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Need help with a selected "best of LA" .....

Maxmillion Aug 5, 2010 05:56 PM

Okay, houndz. I need a little bit of expert advice.

I am assisting a European travel writer who is trying to compile a short list of the "best of LA" food experiences.

If you will, please confirm my advice to her and fill in the gaps -- specifically regarding "best Mexican breakfast" and "best bistro" (as I am unsure on those) -- and by all means add any other pertinent suggestions you may have.

thanks!

Here is her list:

- Best American Sushi: Geisha House, Hollywood Blvd
- Best Fast-Food-Burger: In-N-Out-Burger, Sunset Blvd
- Best Fish Taco: James Beach, Venice Beach
- Best Mexican Breakfast: Café Montana, Montana Ave.
- Best Steak: Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, Beverly Hills
- Best Bistro: Bouchon Bar, Beverly Hills (neu in Town)
- Best Asian Fusion: WP24, Ritz Carlton Downtown
- Best Hot-Dog: ????

Here is what I have come up with:

- Best American Sushi: Geisha House, Hollywood Blvd

NO! This place is extremely dated -- it used to have a celeb scene a few years ago. The food has always been the least important thing there (i.e. reportedly not that good.)

Best substitute is Katsuya (Hollywood). Stylish and glam.

- Best Fast-Food-Burger: In-N-Out-Burger, Sunset Blvd

Yes, definitely this is the one.

- Best Fish Taco: James Beach, Venice Beach

Allegedly, yes.

- Best Mexican Breakfast: Café Montana, Montana Ave.

No idea on this one... I suspect there are more authentic places for Mexican breakfast than Montana Ave in Santa Monica...

- Best Steak: Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, Beverly Hills

Yes, this place is extremely good, but Wolfgang Puck's "Cut" has a better reputation.

- Best Bistro: Bouchon Bar, Beverly Hills (new)

No idea on this one... What about Anisette? (tho it is a brasserie...)

- Best Asian Fusion: WP24, Ritz Carlton Downtown

Not sure if this is the best place for Asian Fusion. Probably is.

Does anyone have anything to add?

Thanks, in advance.

-----
James Beach
60 N Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

Katsuya Hollywood
6300 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Geisha House
6633 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028

WP24
900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

  1. Servorg Aug 5, 2010 06:01 PM

    Let's just take one example from above. Best fish taco, James Beach - Venice: What? Do they even get into a discussion of best fish taco in Los Angeles? I don't think so. Tacos Baja Ensenada or Taco Nazo or The Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada (if we aren't talking about Ricky the Fish Taco stand guy).

    -----
    Tacos Baja Ensenada
    5385 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90022

    Best Fish Taco in Ensenada
    1650 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

    Taco Nazo
    10316 Alondra Blvd, Bellflower, CA 90706

    James Beach
    60 N Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg
      Maxmillion Aug 5, 2010 06:13 PM

      wow -- that was quick!

      Well, I haven't been to James Beach, but their fish tacos were glowingly featured in the recent movie "I Love You, Man."

      Obviously not as chow-worthy as your rec, so THANKS!

      -----
      James Beach
      60 N Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

    2. J.L. Aug 5, 2010 06:21 PM

      Steak: Mastro's. Wolfganag Zweiner's place come in a close second, though.

      James Beach for best fish taco in L.A.?! Are you kidding me?

      American sushi: Is that some sort of new genre? I'm gonna stay away from any further remarks on this "best of" list, having seen that.

      I'm hoping you travel writer friend will eventually try some of our recs...

      11 Replies
      1. re: J.L.
        Maxmillion Aug 5, 2010 06:25 PM

        c'mon J.L. -- you know there's sushi and then there's Cali sushi -- which is why I thought Katsuya was a decent rec.

        (do you THINK they serve california rolls or even crispy rice with spicy tuna in Japan?!)

        Dunno about the James Beach place... obviously way off the mark...

        No to Mastros -- altho I like their steak, I had a hideous experience there on our third visit and hence will never return.

        I'll investigate Wolfgang Zweiner's place, thanks to your rec.

        -----
        James Beach
        60 N Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

        Katsuya Hollywood
        6300 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

        Mastros Restaurant
        2087 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

        1. re: Maxmillion
          Servorg Aug 5, 2010 06:30 PM

          If you want folks from Europe or wherever to consider Katsuya then you ought to throw Koi into the mix (same feeling and level of execution) and let them know about Urasawa for a unique, once in a life time experience (at least in the US except for Masa in Manhattan).

          -----
          Urasawa Restaurant
          218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

          Katsuya Hollywood
          6300 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

          Koi Restaurant
          730 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069

          1. re: Servorg
            Servorg Aug 6, 2010 09:37 AM

            ...and my vote for best Mexican breakfast place goes to Teresitas in East LA. Of course I also pick them for best overall, (non regional specialty) Mexican food as well.

            -----
            Teresitas
            3826 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90063

          2. re: Maxmillion
            J.L. Aug 6, 2010 01:20 AM

            Well aware of the "Cali sushi" being out there, but why is your friend even interested in that when we have such amazing non-Cali sushi here in LA?

