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Dine LA Restaurant Week

http://www.dinela.com/data/restaurant...

From Jan 27 - Feb 1
and
Feb 3 - Feb 8

This dining event seems so ametuer compared to SF's lauded event.

Anyhow, looking through this list I only see about 7 actual decent choices

All' Angelo (Italian
)Neomeze (Italian)
Red seven (Wolfgang Puck Pan-asian)
Beacon (Pan-Asian)
Patina (American-Modern)
Grace (American-modern with french influences)
Violet (American-modern, mid-priced) This place already has 25$ dinner Sundays!!
Il moro (Bolognese)

Optional
Table 8 (American Modern, Comfort food, bar menu)
Ocean Ave Seafood (standard Seafood) [Water grill, providence, catch, il grano, hungry cat would have been nice too]
3 on fourth (World Cuisine....I hear the food is average for the price)

I can understand places like Chinois on main, but J restaurant and Lounge? Are you kidding me? SF has some bad restaurants too, but this list makes LA look like crap. No wonder people think food in LA stinks. Why don't our good restaurants participate? Don;t places like the Foundry, Ortolan, Opus, Celadon, Bashan, Canele, Blue Velvet want some more publicity. They could all use it, and all of them are at least decent. This list is a very poor representation of LA.

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  1. Is Violet still open I thought they closed?

    5 Replies
    1. re: cc santa monica

      Violet is still open. I don't think Canele needs any publicity, they're always full and it couldn't cost much to run that tiny room. But you're right, some of those other places, esp. Ortolan, Opus, Celadon and Blue Velvet could use some new customers.
      I agree that the ones Jlrobe names seem like the best choices.

      1. re: Chowpatty

        chowpatty, you are right, canele doesnt need more publicity.

      2. re: cc santa monica

        violet is still open.

        I went 3 sundays ago and had a terrific 25$ three course meal. for whatever reason, it isnt popular, but it reminds me of a typical SF neighorhood restaurant. Qiurky decor instead of overly lavish, decent and affordable wines, mid-priced, chef-owned, pri-fixe specials, good ingredients, etc.

        1. re: jlrobe

          ... ciudad? i've never had anything more than an average meal, straining-to-hear my-fellow-diners-across-the-after-work-crowd hoopla. canele.. what's wrong with a good restaurant getting good publicity when they deserve it? i know canele because it's in my neighborhood, which is where it starts in a place like LA. pulling out the wealth of restaurants that exist in each area. try starting with location. or price range, or type of experience. or type of food. something to narrow the field.... how can you distill LA dining into top 10 lists? that's completely ridiculous... LA can't and has never been so reductive and easily defined. it's a diverse web of distinct neighborhoods/villages/towns and far more complex than anything that can be so easily characterized by lists like this.
          you have to dig around a bit, that's what makes LA so unique...

          1. re: eggimedusa

            We went to Ciudad over the last weekend, and got a very nice meal on the DineLA menu, plus the shuttle to the Music Center. The Atlantic Char was wonderful, and my martini was perfect. Wife had the mojito and declared it her favorite. I've got no complaints.

      3. The ones that look good to me are Roy's, Ciudad, and Asia de Cuba. But I don't really care for dessert, so these events are kind of a waste for me. Although this may be the push I need to finally try the Roy's downtown.

        Maybe the best person for these kinds of events, well at least in LA, is a relatively new foodie, or someone who just doesn't go out to eat very often. To them, most of these restaurants are new to them, so this is a good opportunity to try one or two. And those of us who have already been to most of these probably wouldn't want to be limited to the special menus anyway. At least I wouldn't.

        1. Too bad All' Angelo and Patina aren't doing dinners, Those and Grace are the ones that look good to me.

          Just noticed El Cholo/pasadena is on the list. Yikes.

          1. Considering that this is LA's inaugural Restaurant Week, they haven't done such a bad job putting together a list of places. SF and NY have been doing this for years. What a lot of people don't realize is that there is a significant participation fee for each restaurant (to offset costs of promotion), so there was probably some hesitation on the part of each restaurant to participate something so new and untested.

            Best thing we can do is support Restaurant Week wholeheartedly and try out places we haven't been to, or that are too expensive for us otherwise. The more successful this is, the more restaurants it will attract year after year. And soon it will rank up there with SF and NY.

            4 Replies
            1. re: TinyNancer

              Are you sure this is the first? I could've sworn LA had a Dine Out week last year as well...

              1. re: recovering_vegetarian

                Dine Out LA is a different event, held in August, sponsored by Pellegrino. I believe it runs two weeks.

