Greater food, lesser attitude---where?
I had a memorable dinner at Joe's in March of '99. And then they closed for remodeling or something, and I haven't been back to Los Angeles since they reopened. I've enjoyed Lucques and The Beach House, but overall Joe's takes the prize. What I liked about Joe's is that it felt similar to eating at the bar at Union Square Cafe--great American food, genuine service, and importantly, in towns overflowing with attitude, everyone appeared to be treated equally. Should I consider Jiraffe, Patina, or Saddlepeak Lodge for my "expensive night" next time I visit Los Angeles?
Had lamb chops w/ green beans and sweet potatoes and wonderful caesar salad and good bread. The Mrs had vegetarian Lasagne. Both dishes were excellent (almost the best food I've had in LA). The atmosphere was mellow, and at the same time very classy. Some people in suits and dresses, others in shorts and thongs (shoes not underpants, i guess, maybe there could have been some in thong underpants). The owners (can't remember thier names were very accomodating). It was a warm evening and we sat on the porch.
great chocolate souffle to end the dinner.
got out of there for about $65 (no alcohol)
We had two great meals the past couple of weeks. One was at Nick and Stef's, a steak place in downtown LA owned by Joachim Splichal. This might have been the best steak I've ever had. They make a perfect caesar salad at your table and the service was impeccable. Last Saturday we ate at Chadwick, which is on Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills where the old Chez Helene used to be. The chef grows his own vegetables and they were wonderful. I had a delicious squab. It's rather hard to get a reservation because it's apparently a hot place right now but it's worth it. The service here too was just wonderful. Another place you might want to try is Michaels in Santa Monica on 3rd st. just north of Wilshire. They've been around a long time and do a great job. Plus, think about Citrus on Melrose in sort of west Hollywood. In Venice, besides Joes there's 72 Market, 5 Dudley and one of our favorites, Hal's, casual, not very expensive but really good food.
re: Joan Winston
YES! Nick and Stef's downtown is a recent great discovery of mine. It has the potential for attitude -- downtown gloss and a suit&tie/bleached teeth clientel -- but was knocked out by the graciousness of the wait staff. We happened upon it during the intermission of a downtown concert, just simply looking for a drink and appetizer. Having had no intention to drink in a rather posh place, we definitely low-balled the dress-code, but the waiters didn't flinch. Very helpful, not over-bearing or too friendly. I would swear our waitress had absolutely no pretentions about getting discovered. Fabulous terrace nestled in awesome view of the skyscrapers. The prices were reasonable, and I suppose if you work downtown, it's a nice place to unwind for happy hour. Excellent Manhatten, and I almost fell out of my chair in shock when I discovered the crab cake appetizer was actually superb. (I had challenged the waitress, saying a decent crab cake is as unlikely in LA as snow.)
Patina is a good choice (there's been lots of recent posts on Patina; check them out), Campanile is always a winner, Luques would be another good choice. I'd pick these places over JiRaffe (though the food there is fine) or Saddlepeak Lodge (unless you want the unique ambience of Saddlepeak), or, for that matter, Joe's. But if you are such a big fan of Joe's, why not go back there? It's as good as ever.