            Funny, my experiences at CUT have been awful...

            1. re: J.L.
              hnsbmg Aug 6, 2010 05:41 AM

              "Funny, my experiences at CUT have been awful..."

              Ditto -- merely decent steaks and sides at noticeable cost. Scene before taste. And waiters who are either extremely interested or extremely disinterested. Many times in (gasp) Vegas I've found much better food and service at Charlie Palmer Steak at the Four Seasons, a non-casino hotel which seems to cater to elegant young women. Very juicy (the steaks) and perfectly cooked, always preceded -- in my case -- by a lovely foie gras terrine with a glass of German riesling. No, I can't stand Cut or the horse it rode in on.

              1. re: hnsbmg
                e
                Ernie Aug 11, 2010 12:20 PM

                I agree. I don't understand the hype about CUT at all. Considering the hefty price tag, my dry aged steak there was very average and tiny. It feels like the overpriced hotel restaurant it is with mediocre steaks, a few gimmicky outrageously priced Kobe cuts, and a cold corporate atmosphere with matching aloof service.

              2. re: J.L.
                a
                AAQjr Aug 6, 2010 07:39 AM

                Maybe she is writing for people who can afford to fly off to Japan to get traditional sushi and want something they won't find in Japan. Just a guess, but it makes sense.

                1. re: AAQjr
                  J.L. Aug 6, 2010 01:52 PM

                  I suppose that's a possibility...

              3. re: Maxmillion
                j
                Jwsel Aug 6, 2010 08:53 AM

                For Cali sushi, I would suggest Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills is a better choice than Katsuya. I think the fish is generally better and the rolls are more original. Chef Hiro also created one of the most common "California" sushi rolls -- baked scallop served over a California roll. What it lacks is the scene, but I don't think American sushi has to come with a scene. (If you want high-end with a scene, I also would suggest considering Nobu or Matsuhisa.)

                Best Hot Dog - Fab in Woodland Hills, bar none. Take your pick of the dogs, but also consider the firecracker, their spicy polish sausage.

                Best Sushi - in addition to Urusawa and Mori, consider Kiriko.

                Best Steak - the American Wagyu porterhouse at Cut. I can understand why people don't love Cut, but that steak is beyond belief. After Cut, I hate to admit it, but my favorite steak is at Morton's.

                -----
                Matsuhisa
                129 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

                Kiriko
                11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 102, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                Katsuya Hollywood
                6300 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                Nobu
                11357 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                Sushi Ichiban Kan
                19723 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA

                1. re: Maxmillion
                  Porthos Aug 24, 2010 12:17 PM

                  Great distinction on sushi vs Cali/LA sushi. I would also put Nozawa and Sasabune's pseudo-omakase into the Cali/LA sushi genre. They might be entertained/amused by the "trust me" gimmick.

                  1. re: Porthos
                    m
                    mc michael Aug 24, 2010 01:50 PM

                    If they are Swiss, they will remain neutral.

              4. y
                yogachik Aug 5, 2010 07:23 PM

                For steak, I would agree with Cut. For bistro, Anisette is always good. for Mexican breakfast, I would send them to Tacos por Favor. Katsuya is probably good for tourists seeking sushi, but it wouldn't be considered the best. Asian fusion, I would send them directly to Chinois.

                Geisha House is closed, isn't it?

                1 Reply
                1. re: yogachik
                  Maxmillion Aug 5, 2010 10:14 PM

                  You guys are fantastic!

                  Great recs.

                  I already thought to rec Anisette over Bar Bouchon, but isn't there a fine distinction btw a brasserie and a bistro?!

                  thanks, gang!

                2. Emme Aug 5, 2010 08:04 PM

                  Fish Tacos: Tacos Baja Ensenada or Taco Nazo (agree with servorg)

                  Mexican Breakfast: Gilbert's El Indio; or second, Lares on Pico

                  Steak: Cut or Wolfgang's

                  Bistro: Anisette, La Cachette Bistro, Bistro LQ

                  Asian Fusion: dunno about *best* but Mako does good fusion

                  Sushi: Urasawa; cheaper? somewhere maybe like Kiyokawa or Mori maybe...

                  -----
                  Urasawa Restaurant
                  218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                  La Cachette
                  Little Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90067

                  Gilbert's El Indio
                  2526 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                  Tacos Baja Ensenada
                  385 W Whittier Blvd, Montebello, CA 90640

                  Bistro LQ
                  8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                  Taco Nazo
                  1267 N Grand Ave, Walnut, CA 91789

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Emme
                    h
                    happybaker Aug 6, 2010 10:16 PM

                    Another vote for Gilberts.

                    I've also heard loteria grill is good. Pricier, but good.

                    1. re: Emme
                      i
                      issey Sep 28, 2010 12:49 PM

                      Anisette closed last week! Here is the link about it on Eater LA

                      http://bl119w.blu119.mail.live.com/de...

                      Bistro: I second La Cachette and Bouchon Bar.