                1. re: mrhooks

                  Yes, you're totally right. My mistake.

              2. re: TinyNancer

                By TinyNancer
                "Considering that this is LA's inaugural Restaurant Week, they haven't done such a bad job putting together a list of places. SF and NY have been doing this for years. What a lot of people don't realize is that there is a significant participation fee for each restaurant (to offset costs of promotion), so there was probably some hesitation on the part of each restaurant to participate something so new and untested.

                Best thing we can do is support Restaurant Week wholeheartedly and try out places we haven't been to, or that are too expensive for us otherwise. The more successful this is, the more restaurants it will attract year after year. And soon it will rank up there with SF and NY."

                You are right. I guess I just want LA to shine more. I think my initial response was an overreaction. I moved from SF, and my friends and family cant stop telling me how bad LA is or asking me when I am moving back. Maybe they just really miss me, but it sounds like SF snobbery. Anyhow, I just want LA to showcase its best culinary gems, because in my mind, LA is a very good dining town if you know where to look.

              3. i'd only go if the entrees served arent chicken breast and salmon as it almost always seems to be.... yawwwwwnn....

                1 Reply
                1. re: modernist

                  One of the resto, I believe it was Noe, had foie gras on the menu ....
                  and winter truffle soup. Sounds good, no? Haven't been to the restaurant itself tho but the foie gras is enticing.
                  Napa Valley Grille and Chaya Brasserie also has good menus. Not just chicken breast and salmon ;) just go check out the menus online.

                2. You may not want to come to Sherman Oaks, yet Max is as good as any of the 7 you mention in the $34 dinner category, and definitely worth it much more so than at least Violet, Il Moro or Red Seven. Don't know Neomeze.
                  Many places either don't need the publicity, or do not want to go through the nonsense/paperwork of it all.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: carter

                    The Ruth's Chris menu is a bargain as well. There aren't a lot of options in the west Valley (Ruth's and Roy's), but I'll go to R'sC for a bargain!

                    1. re: CEfromLA

                      Thanks, CEfromLA for the heads up about Ruth's Chris. I just made my reservations--you're right, what a bargain!

                  2. The list doesn't highlight the city's best (and indeed pales in comparison to SF's "Dine About Town", but it's better than the S. Pellegrino Dine-Out list...), but as others noted, for its first debut it's not a bad list.

                    I think I've already plotted out my to-try spots for these two weeks:
                    Dinners:
                    Grace
                    Beacon
                    Noe @ the Omni
                    Napa Valley Grille

                    Lunches:
                    Ford's Filling Station
                    Tokyo Table (I have a thing for their honey toast...)

                    Too bad All Angelo is lunch only...

                    ~H.C.
                    http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: AquaW

                      I have reserved:
                      Grace 1/27
                      Dal Rae 1/31
                      Circa 2/3
                      Neomeze 2/7

                      1. re: kelvlam

                        We are going to Dal Rae as well, but on 1/28. And Grace, Roy's, and Asia de Cuba.

                        1. re: kelvlam

                          I got waitlisted at Grace :( But worst case scenario - my friend & I will eat a late dinner @ the lounge/bar

                          ~H.C>
                          http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com

                      2. I havent been able to edit my post, but Neomeze is a mistake. I dont know how i did it, but I got in mixed up with tre venezie??? Anyhow, I wanted to check out tre venezie, not Neomeze.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jlrobe

                          That's quite a mixup! lol

                          1. re: jlrobe

                            So do you mean Neomeze is or is NOT a decent choice? :-)

                            I'm all confused now hehehe

                          2. How about the Vin Bar at Valentino? Do you think that is worth a drive up from OC, considering Valentino's recent Michellin Star. I have Grace reserved for 1/27.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Searching4Dunny

                              Vin Bar is relatively new, but I can't wait to try it out, considering that big Valentino is great. It's deinitely one that I'm reserving, but I don't live very far. Although if I did live in OC, I probably would still make that drive to try it out!

                              1. re: LisaStitch

                                I had dinner there last saturday, I guess Dine LA excludes saturdays but they were very accomodating and offered the menu, in fact we sat in the regular dining room, not the Vin Bar. The meal was FANTASTIC, some of the best pasta I've had and super moist branzino. Needless to say they have an amazing wine list. I also live far, but on the weekend the traffic is not bad. I would recommend it, its definetely worth the drive.

