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New Yorker looking for one restaurant to represent LA

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psawce Aug 14, 2011 05:38 PM

Hi Y'all. I'm going to be in LA the weekend 8/20 -8/21 for a wedding. I'm probably only going to have time to go out to one restaurant but I'd like it to be a good meal. We can probably afford to spend around $60 per person all in. The only thing that won't work is places that are exclusively seafood. Anything else is on the table. It's going to be a group of 4 so I'm looking for something that is more of a fun convivial vibe. We won't mind waiting for a table as long is there a bar where we can have drinks.

I know picking one place to represent LA is a tall order so any suggestions would be really appreciated.

Thanks!

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  1. c
    czarp RE: psawce Aug 14, 2011 05:50 PM

    Well, how about this: What restaurant in NY would you pick to represent NY (and also satisfy your requirements of price, menu, & vibe)? That might help people suggest places you would like.

    Also, LA is big -- are you really up for driving anywhere, or do you want to focus on areas near the wedding?

    7 Replies
    1. re: czarp
      p
      psawce RE: czarp Aug 14, 2011 06:57 PM

      I know it's impossible to pick one place that represents all of LA so maybe a better way to phrase it is one place that is representative of what's good about restaurants in LA. Something around Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills or Downtown would work. Santa Monica is probably too far. We're staying in Burbank.

      Here are some places in New York I love:

      Casa Mono
      Dell' Anima
      Marlow $ Sons
      Maialino
      Al di La
      Momofuku Ssam Bar

      Hope this helps.

      Thanks!

      1. re: psawce
        ipsedixit RE: psawce Aug 14, 2011 08:09 PM

        Based on your list, you might consider Providence, Animal and maybe Spago.

        1. re: ipsedixit
          westsidegal RE: ipsedixit Aug 14, 2011 09:12 PM

          i've never gotten out of providence nor spago for $60/pp all in.
          at both providence and spago it is easy to exceed $60 even if you only have tap water as your beverage and leave a tip of 18% and sales tax of 8.75%.

          have never been to animal, so can't comment on that.

          1. re: westsidegal
            ipsedixit RE: westsidegal Aug 14, 2011 09:14 PM

            Oops missed that part about the 60/pp

          2. re: ipsedixit
            f
            foodiemahoodie RE: ipsedixit Aug 15, 2011 12:30 AM

            This is a confusing request. There are restaurants where you can get something interesting that you can't get in New York - but does that represent L.A. to you?

            Animal represents a simple, creative, tasty casual place. I like so much about it, but their heavy dependence on offal and pork is not typical of L.A. In fact it is so atypical that it is part of it's success. If you like Prune you'd probably like Animal (maybe it's because I love the sweetbreads at both).

            Spago is an interesting choice in that.the chef is internationally influential, you might see a movie star there, and it's been an enduring fixture on the L.A. restaurant scene for a few decades. And the food is pretty great. (I was never all that impressed with the old Spago's, but I've had great meals at the new one.)

            Michael's? So many people (chefs) started there to go onto other places (but I'd say it's like Chez Panisse in a way - which shouldn't discourage you.).

            Providence is kinda like Le Bernadin. I'd lean towards Providence, but I've never done a tasting menu/chef's choice at Le Bernadin. (which I look forward to).

            You get a place like Picca where you get Peruvian/Japanese food. A little like Nobu, but only under the most conceptual intellectual analysis. Picca feels much more fresh and original than Nobu.

            But would that represent all of L.A.? Kind of impossible.

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

            Nobu
            11357 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

            Picca
            9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

            1. re: foodiemahoodie
              westsidegal RE: foodiemahoodie Aug 15, 2011 12:37 AM

              for the most part, as i look at foodiemahoodie's reccomendations, they don't come in at ANYWHERE near your budget

              1. re: westsidegal
                f
                foodiemahoodie RE: westsidegal Aug 15, 2011 02:43 PM

                Yeah, I forgot about that. Animal and Picca could work.

