NEED ADVICE - Lucques, Hatfield's, Osteria Mozza or ?
We're going to be in LA for my birthday. I'm looking for really good food creatively using fresh local ingredients. We're coming from New York and frequently travel internationally so we'd like a California experience.
We're open to other suggestions, too.
Raphael's - you must be kidding. Can't hold a candle to the other places mentioned.
Hell, try Cook's County, Waterloo & City, etc. and keep the prices plausible.
Hatfield's and Lucques are very good, yet may not be all that different from what you get back home, and if you have ever been to one Batali place, well, then you do not need to do anything Mozza.
Asian and Mexican Food are the cuisines that separate LA from your NY experiences.
Rivera downtown LA, or any number of places in the San Gabriel Valley for Chinese food might also work, depending on tastes, types of heat, etc.
Peruvian food at Picca, Thai food in any number of places,
Of those three, Hatfield's probably fits your request best, though all three are quite good. You might also consider Fig at the Fairmont in Santa Monica and Spago in Beverly Hills (the tasting menu is the way to go at Spago) in addition to the recommendations of Animal, Gjelina, MB Post and Tasting Kitchen below...though, depending on whether atmosphere matters for your Birthday, the last four are far more about food than ambience.