Tasting Menu Los Angeles
I am planning a trip to Los Angeles in January/09. I enjoy solo travel and would like to experience a 6-15 course tasting menu. Since I travel light (casual pants and running shoes) I do not bring dressy clothes. Does anyone have a suggestion of where I can get a reservation for a tasting menu for one person that does not require dressy attire?
You can wear casual pants to almost any restaurant in L.A., but I have never seen anyone wear running shoes in the kind of restaurant that offers a tasting menu. For instance, I would you could go to Providence, a favorite on this board--especially for the tasting menu--wearing khakis and regular shoes, but I wouldn't wear running shoes there. There is a lot of middle ground between running shoes and "dressy attire"...find the middle ground and then go to Providence and enjoy!
Spage is a great choice but you have to reserve ahead of time. And probably not running shoe appropriate but you can wear jeans and heels. You might be able to get away with it at Angelinis. Bring your appetite for Angelinis. It's a great deal and you can get the wine pairing too.
You can wear running shoes to just about any restaurant in LA, including the aforementioned Spago and Providence, as long as the running shoes are top of the line Asics Kayanos. :-)
But seriously, it matters less on what you wear (running shoes included) and more about whether you look tidy, and well presented. You could wear sandals and shorts to Spago for dinner as long as the shorts weren't cut-offs (for example) and the sandals weren't something you'd wear to do yardwork (wouldn't hurt to break out that pair of new Yves Saint Laurent Hadrian leather sandals, either).
But you get the point. Enjoy your trip and your stay.
Oh, and as far as a recommendation for a solo diner, I would suggest Urasawa.
If Orange County isn't too far for you, you will both enjoy the tasting menu and feel totally comfortable at Old Vine Cafe in Costa Mesa.
The last time I had the Water Grill tasting menu, the fish and seafood dishes were mostly good but slightly overcooked to my taste. The final course was a perfectly cooked, luscious steak, one of the best I've had in Los Angeles. Some of the desserts were also outstanding (especially a sorbet with tropical flavors).
If you do get down to Orange County, Michael Mina's Stonehill Tavern offers an outstanding tasting menu that often includes medium-rare duck as good as the steak at the Water Grill. (And ST is more relaxed than Mina's other places, I've found.)
However, you would be out-of-place at either restaurant if you dress for the hot-dog stand or taco truck.
544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071
St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, CA 92629
like others have mentioned spago would be great. also providence. too bad one of the chef's that did a 20 or 30 courser is out.
but you can also do Valentino in Santa Monica, especially if you like Italian wines, and mention to the chef or Pierro Selvaggio that you want a chef's extravaganza menu and not the one printed on the menu (the tastting menu printed on the menu will most likely be too boring).
where are you coming from? so we can steer you away from joints that are the same as the city you're coming from.
I also vote for Spago. And the above posters are correct, be "well presented" and you can fit
in anywhere. When we went to Spago we were "well presented" in jeans and nice shirts and
no one cared. What we didn't have was a table full of electronic devices for communication!
You will enjoy yourself there, I had a great time, great service and fabulous food! I hope to
go back one day if I'm ever in that area again. Until then I'll have to rely on Spago Maui ;-)