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Patina - worth it? Looking for some hound recs!

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Will be in Los Angeles for three days in December - the most important part (aside from the food of course) being my yearly pilgrimage to Staples Center for a Kings game.

Dinners already booked include Bistro LQ and Melisse for the Carte Blanche.

The game is at 7:30 and as much as I'd like to go to Animal, I'm not sure I could make it to the game in time since they open at 6:00pm. Anyone disagree and think that'd be possible?

Drago Centro looks good - not great, as does WP24, but neither seem "wowing" for the price.

Patina is close to Staples, in a fantastic building, and opens at 5:00pm - I love French but will be doing it the previous two days at LQ and Melisse.

The question is - where should I eat prior to the 7:30pm start - given the above.....that Animal would be number one and Patina #2, but Animal is far away and I'm already doing French the two prior days.

Cheers!

http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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Drago Centro
525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA 90071

Bistro LQ
8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Staples Center
1111 S Figueroa St Ste 3100, Los Angeles, CA 90015

WP24
900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

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  1. You'll get alot of dissenting votes here about Patina, but me personally I have never had a bad meal at Patina, ever.

    Other spots to consider are Water Grill and Nick & Stef's, which just revamped its steakhouse menu.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      I too have had only great meals at Patina. I have never thought of Patina as French. It has always seemed like a "contemporary American" restaurant to me.

      I also second Water Grill. I've eaten at Water Grill about 20 times in the past two years, and it's always been excellent. I also second Nick & Stef's, though I have only been there twice.

      Drago Centro's food is good enough, and its menu is interesting enough, to push it into the "great" category IMO. To me, it's Drago Centro's interesting menu that makes it special. For example, I didn't really "love" the pappardelle with shredded roasted pheasant and morel mushrooms, but looking back it's one of the most memorable dishes I've eaten recently.

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      Water Grill
      544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

      Drago Centro
      525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA 90071

      1. re: sushigirlie

        Agree about Patina. Always excellent.

        Drago Centro kicks serious ass. Great cocktails and the food is on point. I've been a fan of Drago in Santa Monica for years, but after awhile it wasn't doing it for me anymore. Perhaps I got bored of the menu. But Drago Centro has got lots of new dishes to explore and it's way more ambitious. Highly recommended.

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        Drago Restaurant
        2628 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403

        Drago Centro
        525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA 90071

    2. Lazy Ox -- is downtown and I thought was even better than Animal.

      Lazy Ox Review
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7037...

      Animal Review
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7197...

      2 Replies
      1. re: radman123

        Lazy Ox gets my vote. BEST RESTAURANT downtown and far less expensive than Patina which is not memorable. Get the yellowtail cubes and the bread pudding. Yes, bread pudding! You will never think of bread pudding the same way again.

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        Lazy Ox Canteen
        241 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

        1. re: gillz

          Bread pudding or rice pudding? I LOVE the rice pudding at Lazy Ox.

      2. First off, a thank you to uhockey -- I have read your reviews for Vegas for our trips each of the last two years and found them very discerning and helpful.

        I am a dissenter on Nick & Stef's. I find it inconsistent iand generally falling in the range of okay to bad for the price point (and I have been in the last week). Based on its reputation, Water Grill is a good suggestion (I don't eat seafood so I can't vouch for it).

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        Water Grill
        544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

        3 Replies
        1. re: Heidi

          Thanks for the compliment - will be coming to LA from Vegas, actually.

          Water Grill does sound interesting but their chef situation seems to be in flux.

          I didn't really have much interest in Nick & Stef's - not a big beef eater.

          http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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          Water Grill
          544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

          1. re: uhockey

            Water Grill is excellent. It really is. But it just feels so old in there. To be fair, I've only ever gone for early meals there for some reason, but still.

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            Water Grill
            544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

            1. re: cacio e pepe

              Me -- I get annoyed at the newer more frenetic places. For example, I'd sooner not eat than have to suffer through a meal at Bottega Louie. I think that if there were some way to silence the raucous ballroom, everyone would concentrate on the food, realize it sucks, and go home.

