal and changes frequently.

          2. re: hrhboo

            We just ate at Violet for the first time, about two weeks ago. I was severely underwhelmed--the lights were on too bright, so I could see how much the carpet needed vacuuming, the food was exceptionally uninteresting except for the nice cheese plate to start the meal, a dessert selection so boring that we actually skipped it and went to Milk instead.

            I saw the chef walking around and talking to guests, and he was much more avant garde than the food. Mind you, I am not someone who enjoys foams and other conceptual cooking that entertains bored palates. But the very average fare at Violet, combined with miniscule portions that barely suffice as small plates, is not worth the expense. We could have gone to Lucques Sunday supper for the same price and have been much more happy.

            1. re: LAmonkeygirl

              Violet isn't supposed to be avant garde, it's comfort food done very well.

              1. re: hrhboo

                I don't like avant garde--comfort is great. And that's why I like Nook.

                1. re: LAmonkeygirl

                  I really wanted to try Nook, and I will soon.... but for what I was asking for? This place nailed it.

                  1. re: partypants

                    I'm glad you had a good experience. Hope you get a second date! ;)

          3. Another vote for Nook! It's fits all of your reqs. Good luck!

            1. Violet and Nook are good choices.

              I'd also consider Upstairs2.

              You could also hit up The Gardens on Glendon or Palomino in Westwood.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Emme

                My friends who date like going to Palomino, Napa Grill, or The Gardens. All of them have a menu with lots of choices and the atmosphere is nice. Food works too!!! In West L.A. there is Il Moro. You can sit on the patio which is nice and it is easy to access from the Freeway.

              2. Agree with the Violet recs. Good date environment, and it's fun the share the small plates...good first date activity. A lot of the items are updated comfort food...so good for a foodies and accessible for a non-foodie. Price is reasonable. And easily accessible from the 405.

                1. I would go to The Ivy in Santa Monica on Ocean Ave. It's easy to find. It's a few blocks off of the 10 fwy. It'll cost you $150, easily, though. I think it's a GREAT first date place. Great drinks. Food is just alright, but hey. But, it's nice and dim. There's a nice buzz to the room.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Frank_Santa_Monica

                    there's also 'i cugini' next door to the ivy...or the lobster across the street...or a little further down that stretch of ocean ave, there's 'boa' if you want to impress her with more of a 'scene' [you mentioned she likes steakhouses]. she should be able to find any of them pretty easily.

                    good luck! :)

                  2. There are so many other recommendations for Nook that I won't bother (even though I kinda did).

                    How about Osteria Latini? It's relatively easy to find, intimate, not very sceney (so she probably won't be looking over your shoulder to check the crowd out), not very loud ,and not very expensive (in comparison with other places you could go to). That drink with gelato and prosecco served at the end is a always a charming touch.

                    1. I love Nook and I think it's great for a date. But if you already know she gets lost easily... maybe go for Nook on a second date. The first time I tried to find it, I got very lost, as did the people I was meeting there.
                      Italian is easy for people whose tastes you're not sure of. I might suggest Pizzicotta on San Vicente. Easy to find, not super expensive. It's a very small space, but it feels pretty cozy and casual. Good food, nice waitstaff. It would make a good low pressure date.

                      1. Thank you all, I think I have made my choice, and I will let you know tomorrow!

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: partypants

                          Look forward to the update.

                          1. re: maudies5

                            OK, Violet it was. Just perfect thank you so much. She didn’t even get lost, well, unless you count passing it and circling back.

                            We started with a celebratory glass of prosecco, (I had a delicious malbec while waiting, not sure of the name, but it was on the featured board)
                            They have a nice selection of interesting wines, by the way....

                            The menu of small plates was such a great idea, because we were obviously going to share, so this could provide a glimpse into her interests, food wise.
                            We started with the frisse & gorgonzola salad and the tuna tartare. As a starter, to get the palate working, I think they were good. The tartare didn’t knock my socks off, but it had an interesting presentation, with ice on top and popcorn seasoned with what tasted like Picante flavored Cornuts. Made for an interesting coversation.
                            The next round, thank you hrhboo, was the mac n cheese and the mushroom ravioli.
                            The mushroom ravioli was good, but my date really enjoyed it, raved about it, actually.
                            OK.
                            The mac n cheese. wow. thats it. just wow.
                            She text messaged me this morning.... what I thought would be a "good morning, thank you, blah blah..."
                            NOPE
                            It was "I had dreams about the mac n cheese last night. Amazing."
                            'nuff said
                            Then came the pork salimbocca. Another star. Very tender, very good, masterfully seasoned.
                            A nice touch? Well, they serve your check with a little chocolate chip cookie and a shot of milk. Perfect night.
                            Thanks to all of you that contributed, and I hope to get to all of the places you described!

                            1. re: partypants

                              sounds like it was definitely a success...the only improvement would be if that text said she had dreams about you FEEDING her the mac n cheese.

                              goal for date #2, perhaps? :)

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                There were other texts... none relating to the mac... but that is for another site ;)

                              2. re: partypants

                                I'm so glad it went well. Now you've got me jonesing for that mac!