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Best 2010 Dine LA Menu / Experience?

In reviewing most of the menus posted for the Dine LA weeks, I find most of them to be too limiting and under whelming. My wife and I went to Grace this past Friday, and both the diversity of the menu and the food was excellent.

I am looking for other recommendations of restaurants to pursue during the expanded Dine LA week. I prefer to stay in LA, south of Melrose, north of Wilshire, and between Highland and Fairfax.

Thanks!

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  1. I enjoyed my experience at The Bazaar. The key is to come with a group of 4. With 4 pp we were able to share 20 small dishes. Avoid Craft. The menu is very mediocre for dinela. I should have tried Grace. My friend told me she had an incredible meal during dinela at Spago.

    1. Had a great DineLA lunch at The Palm downtown (near the Paper Clip Joint). For $22, I had a caesar salad (other choices were iceberg wedge w/blue cheese & bacon) or lobster bisque; an 11 oz. NY steak (as much meat as one really needs, especially at lunch) served with truffled fries, plus a bit heaping plate of homemade potato chips and friend onion strings, and choice of dessert (I had key lime pie; my friend had the cheesecake). Also served with a little relish dish of pickles & radishes. It was a TON of food. The steak was tender, flavorful and cooked to an exact medium rare as ordered. Yeah, I know, a steak isn't all that exciting, but this was a really good deal...especially at a place that normally charges about double the price just for a piece of meat.

      1. What expanded week? I'm looking on their website and don't see any reference beyond last Friday the 5th. Or are you just looking ahead to the next time it comes around?

        1 Reply
        1. I went to The Bazaar in October for dineLA, and LOVED it. I also loved trying Grace this time around. Had a wonderful experience at Fogo De Chao, too. Avoid Cafe Was....not a fantastic meal.

          1 Reply
          1. re: attran99

            Also really enjoyed Fogo De Chao on Friday night.

          2. Grace has it going for an additional week but I see nothing on the dineLA website about other restaurants having a 3rd week. If it is extended we had a lovely dinner at IXV.

            1. Spago was terrific...to make an even better deal, go to Costco, or costco.com, and order the wolfgang puck gift cards....100 for 80, or an additional 20% discount.

              1. the lunches i ate at Beacon and at Lilly's French Cafe were absolutely wonderful AND both were great bargains.

                1. I tried several restaurants. By far the best meal was lunch at Saint Amour in Culver City. Delicious!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: ElissaInPlaya

                    Le St. Amour doesn't appear to be on the list of participating restaurants. What did you have and what did it cost?

                    1. re: Bob Brooks

                      This is an old thread from the February 2010 weeks. Here's the thread talking about the current Oct. '10 ones...http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7361...

                      1. re: Bob Brooks

                        I looked on their website also, and it doesn't mention anything about being part of DineLA... wonder what they have. Love that place.

                        1. re: justinelc

                          Again...you're reading an old thread that someone revived about the previous Dine LA.
                          Le Saint Amour participated last time. Not this one, though.
                          Discussion about current Dine L.A. is here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7361...

                    2. Fogo De Chao was really good. We didn't expect too much but were stuffed to the gills. We could only get a 9pm reservation for a party of 5 on Friday and didn't expect it to be too crowded because they close at 11pm. Wrong. The place was packed and they still managed to have wonderful service. We had someone checks on us on a regualar basis and replenish cheese bread (already having cravings),crispy hot polenta, garlic mashed potatoes and caramelized bananas.
                      My favorite meat was the Picanha (Top Sirloin) which again surprised me. I would have geussed I'd prefer the rib eye.
                      The salad bar was had a variety of cheese, the 24 Month, Aged Parmesan and shitake mushrooms were a hit with our party. Many of the DineLA menus are not a great deal but at Fogo you save around $13 per person.

                      Last year I enjoyed the Restaurant at Sunset marguis and Simon LA.

                      1. Meet in Culver City was a real hidden gem. Fantastic trout entree great service, an intimate yet low-key bistro feel like I remember from trips to Paris. And with the little white twinkle lights Culver City has on the trees outside it had the feeling of a nice stay-cation, the kind of place you'd remember if you took a trip to another city in the US. Just a great place to have well-prepared, French bistro style food, reasonably priced and enjoy your wine and conversation (unlike so many places in LA, it's acoustically mellow, no over-powering music and even though my friend and I lingered over desert catching up we didn't feel like we were being rushed out the door. There's also a nice little patio that we didn't take advantage of because it was a chilly night, but there was a decent sized crowd out there and every time I glanced outside they had smiles on their faces, I understand why. I can't wait to "Meet" again (sorry, couldn't resist!)

