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NY Chowhound Coming to LA

  • m

Friend of mine, voracious eater from NYC, is coming to LA next week...we've known each other for decades, having gone to grade school together in NYC.

Cut to the chase...where to take him in LA on a Friday night?

CUT is out...he doesn't like steakhouses, and I don't like CUT.

Haven't been to Providence, but every dish that Providence has served at various food/wine functions (meals on wheels/winemasters), I've really disliked. Also, never warmed up to the space when it was patina.

Comme Ca out...NYC has plenty of GOOD bistros.

Japanese....perhaps, Urusawa??? Don't like Matsuhisa's places especially...not a huge fan of Celebrity restaurants in general. Sushi Zo does nothing for me...if I'm going to drop two bills on food, I want some ambiance.

MOZZA's are probably out, for same reason...he's been to all of Mario's places in NYC.

Not a huge fan of Suzanne Goin (sp?) places...solid, but hardly destination worthy.

Frankly, I'm at a total loss!


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  1. Mozza's pizza is not out, because it has better pizza than Otto, Batali's pizza place in NYC.

    1. What do you think of Saddle Peak Lodge? Certainly not gonna find that cabin on the hill in Manhattan. I've not been in the past few years, I recall hearing of a chef change in that time.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Professor Salt

        We like to drink...I live in BH!

        Nice try, though.

        1. re: manku

          Josie might be a good choice. More elegant than Saddle Peak, closer to BH by far, good wine list and great food (including game dishes--Josie was the chef at Saddle Peak once upon a time). Chinois, Ortolan and Spago would also serve nicely to suitably impress even a jaded New Yorker.

          176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

          2424 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

          8338 W. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048

          2709 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405

          1. re: manku

            So instead of dropping the two bills on Zo, drop two bills and hire a car for the night. This is LA. It's not the heinous expense it is elsewhere.

            Get him stuff he can't get in New York. There's no Babita equivalent in New York. Take him on a crawl of Koreatown -- barbecue and drinking afterwards. Take him someplace on the beach -- The Lobster?

        2. Frankly, I'm at a loss as to what you're looking for.

          Are you looking for the top high-end dining in the city? Are you looking for something uniquely LA? Are you looking to blow a lot of cash on an impressive night out. Have you been to a single restaurant in Los Angeles that you have enjoyed at all?

          Also, you seem to have answered your own question.

          1. Don't try to out-New York a New Yorker.

            Do a progressive Mexican all-day feast -- Carnitas Michaocan on North Broadway for their al pastor burrito, El Parian for carne asada, King Taco, Senor Fish for fish and scallop tacos, going to or coming from LAX Taqueria Sanchez for their shrimp tacos, and any of the big three stands in the Grand Central Market for carnitas.

            Take him to In-n-Out Burger.

            Take him to Langer's so he can claim that their pastrami on rye doesn't hold a candle to 2nd Ave. or Katz's -- you'll know better (and so will he).

            Thai food at Jitlada, followed by snacks and the Thai Elvis at Palm Thai. Korean BBQ or tofu house. SGV dim sum or specialty ethnic particular Chinese. A half-chicken and pita and that fantastic garlic paste from Zankou.

            If you try Urasawa he's just going to one-up you with Masa. I'd consider Chinois on Main, Orris, or Spago. Maybe even Nook, where you can brag that you've found a great place that will fill his big appetite for pennies on the NYC dollar.

            3 Replies
            1. re: nosh

              I like the strategy Nosh. Admit your weaknesses, feature your strengths, and surprise him with a flanking maneuver. You're like a culinary Patton.

              But if you can't be persuaded for the more California Casual approach, maybe consider Ortolan, Grace, or Hatfield's?

              Help us help you with some additional info: Scene/no-scene/area of town/what cuisines he likes.

              1. re: ElJeffe

                LOL. I'm on my way to DC to consult with Patraeus!

              2. re: nosh

                A 2nd on Mexican. Not going to get that in NYC. I'd have Baja fish tacos for lunch and or something like Border Grill or Serenata de Garibaldi for dinner, heck any decent place in LA with good guac should slay. There will be no answer from NY on it.

