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Need non-date date recommendation in West LA

I'm more of a foodie but my non-date date is more about the trendy places (Katsuya, Katana...etc) So I'm trying to find a happy medium between the two. The place that I'm looking for should have a good atmosphere but doesn't shove romance down our throats. (I'm trying not to be too obvious) I'll generally eat anything. He doesn't eat pasta, bread, pork, or shellfish. I'm looking for something in the West LA area not too too far from Santa Monica. Open to places in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. I'm trying to prove a point to someone who is super picky that a place doesn't have to be a scene to be good. I've thought of Mako, JiRaffe, Josie among others...but I definitely need help!

Thanks! All recommendations are much appreciated.

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  1. I might get skewered for saying this, but Koi is actually pretty much up your alley. The food is solidly good (if by now pretty derivative) and it's still white-hot trendy. Finfish sushi will also meet his dietary restrictions.

    Another place I'd recommend that is closer to West LA and is still "scene-y" but has decent food is Whist at the Viceroy - I actually love eating in the bar area, which has a different menu.

    You mentioned Mako which has amazing food but ... it's not really that trendy, IMO. At least I know you have great taste!

    1. Book Wilshire (on Wilshire and about 25th in SM) and sit outside on the patio.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Servorg

        Duh, can't believe I forgot about Wilshire!

        1. re: Servorg

          Can't believe I forgot about Wilshire! Good call, Servorg.

          1. re: donnival

            Stop mentioning Wilshire! I live a mile away and it's my favorite spot. I don't want the crowds to start overrunning the place. (And yea, Wilshire will definitely work for you anvali. It's both stylish and the food is good).

        2. We actually just went to the Wilshire. Long story short..we weren't too wowed. He actually sent his original order (the tri-tip from their Sunday BBQ special) back and ordered the burger. Which he only ate 1/2 of. My duck was ok, but I've had at least just as good elsewhere.

          1 Reply
          1. The Wilshire suggestion is a great one.

            The other restaurants you mentioned are some of my favorites in LA, but they're not "trendy" by any means.

            10 Replies
            1. re: vinosnob

              Just to clarify, I am more looking for a place that is not known to be trendy, but has all the elements and could just be undiscovered.

              1. re: anvali

                It's always helpful when you can list those places you have already tried and discarded for whatever reason so that we aren't wasting our time or yours. Have you been to Anisette? Newer and certainly an interesting space with plenty of people to get a good strong buzz going. Have you tried Upstairs 2 or some of the places on Sawtelle that might fit your criteria?

                1. re: Servorg

                  Upstairs 2 is a great suggestion. Similar to that would be Violet on Pico, or Nook.

                  1. re: NAspy

                    I was going to suggest Nook Bistro. Check out their menu online -- their mac'n'cheese is very good, and they have a stylish burger. He might also go for the potroast, the chicken paillard, or a steak or fish.

                    I also thought of Violet, Orris, Upstairs2, or Musha, but all of these are primarily small plates designed to share, and I'm not sure your date is really open to the sharing concept. A bit off-topic, but you may want to search for the long thread on the "Not About Food" board from a couple of months ago about the limitations of partnering with someone who is very picky when you are a foodie. Sending the tritip back and then wasting half of the burger on an initial date?! What was wrong with the tritip?

                    1. re: nosh

                      I see I am not the only one to wonder about the tri-tip :-)

                      I concur with the Nook suggestion. I recently had dinner at Orris, and really liked it (hope to do a full report soon). It fits the criteria of having a bit of buzz without being romantic (by my standards anyway) though I agree that it might not be the best bet if OPs 'date' doesn't have somewhat adventurous taste in food.

                      -----
                      Nook Bistro
                      11628 Santa Monica Blvd Ste 9, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                      Orris
                      2006 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                      1. re: susancinsf

                        Nook is awesome but I guess "trendy" isn't the first word I think of when I think of it. Regardless, a good suggestion.

                        1. re: susancinsf

                          Bar Hayama on Sawtelle might work as well. Clean looks indoors, nice firepit outdoors, good to great dishes, fair amount of drink options.

                        2. re: nosh

                          Apparently the tri-tip was too tough. But with my experience with cooking, I didn't think that particular cut was the "melt in your mouth" type. I could be wrong...

                          1. re: anvali

                            Tri-tip is one of my favorite cuts of beef, particularly when sold whole, untrimmed, and on sale for only $2/lb. or so when on special at Ralph's. It is very flavorful, has some fat, but tenderness is not its strength or main virtue. When the entire roast is grilled whole Santa Maria-style for a fairly long time and then sliced very thin across the grain, it is at its most tender. But I like it cut into about four very thick steaks and then grilled hard and hot so it develops a very good char on all outsides but is still rare to medium-rare in the middle -- has a real chew but is drippingly juicy and delicious.

                      2. re: Servorg

                        Anisette is a great idea. It has great food and it's trendy.

                  2. I'm really on board with the Upstairs 2 idea -- hip but not hip. Might be perfect -- especially if the date non-date appreciates wine in any way shape or form.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: la tache burger

                      I suggested it because it has that "undiscovered" vibe - given its location and, as you pointed out, the wine choices are wonderful (plus the discounted corkage if you buy a bottle "downstairs" from the Wine House) as well as the food.

                    2. I'll refrain on commenting on how your date sounds a little douchey (ohh...see how I did that! ;)) and add Beechwood to the list. Also think the recs for Orris (they have a filet mignon dish that would be perfect for someone with non-adventurous tastes) and Bar Hayama are great. I love Nook and the odd strip mall location makes it feel sort of undiscovered, but it's not necessarily hip.