                      Fish Tacos: Taco Nazo

                      Sushi: Ursawa

                      Steak: Cut, Mortons, Ruth Chris, Mastro's

                      -----
                      La Cachette
                      Little Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90067

                      Taco Nazo
                      1267 N Grand Ave, Walnut, CA 91789

                      Mastros Restaurant
                      2087 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

                    2. ipsedixit Aug 5, 2010 09:25 PM

                      I know I'm going to regret replying to this, but here goes:

                      Asian Fusion ... my vote goes to Asia de Cuba
                      Mexican Breakfast ... has to be Tonny's
                      Steak ... go with CUT
                      Fish Taco ... Tacos Baja Ensenada is a close winner over Best Fish Taco of Ensenada
                      Hot dog ... Fab Hot Dogs

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        J.L. Aug 6, 2010 01:51 PM

                        My favorite Asian fusion remains Matsuhisa (flagship)...

                        -----
                        Matsuhisa
                        129 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

                        1. re: J.L.
                          ipsedixit Aug 6, 2010 03:27 PM

                          I actually like Matsuhisa's alot as well, but don't necessarily consider it "Asian fusion" ... whatever that term means. I think of it as more Modern Japanese.

                          Asian fusion is such a sloppy, lazy term ... almost insulting in its ambiguity. It's like asking for "European fusion" ... how can one be so arrogant and ignorant to feel so righteous as to lump the cuisines of an entire continent into one category.

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            Peripatetic Aug 6, 2010 09:58 PM

                            > It's like asking for "European fusion"

                            But there is "European fusion" . . . better known by the equally imprecise term "Continental cuisine".

                            1. re: Peripatetic
                              ipsedixit Aug 7, 2010 10:17 AM

                              "better known by the equally imprecise term "Continental cuisine".

                              _____________________________________________________________

                              I thought that term only applied to breakfast ...

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                Peripatetic Aug 7, 2010 12:48 PM

                                > I thought that term only applied to breakfast ...

                                To be fair, it's a pretty archaic term. It's heyday was the 1950's, and it typically described the sort of menu served by Dal Rae or Musso and Frank, i.e., dishes with a variety of European (though mostly French) influences.

                        2. re: ipsedixit
                          m
                          mc michael Aug 24, 2010 07:35 AM

                          I like this list, ID, although I also like the Asian Fusion pick of Orris made below. Looking over the writer's initial picks, it appears that they are mostly west of Hollywood and in tourist areas. The only eastside pick is WP-24 in the LA Live area. So I'm not sure if this is tourist site oriented as opposed to chow centered. If this is a tourist site list, then perhaps Roy's downtown would suffice for Asian Fusion and Takami Sushi would be the "choice" for Cal. Sushi.

                        3. r
                          raizans Aug 5, 2010 09:39 PM

                          is she going to visit a bunch of places to pick which one is the best? seems like a lot of (delicious) work!

                          best american sushi - katsu-ya, koi, yamashiro
                          best sushi - mori, yasuda, urasawa. there was a thread here about this.
                          best fast-food-burger - in-n-out, tommy's, tops. eli g. on yelp should know.
                          best fish taco - ricky's fish tacos, tacos baja ensenada.
                          best mexican breakfast - difficult to say. who has great huevos rancheros, menudo, tortas, chilaquiles, chorizo and eggs, etc. all in one place? probably easier to go one dish at a time. jonathan gold has probably said something about it.
                          best steak - cut/wolfgang's steakhouse, mastro's.
                          best bistro - anisette, church & state, bouchon, bistro lq, comme ca.
                          best asian fusion - providence, chinois on main, matsuhisa/nobu, susan feniger's street, starry kitchen.
                          best hot dog - fab, slaw dogs, wurstkuche, jeff's gourmet kosher sausage factory, spoc's, carney's, skooby's, let's be frank, the stand.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: raizans
                            Maxmillion Aug 5, 2010 10:15 PM

                            ha!

                            I dunno if I get to accompany this Swiss travel writer when she hits all these places, but I sure hope I do!

                          2. a
                            AAQjr Aug 5, 2010 10:37 PM

                            I am assuming California Sushi means places influenced by Nobu Matsuhisa, creative sauces, chile slices, 'new style sashimi' as well as creative rolls that don't suck.

                            I don't know, what would you recommend in that vein???

                            1. monku Aug 6, 2010 09:05 AM

                              Pink's for best hot dog. It' got history and the glitz tourists are looking for and it isn't as bad as CH's make it out to be. They're proud to say they serve Hoffy dogs, none of the other top dog places CH's will rec'd say what they serve.

                              If your writer friend came up with Ruth' Chris, Pink's should get a mention.

                              28 Replies
                              1. re: monku
                                hnsbmg Aug 6, 2010 09:07 AM

                                "... none of the other top dog places CH's will rec'd say what they serve."

                                Huh?? monku, you're the guy who helped me verify that Portillo's both serves and says they serve Vienna Beef!

                                1. re: hnsbmg
                                  monku Aug 6, 2010 10:49 AM

                                  Was going to mention Portillo's but figured some people wouldn't consider it a hot dog joint.

                                2. re: monku
                                  ipsedixit Aug 6, 2010 09:28 AM

                                  Well, to be fair, many of the hot dog places do disclose their sources.