                -----
                Picca
                9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

      2. perk RE: psawce Aug 14, 2011 05:53 PM

        Maybe check out if Mozza is doing one of its "family" dinners. It might be a bit late for a reservation, but that would be a great atmosphere will good food.

        3 Replies
        1. re: perk
          Windy RE: perk Aug 14, 2011 11:38 PM

          Except they cost $75 before tax and tip, drinking water.

          1. re: Windy
            westsidegal RE: Windy Aug 15, 2011 12:39 AM

            so, with a drink, you''d be spending over 200% of your budget.

            1. re: Windy
              perk RE: Windy Aug 15, 2011 08:09 AM

              Oops....sorry. You're right. Somehow, I was thinking (hoping?) it was less than that.

          2. scottca075 RE: psawce Aug 14, 2011 07:16 PM

            Your price range lets out places like Melisse, Urasawa and Providence that people might normally suggest.

            I also think some of LA's best are ethnic places like La Serenata De Garibaldi and Lucky Noodle King, but neither may be convenient to get to. There is also Chosun Galbee for Korean.

            If you can get in Osteria Mozza it is great and if not, Angelini Osteria or Locanda Veneta maybe as an alternative.

            -----
            Angelini Osteria
            7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

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

            La Serenata De Garibaldi
            1842 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90033

            Locanda Veneta
            8638 W. Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048

            Osteria Mozza
            6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

            Lucky Noodle King
            534 E Valley Blvd #10, San Gabriel, CA 91776

            25 Replies
            1. re: scottca075
              westsidegal RE: scottca075 Aug 14, 2011 09:16 PM

              imho, speaking as an ex-new yorker,
              i wouldn't bother sending a new yorker to an italian restaurant here and try to characterize that restaurant as one to "represent LA."
              just my opinion

              1. re: westsidegal
                scottca075 RE: westsidegal Aug 15, 2011 07:37 AM

                Based on my experience and imho, New Yorkers are arrogant on many topics including the quality of their restaurants, especially when it comes to Italian restaurants. I think Locanda Venata stands up nicely to Maialino and Al di La.

                There are a half dozen more great little Italian places that don't get enough attention, Ca' Brea to name one, that do great things with California ingredients that represent Italian senseibilities with CA products.

                I am not trying to be overly argumentative, but I do think ny'ers think more highly of their Italian food than they ought to, ditto for pizza. Just because it isn't what they are used to doesn't mean it isn't as good.

                -----
                Ca' Brea
                346-348 LaBrea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036

                1. re: scottca075
                  Porthos RE: scottca075 Aug 15, 2011 09:12 AM

                  Poor New Yorkers. They ask a simple question on the LA or SF boards and usually get blasted with anywhere between 12-158+ self defensive locals. NYC pizza, Italian,and sushi are stellar. In fact, I make it a point to hit all 3 areas whenever I'm in town. It doesn't make sense for a New Yorker to indulge in those here in LA, as good as it may be, just as it doesn't make sense for someone from LA to go try Asian food (with the exception of certain types of Japanese cuisine) in New York.

                  The short answer is Gjelina or Tasting Kitchen. Both fit the budget and have the vibe your're looking for.

                  My top recommendation would be LQ@SK. Chef Laurent Quenioux's popup at Starry Kitchen downtown. It's $45pp for 5 courses. BYOB. No corkage fee. Very creative and refined cuisine at a great price and fun relaxed setting. If you're into creative flavors and innovative cuisine but not crazy (ie WD-50), I would recommend LQ@SK. It definitely measures up to some of NYC's best. However, for the OP, it is only available 8/21 and not the night of 8/20.

                  -----
                  Starry Kitchen
                  350 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                  Tasting Kitchen
                  1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90291

                  Gjelina
                  1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                  1. re: scottca075
                    westsidegal RE: scottca075 Aug 15, 2011 10:20 AM

                    scottca075

                    if a Chinese person who lives in the SGV posted on the NY board that they wanted "one restaurant to represent NY," would you send them on a quest to find Chinese-inspired NY food somewhere in Queens?

