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

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.

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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

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  1. 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

      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. 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.

        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

          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

            ...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

            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.

              "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

                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.

                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

                  I suppose that's a possibility...

              3. re: Maxmillion

                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

                  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

                    If they are Swiss, they will remain neutral.

              4. 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

                  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. 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

                    Another vote for Gilberts.

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

                    1. re: Emme

                      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. 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

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

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

                        1. re: J.L.

                          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

                            > It's like asking for "European fusion"

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

                            1. re: Peripatetic

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

                              _____________________________________________________________

                              I thought that term only applied to breakfast ...

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                > 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

                          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.