                            2. Well I had the most bitter disappointing Dine LA Restaurant Week experience last night. I'm going to Washington DC on Wednesday so have only a few days and limited funds to enjoy Restaurant Week, and after looking at lots of menus and options, I chose the $25 Sunday dinner at Fred Eric's Tiara, which I've never been to and I always loved his Vida and Fred 62. Out into the inky black wet night to what I hoped would be a fun new time. Get seated and ask for the Dine LA tasting menu, no, they only have the set tasting menu, which is originally $38 but they are offering for $34. I say "It said $25 on the website." No, it's just this menu, no choices, $34. I ask if they have internet access and can check, and I mention that I thought we could chose the appetizer and main. No sorry, that's all we could get. So I really felt jerked around by the whole stupid mess. Don't people fact-check or proofread? Is it the fault of the Dine LA web master, the restaurant, the staff? Anyway, we ended up eating the $34 menu (it was good) but for $34 I would have rather gone to a nicer restaurant closer to my home, like Vermont. Very upsetting and what a great way to kick off Dine LA Restaurant Week!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: sosmillenia

                                WTF??? I'd notify dineLA and all of its sponsors. That's false advertising. They basically upped their posted price of $25 to the higher level price. $38 offered at $34--give me a break. And you didn't even get a choice of dishes.

                                btw I think Fred 62 needs to vacuum, sweep, and generally CLEAN their restaurant, and also serve better food.

                                1. re: sosmillenia

                                  We had a similar experience at Carousel Restaurant. We made reservations for lunch, and made sure to specify that we would be ordering from the dineLA Restaurant Week menu. Our server seemed unaware of the event. He asked the manager, who handed him the dineLA _dinner_ menu ($26 per person, as opposed to $16). We asked him to, please, provide us with the lunch menu. He informed us that on Sundays only the dinner menu was available, and asked if we would prefer to come back on a different day. At this point, we had already been served pita bread and drinks. We felt very awkward. I would have expected this disclaimer to be posted on the dineLA Restaurant Week web page. He ended up recommending us the tasting menu at $23.95 per person ("Let's forget about dineLA."), as we would "still be saving a few dollars" than if we ordered from the dineLA dinner menu. The food was delicious, but I think we were misled. I have no desire to make any new reservations for dineLA Restaurant Week.

                                2. All'Angelo's regular menu has a daily business lunch--2 courses plus dessert--for $22.00. So what are they offering us through dine la that we can't get any other day?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: rudy buci

                                    No one mentioned Chaya Brasserie. They have great food--it should be a good one.

                                    1. re: holleygolitely

                                      i just hit up fords filling station for their dinela lunch.
                                      the food was solid tasting and the protions were generous.

                                      i had the clam chowder, fried chicken and apple crumble a la mode.
                                      my friend had the beet salad, porchetta sandwich and creme brulee.

                                      i'm currently struggling to stay conscious.

                                      the clam chowder had large chunks of potato and bacon and clams with shells on, which was nice.. for 22 bux thats quite a steal, but also a prime culprit for over eating...

                                  2. I'm doing Patina for lunch tomorrow, this stomach flu be damned. can't get another reservation so I've got to go.

                                    1. We did Vermont last night. They were really understaffed and I realized as we waited in vain to order more wine that the restaurants can recoup all of that participation money on alcohol if they try.

                                      The fried goat cheese on my salad was cut in half. I am certain it must be a whole cheese on the regular menu, or why wouldn't they just shape the rounds smaller? I felt a little gypped. But the food was killer, and well worth $34. Of course, even with a few glasses less than we would have liked, after coffee and alcohol our bill was 158.

                                      Having previously gotten excited about an event, overcommiting and later regretting the drive, this time I made my choices out of practicality. I narrowed it down to local spots, then chose solely on the menu. A lot of places did seem to be setting out the cheap stuff, whereas a few seemed to really be making an effort to impress. Ciudad sold me on the tamale alone, and Vermont enticed me with oxtails (which were killer. Only 2 though - are there usually three?)

                                      I have a few lunchtimes available that I would like to play by ear. Some restaurants are not taking reservations. Others are filling up fast. I didn't even try getting a reservation for Grace after Fraser said they were already sold out. I did try the appetizers at the opening event, and they were excellent. After dineLA I will be back at Grace first thing to try the boar.

                                      1. Just read a pretty nice writeup by LAist about Allegria @ Malibu

                                        http://laist.com/2008/01/31/dinela_al...