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              Bottega Louie
              700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

        2. I really doubt Animal will be logistically possible. I do like Lazy Ox though I don't think it is better than Animal. I guess the question really is what do you really want from dinner? do you have a car?

          BTW, uhockey, love your blog, it helped me choose La Folie for one of my solo dinners last week and it was fantastic!

          1 Reply
          1. re: baloney

            Thanks. What I want is great food. :-) And yes, we'll have a car.

            http://uhockey.blogspot.com

          2. Why don't you go to Animal after the fame. They are open very late and even less crowded at that time.

            3 Replies
            1. re: honkman

              How late will they take a "last seating" - seems like according to the site they close at 11 - or is that last seating?

              http://uhockey.blogspot.com

              1. re: uhockey

                During the week the kitchen doesn't normally close before 11pm but I would confirm it with the restaurant. If you go on weekends the kitchen is open until 2am. We have eaten there after concerts at Staples or Nokia around midnight and it was a great way to end the night.

                1. re: honkman

                  It is a Thursday Evening. That said, a 7:30 game should be out by 10 and we could probably make it.

                  http://uhockey.blogspot.com

            2. I had one of the most surprising and best meals of the year at Patina. First time I had been there in over five years, and I wasn't expecting too much, but it really did wow me. Room is actually pretty plain, but functional, and it wasn't very busy that day, but the service was on point, very accommodating without being suffocating, friendly without being too familiar. Esnault is a very talented chef, and his signature vegetable mosaic dish was one of the tastiest bites I've had all year.

              In fact, I've been singing Patina's praises to anyone who will listen since then, as I feel I, and a lot of others, have been underrating it.

              2 Replies
              1. re: kdoc

                I feel like a ton of new restaurants have opened in downtown LA recently, and critical attention has naturally focused on them. Me, I'm new to LA, so all the restaurants are new to me. My two favorite downtown restaurants are Patina and Water Grill (and I've been to almost every well-known restaurant downtown).

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                Water Grill
                544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                1. re: sushigirlie

                  Thanks kdoc and sushigirlie!

                  http://uhockey.blogspot.com

              2. Another option for you is Rivera. It is just two blocks from Staples and has to-die-for cocktails, as well as quite good food. There are many reviews on this site and others. Even though you will have a car, I personally find that not having to fight traffic, find parking, and stress about being late is a huge boon for that kind of evening out.

                1 Reply
                1. re: aching

                  Big second. Rivera is doing some great stuff (duck enfrijoladas, for example). And again, the cocktails are a major selling point.

                2. Patina's "new" chef is Tony Esnault. And he has some serious culinary credentials.

                  It's easily one of the best restaurants in town. Top five IMHO. Despite the ridiculously lame review it got in Angeleno.

                  http://www.starchefs.com/chefs/rising...

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: foodiemahoodie

                    Thinking very strongly that I'll save Animal for a future visit and go with Patina - seems very much "my style" of a place. May consider dropping by Animal after the game for a snack though - I've been known to do such things.

                    http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                    1. re: uhockey

                      Round up enough of a Kings crowd and reserve the Chef's Table ... yeah, it'll be a long meal, but no one in LA arrives at a game on time.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        I'm there FOR the game. ;-)

                        http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                        1. re: uhockey

                          Yeah, I know. I was only joking.

                          Enjoy your visit (and thanks again for the rec on Alinea over at the Chicago board).

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Not a problem - thanks to all you stellar LA hounds for the pointers.

                            Three days is NOT enough to go everywhere I want!

                            http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                  2. I've eaten very well at Patina. I'll be curious about your take on Melisse. I'm a minority on this board, finding it stuck in the 50s, with "French", as opposed to French, cooking.

                    1. animal at 6 - you won't be out of there until 7 and there's no way you can make it over to the staples center- this coming from someone who drives across town daily. i have never been to patina, but i do like lazy ox (more than animal, actually) and i do love watergrill. i'm also a fan of Drago Centro. i've also heard wonderful things about colori kitchen downtown. i've never been, but it's on my list. not as upscale as patina, but still something to consider.

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                      Drago Centro
                      525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA 90071