                    1. re: westsidegal
                      scottca075 RE: westsidegal Aug 15, 2011 02:37 PM

                      I didn't see where the OP said he/she was born in Italy, lived in Manhattan and didn't want Italian because it wouldn't measure up.

                      They offered Maialino and Al di La as examples of what they liked in NYC. They didn't say A Voce Columbus or Del Posto. The places they mentioned compare nicely to Locanda Venata or Ca' Brea.

                      I sure wouldn't throw Gjelina out there with the reports on the attitude that seems to be growing there. I would point them to Axe first.

                      And porthos.... it wasn't the OP's NY attitude I was talking about.

                      1. re: scottca075
                        westsidegal RE: scottca075 Aug 15, 2011 02:44 PM

                        last week i had a lovely lunch at Gjelina.
                        no attitude whatsoever.
                        just delicious food.
                        as much as i adore FIG, gotta say that the blistered romaine salad at gjelina was better. . .

                        -----
                        Gjelina
                        1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                        1. re: westsidegal
                          Servorg RE: westsidegal Aug 15, 2011 02:49 PM

                          "last week i had a lovely lunch at Gjelina. no attitude whatsoever. just delicious food."

                          Reminds me of my many visits to Father's Office...

                          1. re: westsidegal
                            Ciao Bob RE: westsidegal Aug 15, 2011 03:36 PM

                            Gjelina is amazing. I've had close to 40 meals there with at least 10 dishes/meal.. Of the 400 plus dishes perhaps 4 or 5 weren't fantastic. Quite an amazing record.
                            I have never had a whiff of attitude from the staff. I don't know why I read that so often. Actually, I have seen MASSIVE attitude from the hungry crowd waiting for limited seating. The hosts and hostesses bust their butts trying to accommodate the voluminous and well-deserved crowd WITHOUT attitude.

                            -----
                            Gjelina
                            1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                            1. re: Ciao Bob
                              b
                              bulavinaka RE: Ciao Bob Aug 15, 2011 06:36 PM

                              I think much of the attitude that this place is accused of is when the "no subs" policy is enforced. No matter how politely one is turned away from something they feel is entitled, the feeling is getting attitude from whoever has denied them. I see this a lot in the yelp comments (yes, I actually go on yelp and read the comments - comic relief, you know...). Comments like,"This place sucks - I asked for ranch dressing with my pizza and they gave me attitude like 'sorry, we're trying to get away from that sort of thing.'" This was from a comment by a disgruntled yelper about a new artisan pizza shop in Santa Cruz (Engfer Pizza Works). I think common courtesy is a given on both ends. But I also think that telling one how to run their own business is hubris-squared. The market will ultimately decide.

                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                scottca075 RE: bulavinaka Aug 15, 2011 06:48 PM

                                I would say no subs policy and long waits even when you have reservations and then some staff treat you as if you are lucky you were even allowed to make a reservation.

                                As a regular, Ciao Bob may get different treatment than the occasional visitor, but it isn't just yelpers who are feeling a change at Gjelina.

                                A restaurant is still a business and reasonable change requests should be accommodated, especially ones involving allergies.

                                1. re: scottca075
                                  b
                                  bulavinaka RE: scottca075 Aug 15, 2011 08:50 PM

                                  This could easily spin off into a fire fight, but a business establishes a model that they feel works best to strike their market. This issue about requests pertaining to Gjelina was covered ad nauseum a month or so back. Walking into a place that is known for their no change policy and expecting change no matter what the issue may be is pushing for some serious disappointment. End of story.

                                  -----
                                  Gjelina
                                  1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                  1. re: bulavinaka
                                    Servorg RE: bulavinaka Aug 15, 2011 09:17 PM

                                    "Walking into a place that is known for their no change policy and expecting change no matter what the issue may be is pushing for some serious disappointment. End of story."

