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LA choices for NY foodies

l
lavendula Mar 2, 2012 09:06 AM

Large group of foodie friends looking for a fun night out, special guests from NYC (including me!) want to experience unique LA dining. It's a weekend and we can't get into most of my first choice restaurants with our large group but here are our options:

Red Medicine
Axe
Lazy Ox Canteen
Irori Sushi
Foundry on Melrose

Please weigh in and let me know what you would choose! :)

For the second night, I need to choose between Picca and MB POST, so opinions on that also appreciated :)

  1. d
    degustingdiary Mar 2, 2012 09:12 AM

    I've had good meals at Red Medicine but have also had some pretty middling dishes. You might want to see if you can get a last-minute reservation at ink. for dinner and then stop by Red Medicine for their late night offerings.

    http://degustingdiary.blogspot.com/

    1. Porthos Mar 2, 2012 09:26 AM

      Check out this extensive thread:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/819924

      I agree with Uhockey in that I found Red Medicine superior to ink. Also, I agree with his assessment that the uni congee is one of the best dishes anywhere these days. Both of us have dined extensively in NYC.

      At Red Medicine you can't go wrong with the following: brussel sprouts (one of the tastiest versions around and much tastier than versions using bacon or pig ears as a crutch), maitake mushrooms (with long beans and cauliflower puree), roasted pork shoulder (crispy molassas crust), and the famed congee (make sure to spring for the uni supplement). These dishes knock it out of the park. The other dishes are not as stellar but still all very tasty.

      1. c
        cdub Mar 2, 2012 10:02 AM

        some other places to consider are baco mercat, animal and gjelina.

        red medicine is solid. the coocnut bavois is my favorite desert of the moment right now.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cdub
          wienermobile Mar 2, 2012 10:42 AM

          +1 for both Animal and Gjelina. I would add Son of A Gun to your list also. I am a giant fan of Manhattan Beach Post. great small plates. I have never had a bad dish there. Both chef and restaurant are up for 2012 James Beard awards.
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/807411

          -----
          Animal
          435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

          Son of a Gun
          8370 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

          Gjelina
          1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

          Manhattan Beach Post
          1142 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

        2. raytamsgv Mar 2, 2012 11:01 AM

          Where will you be staying? Will you have access to a car?

          The food scene Los Angeles is sprawling and very diverse. Do you want to eat Korean, Mexican, Vietnamese, Chinese, or other national cuisines? The are likely to be quite different from what you have in NY.

          14 Replies
          1. re: raytamsgv
            l
            lavendula Mar 2, 2012 11:17 AM

            Yes, Gjelina, Son of a Gun, Ink, etc, were all on my list but being that it's a weekend with a pretty large group we can't get into my top choices. We are staying in Beverly Hills and will have a car. I am also a vegetarian (no meat or fish) so that limits some options.

            We would love to have Japanese/Sushi! I just called and can get into Takao Sushi. They do veggie options for me. Thoughts?

            1. re: lavendula
              wienermobile Mar 2, 2012 11:21 AM

              For vegetarians Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica is a great choice. Scarpetta in Beverly Hills offers a great vegetarian menu at all times. Providence does a wonderful vegetarian tasting menu.

              -----
              Rustic Canyon Wine Bar
              1119 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

              Providence
              5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

              Scarpetta
              225 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

              1. re: wienermobile
                d
                degustingdiary Mar 2, 2012 11:31 AM

                +1 the Scarpetta recommendation, as I had two great meals there last year. In five meals at Providence, though, I cannot think of one memorable course that didn't have either fish or meat.

                1. re: degustingdiary
                  wienermobile Mar 2, 2012 11:37 AM

                  It is a special vegetarian tasting menu that Providence will do on request. It is not part of the regular menu. It was wonderful. Call them for more details.

                  1. re: wienermobile
                    d
                    degustingdiary Mar 2, 2012 11:41 AM

                    Ah, that makes sense--apologies for my inanity.

                  2. re: degustingdiary
                    l
                    lavendula Mar 2, 2012 11:38 AM

                    We have a Scarpetta in NYC, is this one much different? I tried to get into Providence as well but no go.
                    Given the options above (places I can get into), what is the best option?

                    1. re: lavendula
                      c
                      cdub Mar 2, 2012 11:54 AM

                      you may also want to try hatfields and tasting kitchen. some places on the list won't be too helpful if you're a vegetarian. there's a limited number of options at places like lazy ox. rustic canyon is great.

                      i'd skip scarpetta. there's minimal difference from the ny scarpetta.

