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May 21, 2012 09:42 AM

A Saturday Night Dinner Near the Whiskey on Sunset

Seeing a show at The Whiskey next month. For the record, the Whiskey is located at 8901 West Sunset Boulevard, right on the The Strip.

The headliner won't go on until 11 or so, so we'd like to have dinner around nine o'clock, give or take.

We want to park once and eat and see the show, so I'm looking for places within half a mile, three quarters of a mile of The Whiskey.

I'm thinking about the Rainbow Bar and Grill. It's hard for me to believe, but after 30 years of seeing shows on The Strip at the Roxy, The Whiskey, Key Club and Gazzari's, I've never eaten in the Rainbow. I hear they have good chicken soup, but I'm not sure I want a bowl of chicken soup for dinner before the show. Maybe they have some other good things on the menu?

So, any recs within walking distance of The Whiskey. It'll be a Saturday night and it's only a couple of days from my birthday, so we're calling this a birthday dinner (if that matters.)

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  1. There have been so many positive posts about this place I would have to think it deserves serious consideration (we haven't been yet).

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg

      Absolutely. The food is solid. Good small plate menu and reasonable. Great vibe, bar and music with a retractable roof. Much better than the Rainbow although the Rainbow is fun.

    2. Rainbow is far better than one would think. The chicken soup there is reaaly good. Many like the pizzza but I think it is a thick-crust grease-bomb. The fresh fish is usually excellent.

      Night+Market (Thai)
      Amarone (Italian)

      9 Replies
      1. re: Ciao Bob

        I think we're going to give Night + Market a try.

        Sounds interesting and a bit unusual. Also, it sort of lends itself well to going to a show after -- we can try a few small things and share them but won't feel the need to eat a meal with huge portions that will make us tired for the show.

        I'll try and write something about it next week.

        1. re: PaulF

          Night + Market is a great spot. For those that don't know, I believe it was started by the son of the Talesai owner. It shares the same front door as Talesai, but vibe, food, look, etc. are all different. Some communal tables, some not. More of a cold beer and street food type spot, but you can get cocktails from the adjacent Talesai. Some great rieslings too. The food has HEAT and will get you plenty fired up for the show. Let them know if you have even minor issues with fire! The coconut sticky rice helps quench the burn;) Rene Redzepi from Noma was in there a couple of weeks ago, and if you're in town from Denmark for just a few nights and lauded as having the best restaurant in the world, I've got to think he picked his LA dining spots carefully!

          Just to comment on a few other spots mentioned in the thread:
          Eveleigh- I would say hit this place next time you are around. Totally 180 from Night + Market. It has the reclaimed look of Gjelina, etc. Awesome cocktails, guest bartenders on Monday night. Solid food and service. Probably need a reservation, although you can eat at the bar and there are a few bar area tables that are first come first serve.

          Greenblatts is an old standard, but a super long trek. I often also question the value. Great wines though.

          A couple of places not mentioned-

          Take Sushi- A couple of doors down from Aaaah's kitty cat corner from the Whiskey. As a neighborhood mom n pop spot, it's great. Keno is the chef and his wife is the server. It's been there forever, and although I love it, I do hesitate to recommend it for people who have a show to catch. If it gets crowded it can sometimes slow down. The menu is your standard mom n pop sushi restaurant, that has to cater to the neighborhood that it's in, but Keno is overqualified. If you establish a relationship, you'll be eating mostly off menu and loving it. I've been going there for years and it's amazing how deep his bag of tricks is. It's definitely a quirky divey spot with a lot of history, characters, and the chance that it's not a total success, but it shouldn't be overlooked.
          One last thing, they have a small upstairs loft with couches that is used rarely for private groups. They don't mention it but it's pretty unique. Dark, but fun with a tv if you're looking for it.

          Lastly, Mirabelle. Mirabelle, next to Red Rock, just finished their big overhaul. I'm not a fan at all of the interior- it reminds me too much of the SLS/Bazaar/XIV or any other SBE land mine (although it's not an SBE spot). HOWEVER- the chef is Michael Bryant, formerly of Norman's, Bin 7892?, Palihouse, etc. He's doing a cured fish crudo seafood heavy inspired menu. Also worth a look.

          I really enjoyed Michael's food while at Norman's and Bin and although I've only been to the new Mirabelle's once too close to opening to really judge, it was imaginative and very tasty. Unfortunately, I really think they dropped the ball on the decor and missed an opportunity to really showcase his food. As is, the interior is truly a distraction. Worst part is they replaced the iconic old scripted street sign and replaced it with a cold black and white sign. Anyhow, hope some others get in there and report!

          1. re: LATrapp

            Great comments, especially about Take. I too have been going for years -- though not for a while. Glad to hear he's still going strong.

            I am not an everleigh fan at all.

            LOVE AMARONE.

            1. re: Ciao Bob

              Thanks for your recommendations Bob. I strongly considered Amarone, but we were just really intrigued by what Night + Market is doing.

              As above, I was also a little concerned about eating a big meal and then standing for a few hours for the show. We are considering this meal "dinner" but we'll likely eat lightly then maybe get dessert afterwards or something like that.

              For what it's worth, I'm glad I posted this request. All of the recommendations sound good and intriguing and you don't see too many posts about restaurants on this end of the Sunset Strip. The only place I ever went to around here was Duke's and Duke's is gone. Or we'd head a bit east to Hugo's or Marix or even Barney's for beer and chili. But now I've got a bunch of places I'd like to try.

              Thanks everyone.

              1. re: PaulF

                Night Market is excellent and easier to go light at.