                                    Sounds like the exact same gripe I read about Father's Office...

                                    1. re: Servorg
                                      b
                                      bulavinaka RE: Servorg Aug 15, 2011 09:26 PM

                                      >>I think common courtesy is a given on both ends.<<

                                      I mentioned this in the previous post, which is something that I did have issues with at the Santa Monica FO. The Culver/Palms location has a different vibe which I attribute to the more hospitable staff. As Ciao Bob inferred, the staff at Gjelina has always seemed cordial and respectful to their diners, and that's what I would expect. Beyond that, it's the business's business as to how they run their business. Again - the market will decide. Those that like their style will continue to patronize, and those that don't will and should go elsewhere.

                                      -----
                                      Gjelina
                                      1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                      1. re: bulavinaka
                                        Servorg RE: bulavinaka Aug 16, 2011 05:26 AM

                                        "The Culver/Palms location has a different vibe which I attribute to the more hospitable staff. As Ciao Bob inferred, the staff at Gjelina has always seemed cordial and respectful to their diners, and that's what I would expect."

                                        I note the spirited "defense" of Gjelina's (where we've never had an issue with rude or less than excellent service) service, just as many of us who went to the SM FO over the years said the "exact" same thing about our experiences there. I think that most issues that folks had at the SM branch of FO were purely the attitude and angst that THEY brought with them that caused the issues in a very small BAR space with no table control other than that brought to bear by the patrons.

                                        The Helms Ave. location has a larger space with much less "jockeying" for tables and a less crowded "cage" like space so the people are less crazed in their behavior. Put too many rats in a small space and we see those films of them turning on each other with a vengeance... ;-D>

                                        I can't even count the number of times those of us who liked FO in SM and were used to the sturm un drang said, as you do above "Those that like their style will continue to patronize, and those that don't will and should go elsewhere" only to have that statement met with howls of derision and cries of "They should be more flexible and give us what WE want." I just find the whole thing amusing. It all depends on whose ox is being gored evidently.

                                        1. re: Servorg
                                          b
                                          bulavinaka RE: Servorg Aug 16, 2011 07:46 AM

                                          My particular beef had nothing to do with ketchup, having it my way or sneering at not being able to reserve a table. A bartender rebuked me for my beer choice with my burger - that's definitely none of his business.

                                          1. re: bulavinaka
                                            Servorg RE: bulavinaka Aug 16, 2011 07:56 AM

                                            You mean he was trying to suggest another beer he thought might be a better choice? Or he was making fun of you? Rebuke is a pretty strong word. And I've never experienced anything even remotely comparable at FO. But anything can happen. Anyone can be in a crappy mood and say something they wish they could take back. But to say that the whole place is suspect for one incident like that is somewhat over the top by my way of thinking.

                                            1. re: Servorg
                                              b
                                              bulavinaka RE: Servorg Aug 16, 2011 08:08 AM

                                              The dude was pretty loud and sarcastic about it - enough to quiet those within ear shot. Maybe I took him the wrong way - maybe he was jesting - just came across wrong on this particular delivery. And you're right - anyone can have a crappy day, and maybe he did, but one has to put on their game face in a job that interfaces with the public, especially when they're paying them to do so. And that's why I never returned.

                                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                                Servorg RE: bulavinaka Aug 16, 2011 08:26 AM

                                                I have seen and heard some pretty "wry" humor from the bartenders at times...so it may just have come out wrong or got taken wrong...that would be my bet. We should all have our game faces on when dealing with the public. But shoulda, woulda, coulda finally comes up short (tough?) in the pressure cooker of life at times.