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: kelvlam

                                          Did Grace last night and All' Angelo for lunch today--, not too shabby a 24 hours of chowhoundness. We truly loved the meal at All'Angelo. Hadn't had a chance to try the place before, and service and food were outstanding. Cauliflower timbale, octopus carpaccio, pork belly, black cod, panna cotta, budino-all just terrific. Yes, they're only offering a lunch but I'd do it again in a hearbeat. As for Grace, service was outstanding as always, but none of us were blown away by our meals. I've been to Grace several times and had a few great dishes but more times than not I'm left a bit underwhelmed. Shrimp was okay if pretty boring, soup was really wonderful, salmon just fine, beef was nice and the doughnuts and chocolate we all agreed were a big fat miss.

                                          1. re: bhadams

                                            I went to Grace for DineLA as well. It was nothing great and will probably forget about it with time.

                                            1. re: bhadams

                                              Grace for DineLA last night was a great experience!
                                              There was no attempt at upselling except for extra menu options with a slight surcharge as well as an offer of wine pairings. Server seemed just as pleased to be taking a regular dineLA menu order as she would have been had the other options been chosen.
                                              The place was packed, but only a slight wait at the bar before the table was ready.
                                              Had the Dungeness Crab Salad - English peas, meyer lemon vinaigrette - appetizer, which had an extremely fresh clean taste, and then the John Dory with Chervil - gnocchi, salsify, oyster mushrooms, red wine sauce - which was prepared perfectly. The desert, salted Caramel Mascarpone Panna Cotta - rum soaked cake, passionfruit, pomegranate was unique and intriguing. I'm not a big desert person, but ate every crumb. Overall, a very charming, satisfying experience. And they're extending their dineLA menu for an extra week (says their website http://www.gracerestaurant.com/index....)!

                                            2. re: kelvlam

                                              Yeah, I'll be writing up my restaurants for LAist as well.

                                              1. re: kelvlam

                                                very nice casual atmosphere and good rustic food, would recommend if youre already in Malibu, since its probably not worth the drive as there are many better Italian choices in town.

                                              2. For Full Reviews & Awesome Pictures go to www.kats9lives.com

                                                So I have been to Circa 55, Asia de Cuba, Chaya Brasserie in Beverly Hills, Red Seven, and Noé at the Omni. Overall most of the places are definitely worth the price. I will definitely be back to Chaya and Red Seven. The food was delicious and service was good. I usually hate burgers, but the one at Red Seven was great. I recently had the Daniel Baloud burger and I didn't even think that was worth it, but the one at Red Seven is! Food at Noé at the Omni was mediocre. I actually spent a lot of money off the menu too, and now I realize my horrible mistake. Circa 55 had its up and downs. Very generous portions, which is why I chose to go there. The only thing was the server was not very good and the mashed potatoes were cold. As for Asia de Cuba. the food was delicious but the service was horrendously bad! Really really really bad. I might go back, but definitely not for lunch. We were saying that maybe they were saving the competent servers for night time.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: kats9lives.

                                                  I went to Asia de Cuba in the evening and the service was bad then too, but they do have great mojitos.

                                                2. Takami & Robata
                                                  For pics please go to http://www.kats9lives.com/

                                                  Friday was the last day of dine about week. Of course I went back up to LA to have lunch and dinner. The menu for here looked pretty good and interesting, so we came to try it. It took us a while to find this place and parking was HORRENDOUS! Fair warning to all, that this is Downtown LA so the rate is $2.50 for every 15 minutes and maxes out at $27.50. I personally think that is ridiculous and astronomically high! So I opted to circle around the one way streets for almost half an hour and I found some parking on Hope street for a flat rate of $6. So word to the wise, come prepared to spend tons of money on parking or search for parking far away. The funny thing is that parking could have been more expensive than the lunch itself!

                                                  For appetizer we chose Miso Caesar salad, but it was not brought out as a separate course. We both chose Miso Chilean Sea Bass with a Champagne Yuzu Sauce, Wasabi Mashed Potatoes, & Grilled Vegetable. There was also a Gyoza, Tomato & Cheese Skewer, & Takami Edamame in the obento boxes. Presentation was very modern and gave a more authentic feel.
                                                  The only issue I had was that they brought my appetizer, soup, and whole main course all out at once. There was way too much on the table to eat all the food while it is hot. I tried the soup and just left it behind because it was just normal miso soup.

                                                  The texture of the sea bass was great, but you couldn't really taste the flavor of the sauce. I didn't even realize that it was Yuzu until I just looked at the menu online. The Miso Caesar was delicious and packed a kick. I loved that there were pine nuts inside the salad. For those that know me, it is RARE that I like to eat vegetables so it must be good. The Gyoza was very unique. It was green looking so I am not sure what type of skin they used. The tomato skewer was different because the cheese's texture was more chewy than normal and light so it really brought out the flavor of the tomato. I couldn't really taste the wasabi in the mashed potatoes, but my friend thought that it was quite strong. My favorite thing was the Takami Edamame. I believe it was sautéed with a delicious combo of soy sauce. Loved the flavor that it added to the edamame. If you like saltier foods than this would be perfect for you.