                        1. I don't want to start a new thread since this one is here already but had to chime in about my great DineLA meal at Water Grill earlier this week. It was fantastic! I opted for the calamari fritto misto app, wild coho salmon for entrée, and red velvet pudding dessert.

                          The fritto misto was a generous serving of fried calamari, olives, lemon slices, and zucchini . Very fresh tasting and arrived with a nice aioli that complimented the flavors well. The wild coho salmon was excellent. Perfectly cooked medium rare with a delightfully crispy skin. The salmon filet was served over a tangy mound of rapini next to a small polenta cake topped with a poached Jidori egg and a bit of salmon roe. This was one of the most elegant and delicious salmon dishes I have ever had. The beautiful orange Jidori egg yolk complimented the salmon and rapini wonderfully.

                          Dessert was also great. A small slice of decadent red velvet pudding cake went well with scoops of raspberry sorbet and vanilla ice cream.

                          I really cannot say enough about the service here. Our server was a class-act, totally knowledgeable and got big points for replacing our white napkins with black ones to minimize lint on black clothes. It was my first time to Water Grill and I am definitely a fan now.

                          -----
                          Water Grill
                          544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Ernie

                            I hope the black napkins had button holes like the white ones -- another thoughtful touch rarely found in restaurants anymore.

                            Yes, WG is great. Thanks for a fine report, Ernie -- that salmon sounds fantastic.

                            -Harry

                          2. Had two so far, Border Grill in Santa Monica for lunch and Bazaar last night for dinner.

                            Border Grill, at $16 was a pretty good deal. Some of their best menu items were available and one special - chicken enchiladas with a poblano cream sauce was also excellent. Everything was very good. Chips and salsa were as usual and even with drinks it was reasonably priced.

                            Bazaar was a bit of a disappointment. There were four of us and there were a lot of choices for Dine LA. We made a point of ordering all different things and sharing everything, so we sampled some 24 or so dishes by the time the smoke cleared. We'd all been there before and loved it. This time, however, other than a few WOWs - the Philly Cheesesteak, the sort of liquid Spanish tortilla, the sauteed shrimps, the scallops and the brussel sprouts - several of which we'd had before - nothing was all that spectacular, good but not great. The waiter confided that they had been careful putting items onto the Dine LA menu that kept the food cost down for the sake of the pricing - at $44 per person plus drinks - so that they left some of their really great stuff off the Dine LA menu. I still love the place itself, and will definitely go back to order off the regular menu, or to try the big tasting menu sometime. But the Dine LA experience was the least exciting of all four of our experiences at Bazaar.

                            Next week we've got Spago Beverly Hills (never been, am not likely to go other than for Dine LA, so why not) and Eva. We're toying with the notion of Bistro LQ.

                            -----
                            Border Grill
                            1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                            Spago
                            176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                            Bistro LQ
                            8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: estone888

                              estone, we went to Spago last year and had an amazing time - food, service, wine recommendations were fantastic. We are going again this year. I think it will be a meal you remember for a long time (and you may go back when Dine LA is over).

                              -----
                              Spago
                              176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                            2. I had a nice DineLA meal with my mother at Chaya Downtown last night. $34 per person for the dinner.

                              For starters, I had a mission fig salad with forme d'ambert. This is a fantastic salad that Chaya has every fall, so I was thrilled to have it from the DineLa menu. My mom had the soup of the day, a mushroom soup with Hokkaido scallops and truffle foam. The scallops were very good and I enjoyed the flavor, but it tasted a bit more like onion soup more than mushroom,

                              For entrees, we both had a medallion of ribeye steak with potatoes and brussel sprouts. The meat was excellent and perfectly cooked. The medalion was a good size and had a lot more flavor than the typical filet that so many restaurants serve during DineLa.

                              For dessert, my mom had the fuji apple strudel with pecan ice creamand I had the vahlrona chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream. These were good, not great. I would have liked the brownie served warm. The pecan ice cream that came with the apple was excellent, but I thought the strudel had too much cinnamon.

                              With happy hour drinks (wine for mom, cocktail for me) at $6 each and two cappucinos, the price after tax and tip was $50 pp.

                              -----
                              Chaya Downtown
                              525 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Jwsel

                                Fantastic 3 course lunch today at Bouchon. Price was $28.00 pp plus iced tea. Everything was delicious. Restaurant was packed. It was a really good deal and it motivated me to want to return on a non-Dine L.A. day.