                                                1. re: Servorg
                                                  b
                                                  bulavinaka RE: Servorg Aug 16, 2011 08:44 AM

                                                  Yup - and they don't miss my business - no biggy. I think the ardent FO supporters and standfast FO haters cancel each other out. Each side is always trying to refute the other's stands. As the saying goes, it is what it is. What has changed since this incident is the number of choices where great beer selections coupled with great food can be had in many other places, without controversy, without drama, and with ketchup. :)

                                                  1. re: bulavinaka
                                                    Servorg RE: bulavinaka Aug 16, 2011 08:55 AM

                                                    Those who have issues with Gjelina and their take on the service or the attitude there (based partly on the "no substitutions/no changes" policy in place) aren't any different than those who take the same sort of stance with FO. It's just that those who have never had such an issue can't fathom the complaints as being other than some type of "misperception" on their part, or going in with a ready installed shoulder chip by Intel that is so fast to register dislike the measurement of a nanosecond by comparison is like a snail riding on the back of a California desert tortoise.

                                                    1. re: Servorg
                                                      b
                                                      bulavinaka RE: Servorg Aug 16, 2011 09:54 AM

                                                      I think the whole system at FO in Santa Monica is pretty counter to what the average eater expects. Couple that with the cramped quarters, the hovering for the next seat, etc., it's just not conducive to what most would consider to be an enjoyable experience. Throw all of this with being told that you can't have this or that, and nerves are going to be frayed. Again, it is what it is, and for those who know what to expect and are willing to get things de rigueur a la FO, it's worth it.

                                        2. re: bulavinaka
                                          Ciao Bob RE: bulavinaka Aug 16, 2011 07:40 AM

                                          >> it's the business's business as to how they run their business.<<
                                          Great line.

                                    2. re: scottca075
                                      Ciao Bob RE: scottca075 Aug 16, 2011 07:50 AM

                                      >>get different treatment <<
                                      I do not think so scottca075. Gjelina is fairly egalitarian...I usually wait for my table despite a reservation and am served by the same servers and kitchen. I generally go with larger groups than a two-top (is that the right term?), more like 5-8, which can be more difficult for the restaurant as we don't turnover fast. Also, many of my friends have deep wine cellars and trot out all sorts of wines - corkage, as you probably know, rarely endears one to the management. In our favor I will say we tend to buy alot and tip alot. Despite the stresses -- that run both ways -- we keep going back and they seem happy to have us back.

                                      -----
                                      Gjelina
                                      1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                              2. re: scottca075
                                b
                                budlit RE: scottca075 Aug 16, 2011 01:07 PM

                                I don't understand all the complaints about the attitude at Gjelina. I have been there at least a dozen times. I have always had friendly, great service and great food. I think some people walk into a place like Gjelina and immediately get defensive.

                                -----
                                Gjelina
                                1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                1. re: budlit
                                  wienermobile RE: budlit Aug 16, 2011 01:09 PM

                                  I have had nothing but good experiences at Gjelina on all my many visits for food, service and attitude.

                                  -----
                                  Gjelina
                                  1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                      2. s
                        sushigirlie RE: psawce Aug 14, 2011 08:10 PM

                        Gjelina is very good in that price range. It would have to be an early dinner. They told me they have a six week waiting list for weekend dinner reservations.

                        -----
                        Gjelina
                        1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                        1. f
                          fizzy RE: psawce Aug 14, 2011 08:16 PM

                          Adding Animal + Lazy Ox Canteen to the list... both nice places that are a little more playful and focus on seasonal/local foods. Mozza is pretty amazing - but you probably already have a lot of great options for italian/pizza in nyc.

                          A second vote for Chosun Galbee -- it's an upscale Korean bbq place with some amazing food. There are some other great Korean bbq places in the city that are just as good and a little less expensive... but the atmosphere and service at chosun is where the extra cost is going.

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

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: fizzy
                            m
                            maudies5 RE: fizzy Aug 14, 2011 10:11 PM

                            Sunday night supper at Lucques is my recommendation. $45.00 pp for 3 course meal which is always outstanding. Menu is published online the Thursday before.