            2. re: LATrapp

              Interesting to hear about Mirabelle. Never would have thought. They might have done better with a name change as Mirabelle invokes Hamlet more than creative menu.

              1. re: LATrapp

                Speaking of reservations, making them for N+M was really easy. Just sent them an email, let them know how many people, what day and time and so on and they just emailed me right back from someone's Blackberry. Probably took five minutes. Couldn't be any simpler.

            3. re: Ciao Bob

              Yes really good home cooked Italian style. Holiday meals there are recommended. I recommend, however, Talesai for great Thai food. Then you can just pop into the Rainbow for a cocktail before the show. It's right there the closest restaurant to Doheny and across from the old Scandia. Highly recommended. Mirabelle and Red rock have happy hour specials. Mirabelle really is like a flashback but it's still good

              1. re: chewbacca

                Mirabelle is a whole different kind of flashback after their interior redo of a few weeks ago!

                Also, second Amarone mentioned above. I've never been crazy about the space, but the food is great and they aim to please. Love the soft buttery aged blue cheese on their pear salad. I keep forgetting to ask the name, but if anyone knows it I would appreciate it!

            4. Sounds like you have a plan....but for future reference, Grennblatt's is good and has a terrific wine selection. They're open until 2 am.

              1. My response to my own post:

                First of all, thanks everyone for all the great recommendations. We had time to kill between the end of our meal and the start of our show and we were able to at least check out Mirabelle, Amarone, and Take Sushi and made mental notes to try them all. The latter two looked small and intimate, almost like places you see in other cities that are more crowded. Mirabelle was nothing like I expected (just looking at it I mean -- I had pictured something else completely.) We didn't see Eveleigh, I don't think we walked far enough on Sunset.

                It's actually a pretty cool part of the city on a Saturday. With the Key Club, the Roxy, The Whiskey and the Viper Room all in a half mile stretch, plus all those great restaurants (plus a bunch of bars and some more casual pizza and hot dog spots and so forth, there are a ton of people walking around. Plenty of parking lots, we paid 8 bucks (but were there from before nine until two am.

                Anyway, Night + Market ...

                For those unfamiliar (we were), Night + Market is inside Talesai. Talesai has a bar and restaurant and a room behind the bar. Night + Market is in the room behind the bar. The N+M menu is served every night, during the day that room serves Talesai's regular menu.

                It's bright room large, with the right amount of tables. Some of the tables are communal, a few tables for four and some tables for two. Yes, you sit with others at the communal tables, but there is a lot of room between tables and there aren't too many chairs at the communal tables so you don't feel crowded. One of the walls is unadorned and white and they show movies on the wall, no sound. Last night we saw the end of The Departed. Good movie.

                The restaurant wasn't crowded, our reservation wasn't really necessary I don't think (though we did get a table for two, as opposed to the communal table) but then again it was 9pm. It might be more crowded at 7pm but I don't really know.

                We ordered four dishes, two and then two more after we finished the first round. The first course was a baby squid It was a special, a salad with onions, peppers, cilantro and the baby squid on lettuce leaves. The squid were very tender. The dish was spicy, but it was a spice that built over time, not too hot too handle but as you went on you felt it. We also had "startled pig" (the menu has both Thai names and English descriptions.) That was sliced pork with basil, bird eye chile (whatever that is), fish sauce and some other flavors. This was my favorite of our dishes. The pork was very juicy and the basil really accented it wel. This was hotter than the squid. We shared a side of the coconut rice, which offset the heat.

                If truth be told, had we just rested for a few minutes, that might have been enough food. We were close to full when we ordered round two. But it was a celebratory evening and we were feeling like we wanted to try some other dishes.

                So we went with the Isaan Sour Sausage which had peanuts raw cabbage and chile. Now, I love sausage, it's one of my favorite things. I actually don't eat them out that often because it's something I grill so much, I don't feel like eating it when we go out. But I really wanted to try these.

                They weren't like other sausages I had. First, they were sort of shaped like large olives. Not patties or tube shaped. They are made on the premises. I really dug them but in a "this wasn't what I expected them to taste like and I feel like I'm trying something I have never tried before. First bite was interesting. Then I really got into them Excellent texture. The sour/fermented taste was jarring at first, but after a bit, delicious. Another CH could likely do them justice better than me. There were five sausages to the order.

                Finally, we ordered Pad Thai. Why Pad Thai, so ordinary? Well, I couldn't resist checking out their web site before we went and they discuss the Pad Thai. Their feeling is that Americans who are into Thai food dismiss "pad thai" as inauthentic. They say that it is actually very popular in Thailand, it's just different than what you get at almost all American Thai restaurants. So, we wanted to give it a go.

                I'm glad we did. It's very, very simple and after the complexity of the other dishes that was really welcome. It doesn't come with any meat added, just dried shrimp and grilled tofu. The noodles held up so much better than in standard, why-did-I-order-this pad thai that I see on the Westside. They were almost slippery with the right amount of peanuts. I would equate this to ordering pasta olio in a fine Italian restaurant. Very simple, nothing fancy, but done just right.

                I had a 22 oz. Singha and my wife had a lemonade. Service was excellent, three servers working the room and serving our table, very patient in explaining and recommending dishes. Water glasses kept filled, then they left a small carafe of water. All totaled: Fifty dollars with the tax but before the tip.

                As above, we ate too much by at least one dish. We were very full. We're a family of four and we could probably bring our kids (two sons with excellent appetites) and could likely get away with five dishes for four people, as opposed to four for two, depending on the order.

                Thanks for the rec. We had fun. I have no way to know if this is really "authentic Thai street food" as they claim, but it's a very good spot and we will return. Definitely.