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Aug 24, 2012 10:58 PM

Update my previous post: Brother in law wants a great birthday dinner at Mexican, Italian or Steakhouse in L.A. or Westside.

Bday guest wants great Mexican/Italian or Steakhouse-L.A., or Westside for a Monday night dinner-

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  1. Mercado Santa Monica from the folks who brought you Yxta in the arts district of LA. But the food and drinks at Mercado were much better than Yxta, It is open on Mondays. It could work for this.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

      Mercado's very elaborate website has a menu without prices -- worthless. What do they have to hide?

    2. This may be a first, but I don't believe there are any places in the metro LA area (let alone the westside) that serve both Mexican and Italian. Its either one or the other. Especially difficult since both cuisines have so many regional variations to each. Maybe your guest could narrow it down or give an example of a place he/she likes?

      Also, for a steakhouse, is there a budget? We have both high end & lower end steakhouses here.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

        ha! I meant separate restaurants-Definitley not one place that serves both. He is in the mood for a great Mexican restaurant or great Italian restaurant-even up for an excellent steakhouse...

        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

          Lawry's The Prime Rib may not be at CUT's level, but the prime rib is tender and flavorful. An L.A. institution soon after it opened in 1938, it'd be a solid choice for a birthday event with its dependable fare, congenial wait crew, good wine list and hearty cocktails.

          I know I'll probably be skewered like a kebab for this, but my husband and I have really enjoyed each of our four visits to the DTLA Pacific Dining Car -- another oldie (1921) among L.A.-area restaurants. The baseball steak, my favorite entree there, never disappoints.

          Regarding that hard-to-find combination of Mexican/Italian ...

          Getting out to northeastern Orange County will be a huge schlep for the OP, but the ultra-casual and low-key Main Street Restaurant in Yorba Linda has included both Mexican and Italian fare on its menu since it opened in 1989.

          My better half and I have had many weekend dinners there for 17 years: He recommends the green chile-potato enchiladas wholeheartedly, whereas I happily vouch for the flavorful carnitas. Both of us give it a +1 for the complimentary salsa -- nicely seasoned, I'll add -- and the tasty chips. And while the red-sauce meat lasagna hardly breaks any culinary ground, it nevertheless gets plenty of its flavor from a generous touch of both basil and oregano.

          Will Main Street fit the OP's requirement for a "great Mexican/Italian" meal? No, but I really like it for its uber-unpretentious fare and friendly wait crew, with the Mexican menu beating out the Italian one by a bit.

          1. re: Dornfelder

            IMO Lawry's is as touristy as it gets. Cheese Cake Factory with better prime rib. Pacific Dining Car is many years past its prime and not a great venue for a B Day, although the steak is good as I recall. If you want that, you would have more fun at Musso Frank.

            1. re: BSW6490

              Wow! I know Lawry's has been crazy-touristy for years, BSW, but I didn't know it'd gone downhill that rapidly over the five. Sorry to hear that.

              I knew I'd be kebabed for PDC, but the baseball steak alone merits a thumbs-up.

              Musso & Frank is a good call for dependable fare; my better half and I enjoyed a solid steak and an industrial-strength martini the last time we paid 'em a visit. It's probably one of the last establishments in the area with chipped beef -- likely a dinner staple in 1919, the year M&Fopened -- on its menu.

              1. re: Dornfelder

                My comment about Lawry's was not intended to insult the prime rib. I believe its still great. Its just that the place is such a tourist joint, I would do something else.

                1. re: BSW6490

                  Got it, BWS -- thanis for the clarification. Agreed about the tourists, as they can be a pain in the backside, but the prime rib I remembered was lovely. It's a relief to know, then, that it hasn't fallen on hard times.

                  1. re: Dornfelder

                    I find that Lawry's is "touristy" is a good way. When I go there I feel like I'm seeing a bit of L.A. through the eyes of someone who wasn't born and raised here (though I was) and that's a bit of "Hollywood magic" in a good way. Plus, (along with the great prime rib) they have wonderful service, with waitresses who have been working there for at least one, if not more, eons. And they take care of you like some sort of "Mary Poppins crossed with a great RN"...Here is my review from a 18 months ago:

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Agree 100% with you, Servorg, about the positive side of "touristy" as it relates here to Lawry's..Honestly, I know many long-time OC and Inland Empire residents who readily admit that they've never once set foot in Los Angeles. so they'd be every bit as much tourists as would a traveler from another continent.

                      And you're also spot on about that nurturing approach on the part of the wait staff. It didnothing but enhance our experience there -- and I've got to admit that the salad presentation was a blast.

                      But that prime rib ... oh, my better half and I grinned like twin Cheshire Cats as we devoured ours.

                      1. re: Servorg

                        I went back to Lawry's after a long break and was pleasantly surprised by how good everything was. Did not notice anything "touristy" about it. They celebrated I think 18 birthdays while we were there (yes I counted). I have never known tourists to travel in large packs to celebrate birthdays, so my only logical conclusion is that the place is filled with Angelinos.

                        1. re: ns1

                          "I have never known tourists to travel in large packs to celebrate birthdays..."

                          I always figured it was a mixture of visiting relatives from the middle of America along with their SoCal family they're visiting. The rest is just "birthday" visiting serendipity...(g) I'm sure lots and lots of locals celebrate at Lawry's. It just "feels" like everyone dining there is from somewhere else to me.

                          1. re: Servorg

                            "It just "feels" like everyone dining there is from somewhere else to me."

                            I get that too...but mainly because I feel like I'm walking into another dimension when I step foot into that joint. I 100% agree with your review btw. Me and the GF split the second largest prime rib there and we didn't even put a dent in it.

          2. Italian steakhouse, birthday? Can not possibly do better than Dan Tanas. Ask to sit in the bar room.

            5 Replies
            1. re: BSW6490

              Agree with BSW6490. Dan Tana's is a trip, especially if you are lucky enough to sit in the bar. But make your ressies early, they have TONS of regulars, and it's very small inside.

              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                also, a reservation doesnt always guarantee a table on a busy friday or saturday night.

                1. re: linus

                  No, it certainly does not, does it? But I have never failed to get a table there..

                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                    i have. it's a drag. though it was a hoot watching the host guy take a look at the crowd waiting for their tables, throw his hands up, and go outside and smoke a well needed cigarette.

                    1. re: linus

                      Monday should not be too bad. Especially, if you go around 7:30 and reserve in advance.

            2. Steakhouse - CUT

              Italian - Valentino, Osteria Mozza

              Mexican - Babita, Chichen Izta, Yxta

              1 Reply
              1. You might try THINK STEAKHOUSE on Western, in Palos Verdes.

                Paul, the owner has nightly crowds, consistently. His parents own a Chateau in France, and his wine celler speaks accordingly.