Visiting L.A. wOW mE!
Going to be in Los Angeles, Santa Monica area in May. With the overwhelming amount of options to choose from, I need some serious help. Progressive contemporary cuisine, molecular gastronomy, sea food oriented all a plus. Sushi at least once while there. Good places fitting these descriptions that don't break the bank are few and far between but I would be curious to know if there are any up and coming stars in these areas also. Thanks
Yeah, uh, we don't really do the molecular gastronomy thing around here. Some places do interesting foams but I couldn't say where since I prefer food at dinner. I also don't know what progressive contemporary cuisine means but it certainly sounds expensive. What, to you, is "breaking the bank"?
You could go to Providence, which for a full tasting with wine is $155, or for a 5-course without wine is $85. Is that breaking the bank? There are hundreds of threads on sushi. The gold standard is, of course, Urasawa, but that's breaking the bank by anyone's standards at $350 exclusive of alcohol. You could go to Sushi Mori or Sushi Zo for a lot less money.
Where are you coming from? I'm guessing New York, or possibly San Francisco. Are you looking for something you can't get "at home"? Looking for a particular ethnicity food? Need business-deal friendly, or couples-friendly? Help us out here, there are ten thousand restaurants in the area.
In addition to Das Ubergeek's recommendations, from your description it sounds as if you might enjoy Ortolan and Sona.
401 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90048
8338 W. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Providence is the best for your criteria. All sorts of wonderful food, with a seafood emphasis. Foams and such pop up, and the tasting menu ends with some seriously interesting desserts. I second D. U.'s reccomendation of going with a tasting menu. People will be seeing me at the Chef's table this Friday night for a special menu! Wooohoooooo!
Also, consider Urasawa for what chowhounders describe amazing sushi experience ever. Total Omakase, nothing you've ever seen before! It will break the bank, price wise, but I have not heard anyone say it wasn't worth it.
Bastide may be another option, as well.
For Sushi cheaper than Urasawa, but still expensive, try Asanebo in Studio City. Sushi 4 on 6 in Encino is also goo. But Asanebo has the star.
you may also want to check out the Water Grill.
Because I don't know Glendale, AZ, all that well, it would help if you provided a background of the type of cuisine that you like there in the Southwest. I think it's been established in many other threads that the only cuisine that's really missing from the greater LA spectrum is Puerto Rican. That leads to where Los Angeles shines the brightest: ethnic cuisine. Molecular gastronomy has never taken off at all in this town (the best example is probably Sona).
Here's a link to a locals poll of the Ultimate Restaurant in LA for 2007:
I think the best high end value for the buck is the $100 tasting menu at Bastide. For sushi, you're not going to go wrong with Sushi Zo, but there's about a half-dozen sushi spots that will get recommended (like Mori and Asanebo)
where are you coming from? i know that you said "progressive contemp cuisine" but if you are coming from any major city, these places are dime a dozen imo. yes, places like providence and sona are great but if you really want "wow" in l.a. i would go ethnic food. chinese, mexican, japanense, korean etc.... l.a. is melting pot of the world which makes this place very special in my opinion.