                                  Wurstkuche makes their own dogs, Slaw Dogs uses Vienna sausages, Fabs uses dogs from a NJ supplier and Carney's

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    monku Aug 6, 2010 10:52 AM

                                    Wurstkuche isn't a hot dog place. They don't have hot dogs either. They don't make their own.
                                    Not quite sure Slaw Dogs uses Vienna.
                                    What "brand" does Fabs and Carney's use.

                                    -----
                                    The Slaw Dogs
                                    720 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91104

                                    1. re: monku
                                      ipsedixit Aug 6, 2010 10:57 AM

                                      Slaw Dogs lists Vienna on their menu. http://www.theslawdogs.com/menu.html

                                      And I suppose we all have different definitions of what a hot dog place is.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                        monku Aug 6, 2010 11:40 AM

                                        OK on Slaw Dogs selling Vienna, but I don't like the $1 surcharge for a Vienna with natural casing hot dog.

                                        I don't think Wurstkuche has a hot dog (as we know it)on their menu.

                                        -----
                                        Wurstkuche
                                        800 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                        The Slaw Dogs
                                        720 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91104

                                        1. re: monku
                                          ipsedixit Aug 6, 2010 03:31 PM

                                          I'm not a hot dog connoisseur by any means (I'm just as happy at Costco foodcourt as I am at any of the more reputed places), but I am curious as to your fixation on the source or brand of the dog?

                                          If it's a good dog, it's a good dog. Does it matter if it's Vienna, Hoffy's, or whatever?

                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                            hnsbmg Aug 6, 2010 04:56 PM

                                            Does it matter?!! Does it matter whether you root for the Dodgers or the Cubs? It's all baseball. Does it matter whether you vote for ... Well, I don't want to get banished to the table with the little kids.

                                            Yes, ipse, it do matter. Vienna Beef is the best hot dog because, unlike the rest, it has a wonderfully mild and pure beef flavor with no bologna-style aftertastes of stale spices and mystery meats. It's the perfect vehicle for my favorite condiments: celery salt, onions, and sport peppers. Now, people who haven't lived in Chicago might write in and claim this or that favored dog is as good or better, but DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM -- I'VE GIVEN YOU THE TRUTH.

                                            Oh, yeah, it does matter, and about the only thing some of us will agree on is that it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing (i.e., natural-casing snap, which is getting as hard to find as the extra buck you'll have to pay for it).

                                            1. re: hnsbmg
                                              ipsedixit Aug 6, 2010 05:08 PM

                                              hnsbmg,

                                              I'm not saying a good dog isn't important.

                                              What I am saying is that the bottom line is that you get a good dog -- be it from Vienna and any other brand.

                                              Put another way, would you pooh-pooh a hot dog simply because it wasn't branded "Vienna beef" but still had that wonderful snap from all natural-casing and was as equally, if not better, seasoned and filled with all-natural beef just like a Vienna dog?

                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                Servorg Aug 6, 2010 05:13 PM

                                                Whoever the purveyor of Carney's dogs might be, they are wonderful, well seasoned dogs that snap so hard you jump back so as not to get bitten... ;-D>

                                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                                  hnsbmg Aug 6, 2010 05:21 PM

                                                  Would I root for a baseball team that hadn't won the Series in a couple of centuries and whenever it got to August a few games ahead completely collapsed and broke your heart, but it wasn't the Cubs? In a word, no.

                                                  Oh, I suppose hot dogs are different, but here's a serious statement: I've never found one to equal the quality of Vienna Beef. They're incredibly mild and delicate, in a competition with amusing yahoos in overalls. However, even though I'll always prefer the sweet dog of youth -- food stimulates a complex of emotions, after all -- I have shown a grudging willingness to audition pretenders to the doggy throne (and actually do kind of, sort of like the non-V served at Superdawg in Chicago -- shhh).

                                                  1. re: hnsbmg
                                                    Maxmillion Aug 6, 2010 05:26 PM

                                                    this digression is hilarious!

                                                    1. re: Maxmillion
                                                      Servorg Aug 6, 2010 05:27 PM

                                                      I'm trying to digest the digression and having a difficult time swallowing most of it.

                                                    2. re: hnsbmg
                                                      ipsedixit Aug 6, 2010 07:02 PM

                                                      "Would I root for a baseball team that hadn't won the Series in a couple of centuries and whenever it got to August a few games ahead completely collapsed and broke your heart, but it wasn't the Cubs? In a word, no."

                                                      ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

                                                      The baseball analogy is inapt, at least the way you are using it.

                                                      If you want to do baseball, it would be like saying you were rooting for No. 3 of the New York Yankees regardless if it was the Babe wearing the uniform, or if you were only rooting for the No. 42 of the Dodgers regardless of whether it was Jackie Robinson in those threads.

                                                      Saying that the "brand" of a hot dog is critical would be like saying that if the Babe was traded to the BoSox, you would still cheer for the Yankees. Many people still would of course, but they won't necessarily cheer for the person who is announced by the public address announcer as "Now batting, No. 3 [insert anon player]."

                                                      My only comment was isn't it more important what the actual dog tastes like regardless of the name on the packaging?

