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Sep 4, 2008 01:29 PM

L.A.'s Best Appetizers

Some people are dessert lovers, but me, I'm an appetizer guy. Sometimes I'll forego an entree in favor of a few great appetizers. To me, a great appetizer will influence my entire dining experience. Once in 2006 I returned to a restaurant three nights in row for the soft-shell crabs they were serving as an appetizer. I would have gone back for a fourth night, but the restaurant got a restraining order.

So here's my question, what are the best appetizers in L.A. and who has the best overall selection of appetizers? I plan on eating my way through the list, so answer carefully.

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  1. Chicken liver pate crostini thing at Mozza is really good. I'm Jewish and have been eating deli chopped liver all of my life. The Pizzaeria Mozza version on this wonderful bread is sublime.

    3 Replies
    1. re: orythedog

      That's because Jewish Delis don't serve theirs with fried pancetta topping!

      Actually, all joking aside, I believe most delis do their chopped liver with beef, not chicken liver.

      1. re: bodie

        I really tried to resist the temptation to correct you (or at least give my opinion) but my compulsion won. Anyway, chopped liver is chopped chicken liver plus a few other goodies such as sauted onion, hard boiled eggs, salt and pepper and possibly celery. I have seen a few recipes that are 1/2 chicken liver & 1/2 beef liver but those are exceptions from my experience. One would typically assume that when you refer to the deli appetizer chopped liver, you are referring to chopped chicken liver. Now I feel much better but I'm going to have to try Nancy's version.

        1. re: Fru

          I hate to disagree with you, but, alot of people make it with calves liver, I for one am one. Never celery, but maybe some schmaltz and a lot of sauteed onions with the hard boiled eggs. Yes, people do make it with chicken liver, I think it is what you are brought up with. I know a lot of delis use calves liver.

    2. Lately I have been going Uzen on Santa Monica Blvd. just east of Bundy and dining on appetizers only. Garlic sprouts with mushrooms and shrimp, tofu in spicy sauce, green lipped mussels with crab and Japanese style mayo sauce - baked, and still looking for one more off their rather extensive list to round out my meal. I have tried their pork cutlet rounds which are panko crusted and deep fried and also the dynamite (too much like the mussels and not as good). Next I plan on giving their deep fried squid rings (J style calamari) a try. These are very generous amounts of food. All washed down with a Sapporo. Now "I'm" drooling.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Servorg

        Another west side thought, Violet. Don't know if they are still offering their early evening 7 for 7 deal or not (a choice of 7 different starters, each for $7) but their regular dinner menu is here: and has a lot of great choices.

        Add: 7 for 7 still on their website here: and even their Sunday night prixe fixe for $25 with a $10 bottomless glass of wine is a great way to go.

        3221 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

        1. re: Servorg

          Note that Violet's 7 for $7 really is a good deal, with a selection of their small plates for $7 each, and is available before 7 p.m. on Tu-Th.

          Not that I haven't sung their praises before, but Nook Bistro offers my favorite panko-crusted mac'n'cheese for less all the time.

      2. Bone marrow flan at Cut. I hated their steaks, but the appetizers were delicious.

        1. Just had dinner at Eat on Sunset, they have these deep fried kalamata olives with lemony mayo dipping sauce, it was totally cravable.

          3 Replies
          1. re: schrutefarms

            Deep fried kalamata olives... That is so wrong, yet so right. I will be trying these within the week.

            1. re: creamfinger

              Whoa! DEEP FRIED CALAMATA OLIVES???? That sound like a whole lot of love in my book. ©

              1. re: Pesky_Humans

                I just had these a few weeks ago and it's everything you think they should taste like ... fried, salty, olive-y goodness. The aioli is REALLY mild and just adds that extra fatty "slick" taste.

                It's delicious.

          2. I have simpler tastes so I like ANYTHING at Happy Ending on Sunset. I can recommend the PuPu platter (a bit of everything) Drunken Chicken Quesadilla, and the fish and chips, which is actually seared tuna sashimi with wasabi french fries