                                                  As you know, I usually will order anything that has the word foie gras! I got the Filet Mignon & Foie Gras Robata. The word "robata" meant that the food would be grilled skewers. At first I didn't really like the dish as much, but as I ate more and more the flavors started to kick in. There is very little foie gras wrapped in the filet mignon. To my surprise, the dish came with a TRUFFLE dipping sauce. You wouldn't be able to tell that it was a truffle sauce since it was pink. The server never explained what was the flavor combo or the color but you can taste the truffle and mayonnaise. The skewers were good without the sauce, but having the sauce and truffle flavor mix in was a nice different touch. If I ever come back to this place, I would definitely order it again.

                                                  Unfortunately our server wasn't very good at calculating the timing of each dish. He brought the dessert halfway through the main course. I had to stop eating my main dish to take a few bites into my Molten Chocolate Yuzu Cake with Vanilla Gelato while it was still hot. This was one of the main reasons I came here, because I LOVE stuff with Yuzu. You can definitely taste the Yuzu flavor in the center and the cake was moist. Our server left and this lady took over, she was very considerate and took away the melted gelato. She offered to bring me a fresh gelato when I finish my main course and start eating my dessert. The gelato was very bland in my opinion, but I guess it compliments the cake because it is a little strong in flavor. I gave up eating it towards the end.

                                                  My friend chose to get Crème brûlée. I found it odd that they gave two Crème brûlées for dessert. At first I thought they might be different flavors, but sadly they were both the original. I asked the new server and she said that the flavors depended on the Chef. They could be passion fruit, macha, or original. You would think they would give two different flavors, but they didn't. I thought that they did an average job on the crème brûlée. The vanilla bean flavor was weak and it was a little to pudding-like for my taste. If it were up to me, I'd go back to Lawry's for their crème brûlée.

                                                  All in all the food and portion was good, especially for Dine LA's speciall $22 price. Service was good but had a lot of errors. At least they were friendly about it. The only thing was I wrote in the reservation that we were celebrating a birthday and they didn't do anything, not even a candle on one of the desserts. Overall, I don't think I would make the trip back because of the horrid parking situation and it being Downtown LA.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: kats9lives.

                                                    They do have valet, for something like $7. I believe they just park the car in the adjacent structure. Very handy.

                                                  2. Il Moro Bolognese? Since when does Il Moro have anything to do with the city of Bologna?

                                                    1. Bashan is participating: http://dinela.com/restaurantweek/list...

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: patz

                                                        I have heard great things

                                                      2. My wife and I made reservations at Ocean Ave. Seafood in Santa Monica, it was great, lunch 22 bucks each, this is quite a savings off their regular prices, we each had half a dozen oysters on the half shell, the salmon with asperigus, and key lime tart.

                                                        1. My wife, daughter and I had dinner last night (rainy Thursday) at Max, in Sherman Oaks. We each had a different app; mine was the roasted vegetable soup, which was rich and delicious and just right for the chilly, wet evening. For mains, wife and daughter both had the scallops and I had the sous vide pork wrapped in applewood bacon -- "pig wrapped in pig," as my daughter put it, and hey, what could be bad? It was excellent; tender, succulent, and a very substantial portion. I had a Strong Brewery pale ale with the pork, and it was a fine, dry choice to go along with the sweetness of the pig. I tasted the scallops -- also a very substantial portion -- and they were excellent as well, sweet and cooked exactly right. Wife and daughter both had the flourless chocolate cake for dessert, and I had the apple crisp with vanilla bean ice cream: another cold/rainy weather dish that was just right. Good drinks, too -- my pre-dinner Tanq martini was just right, and daughter's gimlet was perfect. Service was friendly and efficient. All in all a very fine dinner, unbeatable at $34. (The total, including 3 dinners, a glass of wine for wife, the drinks for daughter and self, the beer, a cup of coffee with dessert, tax, and tip, was about $170 -- $57 each, which was fine with me. And daughter actually paid for herself!!)

                                                          I'll certainly go back to Max.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: ozhead

                                                            I just read that it's extended for the rest of the month. Has anyone tried BLT, Ford Filling or The Foundry for DineLA week? Want to make sure they're not skimping on portions-- have yet to go to these restaurants and want to make sure it's a good experience.