                                                      I don't doubt that you have yet to find a dog that is the peer of the Vienna beef, but that's not the point.

                                                      I wasn't asking if there is a generic (for lack of a better word) equivalent of Vienna, just that if there was such a thing would the brand "Vienna" still be important to you.

                                                      That's all I was trying to say, maybe not so concisely.

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                        hnsbmg Aug 7, 2010 01:05 PM

                                                        "My only comment was isn't it more important what the actual dog tastes like regardless of the name on the packaging?"

                                                        My answer was that "food stimulates a complex of emotions" -- i.e., it does more than merely satisfy primitive hunger and taste needs. I bite into great memories every time I have a truly delicious Vienna Beef (and maybe that's why I like the sport peppers so much ;-). To make me switch, some new hot dog would have to be far superior in taste and texture -- highly unlikely, although conceivable. (As I noted, Superdawg in Chicago is a candidate.) And the "complex of emotions" surrounding my favorite baseball club is even deeper, so changing allegiances is *not* conceivable, which was my point, when we were still making jokes, about finding another team as long-term bad as the Cubs.

                                                        I do think that chowhound discussions too often overlook the importance of non-food context (not to mention personal eating and cooking history) in understanding our reaction to food, but such conversations would probably become tedious like fast.

                                                2. re: ipsedixit
                                                  monku Aug 6, 2010 05:30 PM

                                                  Takes some of the mystery out of mystery meat. Figure I have to legitimize Pink's with this crowd.

                                                  Good example: The Costco hot dog wouldn't create the buzz it does if it weren't a Hebrew National hot dog.

                                                  The best hot dogs are at Gray's Papaya, Papaya King (made by Sabrett's parent company Marathon) or Nathan's hot dogs which are "grilled" and not steamed like the hot dogs in LA.

                                                  BTW: According to another post Brat Brother's makes the sausage for Wurstküche. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/680137

                                                3. re: monku
                                                  r
                                                  rbyrne88 Aug 13, 2010 12:48 PM

                                                  Slawdogs charges $3.49 for reg. Vienna Hot Dogs and $3.99 for the Natural Casing Dogs

                                            2. re: ipsedixit
                                              monku Aug 6, 2010 05:45 PM

                                              According to the Fab menu, only the Ripper dog is imported from NJ. The other dogs are "All beef, natural casing push-cart style dog".
                                              http://www.fabhotdogs.com/FABDOGMENU-...

                                              You know the company Carney's uses? I've been trying to find someone who knows.

                                              1. re: monku
                                                Servorg Aug 6, 2010 05:49 PM

                                                Evidently Carney's dog supplier is a closely held secret.

                                                1. re: Servorg
                                                  monku Aug 6, 2010 05:59 PM

                                                  Just curious, are you quoting fact?
                                                  Carney's has somewhat of a lively snap which Cantella's doesn't seem to have (Original Tommy's switched to Cantella's). A poster recently tried to say Carney's used Cantella, but I doubt it.

                                                  I've been known to do some dumpster diving to figure out purveyor's restaurants use. Like Johnnie's Pastrami uses Vienna pastrami.

                                                  -----
                                                  Johnnie's Pastrami
                                                  4017 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

                                                  1. re: monku
                                                    Servorg Aug 6, 2010 06:16 PM

                                                    A logical assumption based on pretty extensive Google searching and finding a noticeable lack of any information on this particular subject.

                                                    1. re: monku
                                                      Peripatetic Aug 6, 2010 10:19 PM

                                                      monku, I take it you didn't trust the claim on Johnnie's sign: "We proudly feature Viennna Beef Products":

                                                      http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1156/5...

                                                      1. re: Peripatetic
                                                        monku Aug 6, 2010 10:58 PM

                                                        This was about 10 years ago when their pastrami sandwich was $7.50 and I swore I'd never go back.
                                                        That sign looks more current than that.

                                                        1. re: monku
                                                          Peripatetic Aug 7, 2010 01:14 AM

                                                          > That sign looks more current than that.

                                                          Yes, it could well be.

                                                        2. re: Peripatetic
                                                          monku Aug 6, 2010 11:18 PM

                                                          Maybe they have to convince you their signature sandwich is worth paying $10.50 for now.

                                                          1. re: monku
                                                            Peripatetic Aug 7, 2010 01:11 AM

                                                            Sadly, on my last visit, they didn't.

                                                    2. re: monku
                                                      hnsbmg Aug 6, 2010 05:58 PM

                                                      I seem to recall the Fab owner telling me he got all his dogs from Jersey. This was a week or two after the opening last year, so it could have changed since then.

                                                      1. re: hnsbmg
                                                        monku Aug 6, 2010 07:10 PM

                                                        Rutt's Hut the creator of the NJ Ripper uses Thumann's as well as other ripper joints in NJ.

                                                        Next time you talk to Joe at Fab, ask him if he uses Thumann's and see if you get a reaction.

                                                        Personally I don't get the ripper.