              3. Jar
                The Grill
                Mexican - see other posts
                And, if those don't work, I'd take him to the Magic Castle and see if they can make something that will please you appear

                1. Frankly if you can afford Urasawa, then just do Urasawa and don't look back.

                    1. re: woofer

                      As a NYC hound who had been to Spago, I will say that it will do nothing to OP's friend if he/she has been to most of the fine-dining places in NYC. While I think Spago will still do well in Manhattan, I don't think it will stand out from other upscale restaurants, and isn't really worth a special trip.

                      1. re: kobetobiko

                        i'm from jersey so i understand the nyc dining scene as well but spago typifies california cuisine, which is what it seemed the poster was looking for. maybe try michael's in santa monica.

                    2. Obviously SF is different from NYC, but this thread might offer some ideas:


                      1. One of the other posters suggested a progressive Mexican crawl. Frankly, since it seems that you don't really like many of the good restaurants in town and don't want to take him to something that he can find in NYC, then this may be your best bet. That or a Korean crawl, or something Chinese in the SGV.

                        Border Grill in Santa Monica is an option. Good food, lively atmosphere, and very L.A.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Jack Flash

                          If you are trying to make a "LA has better fine dining than NYC" statement, then you are obviosuly going to fail to impress. Just because NYC has a better restaurant than providence that doesn't mean that your guest will not enjoy his meal.

                          Pizzeria Mozza is a good bet. I have eaten at NY places and to for me personally, I love Mozza.
                          Hatfields is always a nice example of cal cuisine.
                          I like Lucques becasue their first courses use great CA veggies. Even though NYers are smart enough to import our veggies, I still suspect out veggies simply outshine that in manhattan.
                          Bastide wont beat out the best food in manhattan, but it would certainly be a respectable choice by manhattan standards.
                          For Japanese food, only ONE sushi restaurant in manhattan beats the top 10 in LA, and that is Masa. so if he hasnt eaten there, don't rule our sushi. Also, Shojin has good japanese vegan. There are izakayas, tempura bars, noodle shops, comfort food, and all sorts of non-sushi japanese that are respectable and I have yet to have better Japanese food in the states (granted I didnt seek out the BEST in manhattan).

                          On top of that there is Korean, SGV chinese, and thai places like Jithalda that will do the trick.

                          1. re: jlrobe

                            "For Japanese food, only ONE sushi restaurant in manhattan beats the top 10 in LA"

                            If you're talking price/quality ratio then maybe. Otherwise, that statement is reversed. Aside from Urasawa, when it comes to the highest quality of fish, rice,and unusual variety maybe Mori crack's NY's top 5. NY's Japanese food scene is as advanced as LA's with numerous izakayas, places serving kaiseki, ramen chains straight out of Japan, housemade soba and udon shops, etc.

                            The LA Korean and Chinese are good bets since that's unrivaled by anything in Manhattan and even in Flushing.

                            I agree that you shouldn't rule out Mozza. In fact, since he's been to all of Batali's places, he may want to try Batali's LA venture to compare and contrast. If P.Mozza, then try the pizzas and antipasti. If O.Mozza, then the mozzarella bar items since Babbo's pastas still own O.Mozza's.

                            1. re: epop

                              Epop. Glad to hear you had a great time with Yasuda (first time sitting with him right?). I can respect your point of view. As I recall, you liked Zo the best (even more than Mori) because of the interaction with Keizo and the neighborhood feel of the place. That's like me preferring Yasuda for the rare stuff that I can't get anywhere else.

                              However, I doubt you would concur with the 2 posters here that claim LA sushi blows away NY sushi. Even in LA's top eschelon of sushi, there are few if any, that can prepare and grill 5 types of fresh eel.

                              As you have said before, it's nice to eat at Mori, Zo, and Yasuda and enjoy what each chef does best.

                        2. What about Axe, followed by a Venice bar (like Beachwood or Nicki's for cocktails). Definitely California food, and the Venice vibe is laid back and not NY at all.

                          1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                          Beechwood Restaurant
                          822 Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90292

                          1. DID YOU TRY LANGER'S???

                            1. i'm a new yorker (commute in from stamford) and have eaten at all of batali's places except del posto many times. osteria mozza would be a great choice. be sure to sit at the nancy bar and have fun with staff and nancy. we did this last year just after they opened. maybe the dining highlight of the trip.

                              you can't wrong with most of the suggestions but i have one thought that may appeal: check the schedule at the hollywood bowl and pack one killer of a food/wine picnic if something good is playing. i know the philharmonic revs up sometime in june but i'm not sure what's available, if anything, this time of year. there is no counterpart to the bowl in manhattan. shakespeare in the park comes close but it's not the same.