                    2. re: degustingdiary
                      Porthos Mar 2, 2012 11:50 AM

                      In five meals at Providence, though, I cannot think of one memorable course that didn't have either fish or meat.
                      ================

                      Easy. 63 degree duck egg with soft polenta, fondue of reblochon de savoie, and black truffles. Also the pasta alla chitarra with black truffles.

                      1. re: Porthos
                        d
                        degustingdiary Mar 2, 2012 11:59 AM

                        I cannot argue with the spellbinding descriptions of those two dishes, Porthos, but I'm resigned to admit that neither has crossed my path. And the former sounds new; alas, I haven't been back to Providence since a disappointing meal last summer.

                        1. re: degustingdiary
                          l
                          lavendula Mar 2, 2012 12:18 PM

                          Okay, for night 2 - Providence, Picca, or MB Post???

                          1. re: lavendula
                            d
                            degustingdiary Mar 2, 2012 12:30 PM

                            My vote would be for MB Post. If, however, you want to experience the closest thing to Le Bernardin on the west coast, then go with Providence.

                            1. re: lavendula
                              wienermobile Mar 2, 2012 12:38 PM

                              1st choice Providence. 2nd MB Post. Do know that your meal at Providence may run double of MB Post. Enjoy both are great.

                            2. re: degustingdiary
                              Porthos Mar 2, 2012 12:32 PM

                              Go now. With the pasta alla chitarra with black truffles, it is a generous shaving that goes over your pasta.

                              Also, the live spot prawns baked in salt are back in season.

                              I don't find Providence as refined as Le Bernardin, but maybe that's why I find it tastier.

                              1. re: Porthos
                                d
                                degustingdiary Mar 2, 2012 01:30 PM

                                The spot prawns are arresting, but I won't be back in LA until late May (just as Australian black truffles are arriving).

                                To my mind, Le Bernardin is more consistent in terms of food and service, whereas the quality of my dinners at Providence depend almost entirely on whether Donato is working front of house.

                  3. EarlyBird Mar 2, 2012 12:59 PM

                    You can find any food in the world in New York, so rather than focusing on unique LA food, focus on the LA "type" of restaurant. Check out Spago, Dan Tana's, The Ivy, and other restaurants where you'll likely see actors and other LA "types."

                    Posters may complain about these recs because they are a bit touristy, but that's my point. Not to say the food isn't good (though Dan Tana's isn't "great").

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: EarlyBird
                      l
                      lavendula Mar 2, 2012 01:49 PM

                      Returning to my original question, out of the restaurants listed where I can get a table for my large group:

                      Red Medicine
                      Axe
                      Lazy Ox Canteen
                      Irori Sushi
                      Takao
                      Foundry on Melrose

                      What is the best is the best choice, food wise?

                      1. re: lavendula
                        d
                        degustingdiary Mar 2, 2012 01:57 PM

                        Red Med, but definitely call ahead both to make a reservation and to make sure they can accommodate your party.

                        1. re: degustingdiary
                          l
                          lavendula Mar 2, 2012 05:12 PM

                          Lazy Ox looks like they have a bunch of veggie options on their sample menu. Maybe not so online?

                          1. re: lavendula
                            d
                            degustingdiary Mar 2, 2012 05:31 PM

                            Yeah, not sure. But if you're still seeking the best vegetarian-friendly food based on the list you've enumerated, it will be at Red Med: rice porridge, coconut bavarois etc.

                        2. re: lavendula
                          Ciao Bob Mar 4, 2012 08:23 AM

                          Easy. Red Medicine. Lazy Oz would be my #2.

                          1. re: lavendula
                            aching Mar 7, 2012 07:00 PM

                            Lazy Ox would be my choice - and yes, they have lots of vegetarian options. Though the menu changes often, there's always a non-meat polenta dish (every one I've had has been amazing), as well as salads, vegetables, and grains.

                          2. re: EarlyBird
                            l
                            lavendula Mar 4, 2012 06:48 PM

                            Out of curiosity, how is the food at Spago??

                            1. re: lavendula
                              m
                              maudies5 Mar 4, 2012 06:53 PM

                              Food at Spago is always excellent.

                              1. re: lavendula
                                EarlyBird Mar 5, 2012 12:37 PM

                                Very good.