                                                        http://www.thumanns.com/index.html

                                                2. s
                                                  SeaCook Aug 6, 2010 09:22 AM

                                                  Any In n' Out is great not just Sunset Blvd. Also Tommys as recommended by an other CH. Tommys orignally on Beverly Blvd and Rampart (Oh! My art school days) but all around LA is worth it. I would also reccomend Jerry's Dogs in the OC for hot dogs. Try their home made potato chips.

                                                  1. mucho gordo Aug 6, 2010 09:30 AM

                                                    FWIW, my pick for best fast food burger has got to be Boulevard Burger. Try it. You've got nothing to lose. Tell them exactly how you want it prepared and they'll do it. I tell them I want mine charred on the outside and 'damn near raw' on the inside and that's what I get.. One bite and the juices are running down your chin. If you don't pile a lot of crap on it you'll get the full flavor of the meat which is the way it is supposed to be.

                                                    -----
                                                    Boulevard Burgers
                                                    21718 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91364

                                                    1. Maxmillion Aug 6, 2010 10:43 AM

                                                      You guys are all so fantastic and generous with your recs. Thank you!

                                                      1. A5 KOBE Aug 6, 2010 10:09 PM

                                                        Steak: CUT
                                                        Mexican Breakfast: El Huarachito
                                                        Hot Dog: 25 Degrees

                                                        1. m
                                                          Mr Grub Aug 10, 2010 05:13 PM

                                                          May the Grubman be so bold as to suggest the ultimate LA hot dog, the oki dog. This unforgettable paean to gluttony is whomped up at the Oki Dog stand on Pico, a bit west of La Brea. The grill man starts w two large tortillas on the hot grill to which he adds: two halved & grilled hot dogs of unknown provenance, a clunk of pastrami, a wad of chili (think Tommy's), a couple of his best American cheese singles, a plop of mustard, & a few pickles. Wraps 'er all up like a burrito & slides it your way. It is at once a monument to Tums & a streetfood culinary masterpiece.

                                                          -----
                                                          Oki Dog
                                                          5056 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019

                                                          1. ellaystingray Aug 11, 2010 03:07 PM

                                                            Max,

                                                            Knowing how most writers work, this story has long been filed and this post is irrelevant. Nonetheless, here you go.

                                                            Travel writing is a tricky thing and while I agree with most of the suggestions and comments here and believe everyone is sincere in trying to help, but there are a few things that I think could take this writer down the wrong path. The original list has the pendulum swung waaaay too far towards trendy/new/first place that came up in a google search--not best of--and yet some of the places recommended in the posts swing the pendulum waaaay too far in the other direction. I think the best bet here is to shoot for the places that have at least really good food, good experiences and are generally in the areas tourists are likely to be. This isn't the Michelin Guide correct?

                                                            Unless this is an article for super-foodies, I don't think sending people to random neighborhoods to eat at what some one considers their best interpretation of "American Sushi" or a 'Mexican Breakfast" is a great plan for a travel writer. If you said food blogger wanting to know where to go when they come to L.A.....maybe. Those turists may eat great but but that travel writer will get fired. If the people coming to L.A. are uber-food wonks, they are already scouring this board and your friends article isn't going to mean anything to them.

                                                            SO, with that being said, here are my comments.

                                                            Best American Sushi--Going on the generally accepted premise in this thread in regard to what "American Sushi" is, Geisha House is a no. Katsu-ya is a yes, though some say certain locations are better than others. You could add Sushi Roku to the list. And just let your friend know, that these places are as much about an overall experience than simply eating the most "traditional" sushi. It would be a bad idea to try and single out one place in Los Angeles with the best "traditional" sushi anyway unless you are writing for a bunch of billionaires and they wouldn't bat any eyelash at going to Urasawa--which every billionaire should do, becuase they can. But aside from suggesting a place that costs somewhere around $350 per person and up....

                                                            Best Fast-Food Burger--The reason In-n-Out is the perfect choice is not because their burgers are great--they are, but that's not it. There are multiple locations and the atmosphere screams Americana. So it is easy to find one and a tourist will get an "authentic" experience--with a great burger. So many other fast-food chains are already in Europe, this will provide a new experience. And even if for many of us, In-n-Out isn't the BEST burger, or a most "authentic" experience, it is becuase we go there all the time and have our entire lives to explore a city and it's cow between buns with cheese and stuff awesomeness. Tourists don't.

                                                            Best Fish Taco--If I haven't already set enough people into flames with what I've said already, this will probably incinerate the rest of them. Go with James Beach. The fish tacos are really good. It is near the beach. It is a fun place. People will have a great time and be really happy they had the same food Paul Rudd had, or at least theorhetically had in the movie. This discussion alone could morph into a 90 post thread about whether to deep-fry the fish or whether cabbage in any way belongs on a fish taco (it does not). So stick with an easy choice. Or recommend The Yard in Santa Monica and CJ's famous fish taco's from Top Chef season 3....