                            -----
                            Lucques
                            8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                            1. re: fizzy
                              f
                              FranklinJefferson RE: fizzy Aug 15, 2011 11:30 AM

                              I'd like to throw Red Medicine into the mix here. Based both on the OP's original request for "one restaurant to represent LA" and a recent Yelp review which included the following, "So, it's your typical vietnamese-fusion meets molecular gastronomy meets the hippie-biochemist gardening in Topanga."... Well, don't know just how true that synopsis was (still haven't been there myself) but at least it made me chuckle.

                              -----
                              Red Medicine
                              8400 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

                            2. J.L. RE: psawce Aug 14, 2011 10:13 PM

                              Can you really distill the essence of a city so large and diverse as L.A. into one eatery?

                              No freaking way. We're not smallville, New Yorker.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: J.L.
                                b
                                bulavinaka RE: J.L. Aug 14, 2011 10:30 PM

                                With such a large Latino population here, and with an emerging group of very nice Latin-influenced restaurants, I'd lean toward that segment. Maybe Rivera, Picca or Playa would enter the realm of the OP's request but the stated budget would feel like a restraint at such places, particularly Rivera. That kind of segues me into places like Lazy Ox or Spice Table. Both are doable relative to the OP's budget, both have somewhat innovative menus that distill aspects of the cultural breadth of LA as well as the increasing popularity of focused sourcing. Another aspect of LA that shows in both of these places is that innovation - or in food parlance, fusion - is something this city is famous for. Beholding to rigid rules of separation or inflexible formulas is not LA - we embrace change here, and the food reflects that.

                                -----
                                The Spice Table
                                114 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

                                Picca
                                9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

                              2. wienermobile RE: psawce Aug 14, 2011 11:15 PM

                                In-n Out Burger and you will get $55 back in change.

                                -----
                                In-N-Out Burger
                                7009 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                                1. e
                                  ElissaInPlaya RE: psawce Aug 15, 2011 10:46 AM

                                  Some great recommendations here:

                                  I second (in order of my preference): Lazy Ox, Gjelina and Lucques. I also recommend Father's Office in Culver City on Helms. (Lots of good food..not just burgers); easy to get into, no reservations, good value, and nice outdoor patio.

                                  -----
                                  Lucques
                                  8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                                  Father's Office
                                  3229 Helms Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                  Gjelina
                                  1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                  1. Servorg RE: psawce Aug 15, 2011 11:17 AM

                                    Without a doubt: http://www.greattacohunt.com/2011/04/... or possibly Urasawa. You make the call.

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

                                    Mexicali Taco & Co
                                    1820 Industrial Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Servorg
                                      n
                                      ns1 RE: Servorg Aug 15, 2011 10:52 PM

                                      baja night - ricky's + mexicali, 2 in 1.

                                      byob and $30 left for H&B - sounds like Los Angeles to me.

                                      september 10

                                      1. re: ns1
                                        c
                                        CulverJack RE: ns1 Aug 16, 2011 05:11 PM

                                        I like your thinking!! But H&B, is that a rap term? "Hos and ..."

                                        FWIW, I think the recs for Gjelina and FO are spot on in terms of non ethnic and LA "now".

                                        Maybe add A-Frame into the mix for a fun communal spot. On a weekend the trek to the Westside from Burbank is worth it... Espec. to Abbot Kinney for that whole vibe. FWIW.

                                        All squarely in the price range with a 3-4 beer budget easy...

                                        -----
                                        A-Frame
                                        12565 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                        Gjelina
                                        1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                        1. re: CulverJack
                                          n
                                          ns1 RE: CulverJack Aug 16, 2011 05:16 PM

                                          close not quite, definitely need to urban dictionary it ;)

                                          Living in Burbank/NoHo, I can confidently say that I would recommend nothing in this area as the only meal to a NYC'er

                                          lots of gastropubs in NYC, not sure FO will cut it anymore. A-Frame is a good rec tho.

