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Jul 24, 2001 09:01 AM

HELP! NY chowhound coming to LA...

  • j

Hi folks.
I'll be spending some time in LA this summer and was hoping to get some advice from you fine people. Any thoughts on the following?

I've seen that some people here aren't big fans of Crustacean. How about the others? Any other suggestions? Looking for memorable food in a relaxed atmosphere.


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  1. Primi and Citrus are easy, both are gone to that big chopping block in the sky.

    Ivy if you are looking for celeb's, at least the one on Robertson. Food, nothing to go out of your way for, if you are looking for memorable meals?

    Crustacean has gotten some very bad reviews on this board as you've seen. I found the food OK, but the bar scene was incredible. Also the restaurant is very beautiful. Go and have some drinks and appetizers. You will save money and have a better time.

    1. Advanced welcomes! I recently made a glorious chowhound trip to NYC and the Manhattan Board was incredibly helpful. Here are a few suggestions:

      THE IVY: Lovely atmosphere, with almost always a celeb/star sighting. Don't let them put you in the room with the dessert counter. My favorite dishes are the Corn Chowder (excellent), any grilled fish, and the Pecan Tart with Homemade Praline Ice Cream covered with chocolate sauce is one of my favorite all time desserts.

      WATER GRILL: The best seafood you can get anywhere. Both the Chowder and the Lobster Bisque are outstanding, and every fish (especially the Tuna) are cooked and sauced perfectly.

      LUCQUES: My favorite LA restaurant at present. The service is professional and friendly, and the chef, Suzanne Goin, uses fresh ingredients simply and superbly cooked. Favorites there: The short ribs are fall off the bone tender and perfect, and the Steak for two is one of the best pieces of meat to be had in the city.

      MUSSO AND FRANKS: Try this place if you want to experience an LA institution and step back many years. You also will get to have the best Martini in LA. Be sure to sit on the side with all the booths and the lunch counter, not on the side with the bar (though the Bar is a wonderful place to have a drink). There are some land mines on the menu, but the salads and all the grilled meats are excellent. TAYLOR'S STEAKS in Koreatown is along these same lines. Both remind me of old Hollywood or Raymond Chandler's LA.

      EL CHOLO: Another LA Institution. Great Margaritas, good solid Mexican food, and the green corn tamales, which are in season only from Mid May to September, are sweet and succulent. If you go to El Cholo, you must at least order one of these tamales a la carte.

      IL PASTAIO: I have never seen this wonderful little Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills discussed on the LA list, but for my taste it has some of the best Italian in the city. The mushroom risotto, the risotto cakes (an appetizer), and any of the pastas are terrific. It is not on the menu, but sometimes they serve a warm seafood salad that is a must.

      TRAXX: Great food in an incredible setting: Union Station. Dining here, for lunch or dinner, is a great experience because many of the tables are set inside one of the most beautiful buildings in LA. If you go, try the crab cakes: excellent!

      I am not a big fan of SPAGO BEVERLY HILLS, but many people on the list seem to love it. I have only eaten there once, for lunch, and though it was fine, I did not feel it was worth the price.

      Enjoy! Let us know what you try.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Tom P

        Tom, I read about your travels on the NY board. You certainly dined well!

        Thanks to all for the recommendations. I'll report back. Hey, is the weather nice out there? Just kidding ;)

      2. The Ivy at the Shore in Santa Monica is a beautiful setting with all the great food the Ivy has (at least I'm pretty sure about this). The food, at least in my opinion, is unbelievably good (I'm a crab cakes and grilled vegetable salad fan). It is pretty pricey, however.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Karen

          Loved the Ivy. Went there last Spring, in April for Lunch. No reservations on a Saturday. They seated us promptly, not on the patio though, nearer the kitchen, which I rather enjoy. Service was impeccible, treated us like the regular celebrities and old money that frequent the place. My meal was good, good, good, Fresh seasonal lettuces, and soft shell crab special. White table linens in a county cottage setting. Fun area of L.A. to shop after a glass or two of wine.

        2. First, let me lend my opinion on Crustacean - WEAK!! If you are hoping to see Leonard DiCaprio (not high on my list), go there - if you are looking for good Asian food, don't bother. If you are really into Asian, go to Renu Nakorn in Norwalk (yes, Norwalk) - totally non-descript Thai restaurant(Issan regional cuisine)in a strip mall that is regarded as one of the best Thai places in the United States - no kidding. You can bring your own wine too, which is nice. I live in Venice Beach and we have so many good restaurants in the area that I can only lend my opinion on West LA restaurants as I see no need to leave the area - here goes:
          1) Joe's
          2) Josie
          3) Buffalo Club
          4) Michael's - FYI - new chef just left, so.....?
          5) Globe
          6) Sawtelle Kitchen (BYOB)
          7) 5 Dudley
          8) Fabio (has been having growing pains, but food can be great)
          9)Sasabune (the ONLY place to eat sushi in West L.A. - next stop would be Matsuhisa or $u$hi Koh in BH/LA...)
          10) Valentino's
          Other places I have heard great things about include Zax, Melisse (going to both next week), and Lille's. If I could only go to one place, it would be 5 Dudley.

          Many of these restaurants and others not named here are to be found on Abbot Kinney Bl. in Venice and Sawtelle Ave. in West L.A. - if you head to one of those two streets, it will be hard to go wrong.....

          1 Reply
          1. re: KPS

            I just returned from a trip to my native New York on Thursday and went out hours later to Globe in Venice. It consoled me; the worst part for me of leaving NY is always leaving behind the amazing chowhound adventures I have there. Anyway, Globe was fantastic; it has climbed my list of favorite West Side places to nearly match 5 Dudley (which I agree is the place I'd go if I had to pick just one, but good luck getting reservations). The house smoked salmon is delicious, and the lamb over artichoke puree was quite good (and enormous).

            Lilly's has been very hit or miss lately. Axe on Abbot Kinney is a more consistent bet.