                                                            Best Mexican Breakfast--Cafe Montana is BY FAR the wierdest choice on this list. Not becuase their Huevos Rancheros suck or their breakfast burrito tastes like pavement, but becuase you can get this breakfast at almost every restaurant in Los Angeles that is open for breakfast. I mean, theirs is tasty (I live a few blocks away and eat there all the time) but it isn't differentied in any way to me. This is also one of the most difficult choices in that I can't really figure out what a Mexican Breakfast is. When I lived in Mexico my host family cooked all sorts of crazy stuff for the first meal of the day that didn't look anything like what I thought of as breakfast. Could it be brunch too? Do eggs need to be involved? This really has to be answered in the the context of what the readership expects. Since the readers are all probably staying at the Loew's anyway, just tell the writer to suggest Cora's.

                                                            Best Steak--This is impossible. As long as it isn't Norm's, anything is probably fine. Okay, that is setting the bar low but between Mastro's and Cut and Craft and Wolfgang's and BOA and Ruth's Chris or any of the other known meat mavens....you aren't going to go wrong for a travel piece.

                                                            Best Bistro--Okay, this is another wierd moment where I would want to know about the readership--do they have a clear and obvious distinction between a bistro and a brasserie in their minds? Would the casual nature of dining in Los Angeles even put a few "formal" French restaurants into this category? Without search engines, I don't think most Angelenos would have ANY idea a bistro is technically different that a brasserie. Nonetheless, this post is way too long already. Bouchon is a great choice. Anissette wouldn't be bad. La Cachette also works. Comme Ca or appropriately named, Bistro LQ could be the pick. I personally like La Poubelle but I also like cantankerous owners who sometimes decide not to serve you drinks because they don't like your order.

                                                            Best Asian Fusion--Don't do WP24. Orris. Done.

                                                            -----
                                                            La Cachette
                                                            Little Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90067

                                                            La Poubelle
                                                            5907 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                                                            James Beach
                                                            60 N Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                                            Sushi Roku
                                                            33 Miller Alley at One Colorado, Pasadena, CA 91103

                                                            Geisha House Restaurant
                                                            2773 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA

                                                            Bistro LQ
                                                            8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                                            Mastros Restaurant
                                                            2087 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

                                                            WP24
                                                            900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                                                            16 Replies
                                                            1. re: ellaystingray
                                                              Servorg Aug 11, 2010 03:21 PM

                                                              For fish tacos we can now send the unadventurous visitors to La Sandia http://www.richardsandoval.com/lasand... in the new Santa Monica Place Mall or, if they are semi-adventurous, but don't want to travel away from the beach then at least we can send them over to Tacos Por Favor on Olympic Blvd. for both fish tacos and Mexican breakfast.

                                                              I've never thought all that much of Orris and would take Mako over it any day of the week. And that way they could visit Beverly Hills and really be in their comfort zone if they didn't want to venture off the beaten path.

                                                              -----
                                                              Tacos Por Favor
                                                              1406 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                                                              1. re: Servorg
                                                                ellaystingray Aug 11, 2010 03:57 PM

                                                                Good point on Mako Servorg. I haven't had Senior Sandoval's fish tacos yet but that is proabbly a good bet at 35 cents a word.

                                                              2. re: ellaystingray
                                                                J.L. Aug 13, 2010 12:09 AM

                                                                If you're gonna go down the path of Sushi Roku, you might as well include Koi and Hamasaku in the conversation.

                                                                Max's writer friend's intended audience must be taken into consideration: Why do we automatically assume that these European readers will prize what's "American" (vis-a-vis American sushi, American Burgers, et al.) over what's TRULY tasty (albeit less "American") in Los Angeles?

                                                                As an American who's traveled in over 34 countries all over the world, when I hit a new country, I ask the locals "What's tasty?" over "What's native?" Luckily, the recs tend to overlap most of the time anyways. But, there are exceptions: For example, in London, all the local touts expected me, the American, to make a beeline for fish & chips, spotted dick, and high tea. But I usually end up gorging myself on some of the most exquisite Indian food on the planet, because if the choices are different, I prize for "tasty" over "native" any day of the week. Alas, I find myself in the majority in this line of thinking, seeing how the lines for Pink's inexplicably wrap around the block...

                                                                Sorry for the rant.

                                                                -----
                                                                Koi Restaurant
                                                                730 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                                                                Hamasaku
                                                                11043 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                                                                1. re: J.L.
                                                                  Maxmillion Aug 23, 2010 10:55 PM

                                                                  Well, of course you go for Indian cuisine when in London. I heartily concur -- it's possibly the best in the world (outside the actual country).

                                                                2. re: ellaystingray
                                                                  Maxmillion Aug 23, 2010 10:57 PM

                                                                  ella -- thanks so much for your detailed response. Not too late at all. I was thinking along the same lines as you regarding the fish taco -- location being all-important.

                                                                  Story is not yet researched & written -- Swiss posse coming to town early Sept.

                                                                  1. re: Maxmillion
                                                                    Servorg Aug 24, 2010 05:19 AM

                                                                    What they really need to do is divide up their guide into "Adventurous/Best Of" and "Beaten Path/Good but not Great" sections (names at their discretion). That way visitors can use their own inner "Chowhound" and choose the path (and neighborhood) that suits them best.

                                                                    1. re: Maxmillion
                                                                      b
                                                                      bulavinaka Aug 24, 2010 05:59 AM

                                                                      I agree with Servorg. I don't know if it's possible, but two categories would be apt. Maybe the writer needs to question the reader with, "Do you want to eat like you're in LA?", or, "Do you want to eat like you're in Disneyland?"