                              good luck.

                              1. Capo. La Botte. Giorgio Baldi's. The Hump. Kumo. Valentino. Spago. Sona.

                                And on Friday nights, I love Chaya Venice.

                                I have felt that Joe's has gone really downhill over the past couple of years, but you might consider putting that on the list.

                                1. Waht about the SGV for Dim SuM?

                                  The Water Grill?

                                  The Inn of the Seventh Ray (semi cali spacy Topange Canyon vibe)

                                  The Original Farmer's Market?

                                  Rahel, Messob, or other Ethiopian?


                                  I would go to Providence. In house is bound to be differnt than what a Chef caters at a function.

                                  1. Only one suggestion: sushi. Try The Hump at Santa Monica Airport for a totally unique L.A. food experience. This town does sushi like no other - it is my standard answer to NY and SF foodies (me being a transplant) and something other cities just can't touch for price/quality (and yes, before I start a war - other cities have great Japanese - but I really believe we kill the category here in the land of La. I have TRANSPORTING sushi often here - rarely have I in NYC, certainly not in the past few years there, no matter the price).

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Pigeage

                                      Hi Pigeage,

                                      When were you transported to LA from NYC? Also, when was the last time you have sushi in NYC and where was it? If you read Porthos' post above, I can only say that I agree with her 100%.

                                      1. re: kobetobiko

                                        Sigh. I did say I didn't want to start a war . . . I am simply saying that sushi in L.A. rocks the casbah. So let's put it down to difference of opinion - I think the sushi is better here in L.A. overall and you and others do not. I am only suggesting that sushi would be a great choice to keep an out of town Foodie very happy indeed. My experiences in NYC tend to be midtownish due to business - I was at Sugiyama recently, and before that Kurama. No matter how good the sushi in NYC, I stand by my statement.

                                        1. re: kobetobiko


                                          The Hump is no Kuruma or Yasuda. It is also rarely described as transporting in LA discussions of top sushi. If I understand Pigeage correctly, the emphasis is that the Hump will offer more of a "LA sushi experience" than a "better than NY sushi experience". It's important to point out that The Hump is very expensive.

                                          You and I have similar cravings for traditional edomae-style nigiri with the emphasis on the highest fish quality, fish variety (ie not just "meltingly soft" toro and hamachi but sayori, kohada, etc.), rice seasoning and texture, items like freshly grated wasabi on a sharkskin board, fresh sudachi juice, and the chef's skill with regards to knifework, shaping, and ability to accentuate certain fish with subtle touches and juxtapositioning. By those standards, Urasawa, Mori, and Sushi Zo are LA's best.

                                          For someone interested in lots of very good sushi at relatively cheap prices, I could see adding Kiriko, Hide, and a whole slew of others to the mix. You know better than I do that NY now has a plethora of restaurants serving very good sushi at quite reasonable prices. In fact, 15-20 pieces at Yasuda usually runs me between $75-$100 before drinks/tax/tip. That's about the same price point as Mori and Zo.

                                          After about 7 years of responding to similar statements, all I can say is that everyone has different ideas of what sublime sushi is and that others judge sushi by different standards. It's rare to convince someone otherwise.

                                          Oh, and btw, Porthos is a "him" ;-)

                                          1. re: Porthos

                                            Well-stated Porthos.

                                            By your posts and prodding, I've come to grow in my understanding and appreciation of the finer points of great sushi. :)

                                            I've just come back from Japan and am humbled by how amazing authentic Sushi from the homeland is. I have reservations for Urasawa later this month to do the final comparison of all the great LA Sushi restaurants, and if I'm in NY, I'll have to try Yasuda's as well. :)

                                      2. Go for Urasawa if you are willing to dish out more than two bills (more like three close to four) per person.

                                        For a royal Korean dining experience, try YongSuSan in Korea Town. Traditional Korean set dinner served by waitresses dressed in Korean traditional outfits.


                                        YongSuSan Restaurant
                                        950 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                                        1. Citrus at Social


                                          Even LA MILL (do they have quite that level of sublime ridiculousness when it comes to coffee in NYC?)

                                          1. Take him to Metro Diner in Culver City. Fabulous food, now a good wine list, with the price and ambiance of Alphabet City near the Lower East Side. He will never know about it coming from Gotham.

                                            1. Hi Manku - So what was the end result?!