                                1. re: maudies5

                                  That's surprises me. I looked at the DineLa lunch menu they offered and it's very boring to my eye, but I'm glad they executed it so well as you noted in your post.

                              2. Had a nice experience with dinner at Water Grill on Friday night. I had the Calamari (it was okay - mom LOVED it - they had breaded and fried lemon slices and garlic slices that threw me for a loop) and mom had the oysters on the half shell. My Calamari went better with the cocktail sauce that came with the oysters than with the Harissa sauce it came with. For mains, I had the Jumbo Pacific Shrimp and Pork Belly. It was good. The shrimp had a very distinct smoky-grilled flavor that I found overpowering, but it was still good. The Pork Belly had a sweet glaze on it and was good, too. Mom got the "Copper Shoals Redfish" which changed to a Snapper called Leika or something like that. She loved it. The ragout was light and with the mussels added she was waaayyyyy happy. For dessert, I had the sorbet trio -Mango, Strawberry and Greek Yogurt - they were fine. She had the Red Velvet Pudding Cake with Marscapone Ice Cream which was different but good.
                                I am rereading this review and thinking that I am not sounding very positive. But it was really good and we had a great table (#4 - apparently this is Sybill Shepherd's favorite table) and good service. I think the highlight was when I ordered some Kumomoto Oysters and slurped those down - they were divine! I also brought a great bottle of Chardonnay that went with everything really, really well. Remember, free corkage!!
                                Total before tip around $107.
                                Tonight, off to Spago~

                                -----
                                Water Grill
                                544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                1. While I found the service to be a bit slow and inconsistent last Tuesday night, the Tar Pit's dineLA menu was good for the 26 dollar price.

                                  You can see photos and my commentary here, if you're interested.

                                  http://www.chidoeats.com/2010/10/los-...

                                  -----
                                  The Tar Pit
                                  609 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                  1. My wife and I went to The Bazaar last night for DineLA with another couple and were extremely please with our meal and the service. As a quick background, we moved from SF to LA a few months back and we've generally been someone disappointed by the must eat mid to high range restaurants in LA thus far. We walked into the Bazaar kind of expecting the same - fancy BH hotel, with Hollywood types, and people who look like they burn money to stay warm in the winter. In our mind, we were thinking style of substance.

                                    We got to the SLS Hotel about 15 minutes ealry so we grabbed a drink at the bar. My wife and my friend's wife both like somewhat fruity drinks. My wife got a Jalle Berry (Jalapeno and berry drink that was awesome) and my friend's wife got a peach like foam drink that was god as well, but a bit too sweet for my taste. The bartender, Cleo, was just great. Very friendly, talkative, and walked us through all the different concotions on the menu.

                                    When we sat we met our waiter for the evening, Andrew, who was just great. He first came off serious and when he realized we were all pretty casual people he loosned up a lot and started cracking jokes with us. We ordered off of the Dine LA menu which consisted of choosing 1 starter (I chose the Philly cheesesteak, but we did famly style. Also ordered was the Japanese taco and Hilly cheesesteak), 3 app/entrees (from what I remember - jamon cerrano, chicken croquettes, jicama wraps, west coast oysters, Catalan style roasted veggies, Catalan pork sausages, organized caesar, apples and fennel, and wild rice). I'm sure I forgot some stuff. Our waiter also brought out the beets and the Spanish tapas (as a joke because he thought it was one of the blandest dishes on the menu - he was right) at no charge. Stand outs for us were the jamon, the croquettes, the cheesesteaks, the Catalan veggies and pork sausages, the oysters, and the wild rice. The flavors were very precise on almost all of the dishes we had, and were able to delineate the different flavors so everything did not seem muddled. Even on the dished we did not like that much, we all agreed that the ingredients themselves were excellent, its just something got lost in the execution.

                                    All in all, very good meal and excellent service. We definitely plan on going back again. Plus, it helped break down our LA stereotype of style over substance for higher end dining.

                                    -----
                                    The Bazaar by José Andrés
                                    465 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                    1. Luna Park. Beautiful restaurant, good food and drinks, decent price.

                                      -----
                                      Luna Park
                                      672 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                      1. Had a good meal last night at Vertical. What was nice was that in addition to getting the 3 course meal for $34 each, we were able to use a $50 coupon I had purchased (not sure if Groupon or Open Table) for $25 so the cost of 2 meals exclusive of tax, tip and drinks was $43. Had mussels (really good), hanger steak (pretty good) and apple tart (not bad).

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: mc michael

                                          just to clarify, this was a 2011 experience.