                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                        e
                                                                        ElissaInPlaya Aug 24, 2010 09:46 AM

                                                                        This is a brilliant idea. I think we could divide *all* L.A. chowhound (ers) into these two categories. It's the James Beach vs Mariscos Chente decision.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        James Beach
                                                                        60 N Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                                                        Mariscos Chente
                                                                        4532 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                                                        1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                          h
                                                                          huaqiao Aug 24, 2010 01:13 PM

                                                                          I think the two groups would be "Do you want to eat like you're an LA insider who knows all the great foodie spots of the moment?" or "Do you want to eat at the popular places that people in LA eat at and know about?"

                                                                          When someone goes to Singapore, I'd tell them to get the chicken rice at Tian Tian. I'm sure there are lots of Singaporeans who think Tian Tian isn't that great and there are better less hyped chicken rice places, but part of traveling for food is going to places that are well known.

                                                                          1. re: huaqiao
                                                                            Peripatetic Aug 24, 2010 05:13 PM

                                                                            This is a very nice synopsis. I fall into the first category, and do everything I can to avoid the Pinks and El Cholos in other cities.

                                                                            1. re: huaqiao
                                                                              J.L. Aug 24, 2010 11:16 PM

                                                                              Tian Tian in Singapore has been drinking too much of their own Kool-Aid. The chicken rice there has really gone downhill.

                                                                          2. re: Maxmillion
                                                                            m
                                                                            mc michael Aug 24, 2010 11:26 AM

                                                                            Since you mention a posse coming, let's briefly revisit the steak issue. Considering a posse and that this article is aimed at tourists, I think the best choice (not the best steak) may be Lawry's. Tourists of all nationalities seem to go for it and there's quite a show with the spinning salad and the beef being cut from the silver cart. And you invariably get leftovers. This is the anti-Cut, and it's not that expensive.

                                                                            1. re: Maxmillion
                                                                              Maxmillion Sep 8, 2010 07:04 PM

                                                                              UPDATE -- my SO & I are being taken out by the Swiss posse tomorrow night.

                                                                              Unfortunately they must have rejected my rec of Katsuya H'wood and we are meeting them at Geisha House. *gulp*

                                                                              Oh well, it can't be all that bad when someone else is paying! :)

                                                                              report to follow!

                                                                              -----
                                                                              Katsuya Hollywood
                                                                              6300 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                                                                              Geisha House Restaurant
                                                                              2773 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA

                                                                              1. re: Maxmillion
                                                                                J.L. Sep 9, 2010 05:08 PM

                                                                                Geisha House is so 2008.

                                                                                The posse should have listened to you instead, Maxmillion...

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Geisha House Restaurant
                                                                                2773 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA

                                                                                1. re: J.L.
                                                                                  Maxmillion Sep 10, 2010 01:58 PM

                                                                                  Don't I know it!!

                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/733392

                                                                                2. re: Maxmillion
                                                                                  westsidegal Sep 30, 2010 09:18 PM

                                                                                  it was perfect for my daughter's sweet 16

                                                                            2. b
                                                                              billp Sep 9, 2010 07:32 PM

                                                                              Hi. We're visiting LA this weekend for only the second or third time. We've been to Sushi Roku on Ocean, and In and Out. We've also been to Wolfgang Puck's in Palo Alto where, interestingly, I had the best peanut butter cookie ever (outside of what my mom used to make.)We're staying in Century City and have a gluten-free vegetarian in the group. And ideas for dinner tomorrow night would be most helpful.
                                                                              But the main point is that, yes, Vienna's are good. And, yes, any natural casing is nice. But I had some large "Klement's Chicago style dogs" recently on a grill that hold up to any. And really, a Chicago hot dog per se is benefitted the most from red (not pink) tomatos and other fresh ingredients. The dog is important but someone who has shivered for 55 years knows that it's the ingredients that make for a great Chicago dog. Buns are very tricky.
                                                                              So don't let the Chicago transplants bully you too much.
                                                                              Thanks.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: billp
                                                                                Porthos Sep 10, 2010 08:32 AM

                                                                                If you liked Wolfgang Puck in Palo Alto, you should really try Spago. I thought Wolfgang Puck in Palo Alto was very average when compared to the real deal.

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

                                                                                1. re: billp
                                                                                  y
                                                                                  yummyewe Sep 28, 2010 11:16 AM

                                                                                  For your gluten-free veg, you might try Hugos. They have a lot of options for GF-folks and you can get a cuban sandwich, too! A WIDE variety and always high quality. Another favorite. is Fatty's in Eagle Rock. Out of the way but SOOO worth the trip.

                                                                                2. y
                                                                                  yummyewe Sep 28, 2010 11:17 AM

                                                                                  I'm surprised no one brings up Pacific Dining Car. I have worked in a lot of steak houses in a lot of cities as a server and I find NOTHING compares to the original downtown. Plus, for tourists, its VERY Los Angeles - it was in da movies, fer gossakes!

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Pacific Dining Car
                                                                                  1310 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

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