                            2. j
                              Jerome Mar 5, 2012 12:48 AM

                              I see you're looking for sceney places. if your friends are looking for a little more divey places with excellent food, try La Sirenita on Oxnard near Hazeltine. Excellent seafood cocktails, full bar and like nothing in New York. Also, Beijing Duck Restaurant on Rosemead (penglai yuan is the chinese name) have the soup with the sea urchin and the roast duck - you can call in the order, it takes half an hour and will be ready for your party on arrival. then again - given your list, this is outside of what you're asking. More info for other readers on the thread. also a private room at yongsusan in koreatown - reserve ahead and get the prixfixe at around $30 (or go to $50) a head. different than the new yorkers will have had. scenester places will be similar here, new york chicago, and miami (and elsewhere probably).

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: Jerome
                                l
                                lavendula Mar 5, 2012 12:23 PM

                                I'm not feeling a lot of love for Picca on this board...thoughts?

                                1. re: lavendula
                                  f
                                  Fidelixi Mar 7, 2012 07:07 PM

                                  Heavy love for Picca. Great food, great drinks, great staff/service. Many interesting and delicious things going on here, in a nice room with great energy. Can be loud, but with a group I guess you'll be fighting that anywhere and mostly talking with whom you're seated beside.

                                  1. re: Fidelixi
                                    l
                                    lavendula Mar 15, 2012 09:45 AM

                                    We ended up at Picca and sat at the chefs counter where we could see all the action (and stay warm by the stove!). It was very good but didn't blow us away. The cooked dishes and skewers (especially the fish skewers) were the favorite of the group, while the fresh fish dishes were pretty flavorless. I really loved locro de quinoa - my fav. of the evening - along with the pisco sour :)

                                    The second night we were at Red Medicine with the big group. This dinner wowed everyone and the vegetable dishes were fantastic. The porridge was a big hit with the vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Service was fantastic. I found it so interesting that by 11PM the place was dead.

                                    Breakfast was at the hotel, and 1 sushi lunch at Kiriko which I reviewed on another post. Overall lots of great eating for a 2 day stay in LA! Thanks for all the help, much appreciated :)

                                    1. re: lavendula
                                      Peripatetic Mar 15, 2012 11:20 AM

                                      Thanks for reporting back!

                                      > I found it so interesting that by 11PM the place was dead.

                                      That's a bit of culture shock anyone originally from the East Coast experiences in LA!

                                      1. re: Peripatetic
                                        j
                                        Jerome Mar 15, 2012 06:27 PM

                                        Wow. Interesting. The East Coast has certainly changed since I was there - So Baltimore, Philadelphia, Trenton, Albany, Hartford, even Boston all have restaurants that are swinging and kicing at 11PM? will note it.
                                        On a similar note though - went to INK on melrose for my brithday the other day. We got seated at about 10 to 10, and we were there until nearly midnight, and weren't the last people eating. Plus - there are other late night places, just not the top ones usually...

                                        1. re: Jerome
                                          Peripatetic Mar 15, 2012 06:54 PM

                                          My remark is based on my experiences in New York City (where I lived for 10 years) and Boston (where I grew up). I should probably have said "anyone from large East Coast cities, particularly NYC".

                                          1. re: Peripatetic
                                            f
                                            Fidelixi Mar 15, 2012 07:31 PM

                                            Sorry to hear Picca didn't deliver for you. I was there Tuesday night and had terrific beef filet with sea urchin butter, ahi tartare, delicious mussels, ceviche with fritto misto. Oh well. I am NYC now and much as I love LA it is simply hard to compare the dining scenes; while LA has its standouts, NY quite frankly has the deck stacked with the concentration of money, density of people, dearth of space (and kitchens), and curious, energized people - resulting in just more, and thus more better, restaurants, in my opinion. Today I had breakfast at Eataly (pasta), lunch at X'ian, and superb dinner at Txikito.

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

                                            1. re: Fidelixi
                                              l
                                              lavendula Mar 16, 2012 10:17 AM

                                              I wish there were "like" buttons on Chowhound :)

                                            2. re: Peripatetic
                                              j
                                              Jerome Mar 16, 2012 12:36 AM

                                              thanks = i lived in boston for a few years and although recently there's more open late, that's a result of gentrification. Bars were always open late though. NYC is great, but transplants here do the same parochial ploy when describing Los Angeles (County) as the West Coast and New York - well, Manhattan, as the East Coast. But there are plenty of places to eat whcih specialize in late night serving. But granted, very few are chic.

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