                                    2. katydid13 RE: psawce Aug 16, 2011 08:35 AM

                                      Culver City & Venice would both be a bit of a hike for the OP since he/she is staying in Burbank. I would second Lucques and also throw Marouch (Lebanese/Armenian) into the mix.

                                      -----
                                      Lucques
                                      8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                                      1. leilamee RE: psawce Aug 16, 2011 10:47 AM

                                        Son of Gun just got picked in Bon Apetit as one of the best restaurants in America for 2011, its stellar. Check out Fraiche or Fords Filling Station in Culver City, easy to get to from Burbank actually (just find the 405 and come over the hill to Culver City, might take you 25 minutes...quicker than waiting for the 7 train to take you to LIC) Downtown arts district has a number of great eateries in that price range, Church & State, First & Hope, Bisto LQ/Starry Kitchen (in a strip mall, but amazing food, French chef), The Hudson, The Edison sometimes has food. Melrose has the Foundry, awesome food!
                                        hope this helps
                                        (NYer stuck in Cali)

                                        -----
                                        Fraiche
                                        9411 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                                        Filling Station
                                        201 N Glassell St, Orange, CA 92866

                                        Church & State
                                        1850 Industrial Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: leilamee
                                          leilamee RE: leilamee Aug 16, 2011 10:50 AM

                                          Ray & Stark Bar at LACMA
                                          has an indoor dining space and an patio

                                          The Gorbals
                                          bizaar but tasty

                                          -----
                                          The Gorbals
                                          501 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                          1. re: leilamee
                                            leilamee RE: leilamee Aug 16, 2011 11:12 AM

                                            I totally forgot about
                                            Drago Centro
                                            (downtown LA)
                                            6 course heirloom tomato tasting menu thru Sept 10th

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

                                          2. re: leilamee
                                            l
                                            linus RE: leilamee Aug 16, 2011 04:23 PM

                                            it's true, culver city is easy to get to from burbank.
                                            if you own a helicopter.

                                          3. m
                                            mc michael RE: psawce Aug 16, 2011 12:16 PM

                                            Roscoe's Chicken N Waffles represent!

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: mc michael
                                              n
                                              ns1 RE: mc michael Aug 16, 2011 12:57 PM

                                              momofuku fried chicken > roscoe's. by a large margin.

                                              on a PP basis, probably just as expensive as momofuku.

                                              1. re: ns1
                                                m
                                                mc michael RE: ns1 Aug 16, 2011 01:01 PM

                                                we aren't talkin' mo' better. we're talkin' represent.

                                                1. re: mc michael
                                                  n
                                                  ns1 RE: mc michael Aug 16, 2011 01:09 PM

                                                  well then let me put it this way: i wouldn't rec roscoe's to a NY'er who loves momofuku

                                                  1. re: ns1
                                                    m
                                                    mc michael RE: ns1 Aug 16, 2011 01:16 PM

                                                    I have to say I have a hard time making a rec to someone who wants NY quality but for $60 all in and it has to represent LA. Tough task.

                                            2. f
                                              fbchase RE: psawce Aug 16, 2011 02:46 PM

                                              I would go with Loteria Grill Hollywood. Right in Hollywood, well under budget, and what could be more Los Angeles than a traditional Mexican restaurant with a Scottish chef?

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: fbchase
                                                Peripatetic RE: fbchase Aug 16, 2011 03:17 PM

                                                Really? I don't know what the state-of-play is, but NYC used to have better Mexican than Loteria, e.g. La Cucina, Taqueria, even Pedro Paramo. (going back to the early 90s here).

                                              2. f
                                                fbchase RE: psawce Aug 16, 2011 02:50 PM

                                                Here is the link: Loteria Grill Hollywood

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                                                Loteria Grill Hollywood
                                                6627 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028

                                                Loteria Grill Hollywood
                                                6627 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

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