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Oct 9, 2012 08:43 AM

Midweek anniversary dinner for a vegetarian and a carnivore

Hi all,

I've read through most of the boards this whole last week, but am looking for a nice place to have dinner for my anniversary. (Tomorrow, Thursday, or Friday.) Most of the most popular restaurants called out recently don't work for at least one of us, so I'm hoping with some extra info, you wonderful folks will help me find the right place.

I am a vegetarian and my boyfriend is a carnivore who doesn't eat vegetables whatsoever. Neither of us eat seafood. I'd prefer to skip a straight Italian place because that's always our fallback. I'd like to find a place where he can have a filet mignon (or a reallllly good burger) but I don't have to eat just sides.

Some places that have been hits in the past: The Grill on Hollywood, Nick + Stef's Steakhouse, The Tasting Kitchen. That's a good barometer for fanciness and price.

We work in Marina and live in the valley, so anywhere in between is great. Also open to Hollywood, WeHo, Beverly Hills and the like. We'll be leaving work in the height of rush hour so anything west of Vine is probably the safest bet.

I'm leaning towards The Little Door because their steak seems easily de-veggied, and there are some good options for me. Wood & Vine, while great for me, seems too variable for him, but Off Vine is a possibility. He's nixxed Yamashiro. I'm not sure about La Poubelle but I think that had some good choices as well.

Any suggestions welcome! Thanks. :)

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    1. re: ipsedixit

      While the sweet corn pancakes would work for me, it looks like their steak is for two. Thank you, though!

      1. re: Veggiedactyl

        The short ribs are remarkable. I have had the sweet corn pancakes and they really are delicious. You really can't go wrong at Lucques.

        1. re: maudies5

          That would be true if he ate short ribs. :)

          1. re: Veggiedactyl

            They also change their menu quite often, so you might want to call and check what they have currently.

      2. re: ipsedixit

        Not sure about straight vegetarian stuff, but I have not been impressed with Lucques's vegan offerings the two times I've been there (once for a regular meal, and once for Sunday Supper). Generally, some kind of grain, with a bunch of vegetables on top. Not horrible; just kind of not well put together or thought out. It's odd, because I love AOC, and Suzanne Goin makes so many things that are practically vegan to start with (her pasta dish with cauliflower and currants is fantastic, even if you leave out the anchovies), but I've just never found them to be that inventive at the restaurant (they're very acommodating). My wife did not really think their non-vegetarian fare was that exciting either.

        Most of my normal suggestions (places like n/naka and Providence) would probably not be appealing to someone as picky as your boyfriend, since their non-vegetarian options generally feature a lot of fish and vegetables. Maybe too generic and corporate, but have you been to Houston's? Hear great things about their veggie options esp. their veggie burger.

        1. re: will47

          I think Lucques is just too fussy for us in general. Also, I try to avoid places when there is only one thing either of us can eat, just in case they're out or there's some issue that day.

          n/naka is definitely outside our price range, even if it was a fit. Isn't Providence entirely seafood?

          He actually really likes Houston's, but I've never been that big a fan. I think the couple times I went was back when I ate chicken, so I probably didn't try the veggie burger. The locations closer to us are all closed now -- I think it's just Pasadena and South Bay that are still around. Next time we're in the OC (I've eaten at the Irvine one), maybe I'll give it another go and try the veggie burger. Thanks!

          1. re: Veggiedactyl

            Hillstone (nee Houston's) still has a location in Santa Monica on Wilshire and 2nd (IIRC). The Century City branch closed after they couldn't agree on a new lease with Mall management.

            1. re: Veggiedactyl

              Again, that's why I said they probably wouldn't be appealing in this case (because you said he doesn't like fish). Providence is not "entirely seafood" -- their vegetarian and vegan food is fantastic, however (and I believe they may even publish a menu for their vegetarian tasting menu). Even if it's not their primary thing, I think it's probably some of the best, and most consistent, vegetarian food I've had in LA (the one time I was at Sona, maybe a little bit better, but they're closed now).

              There is usually some (non-fish) meat on the menu, and at least one course of their tasting menu is usually meat, but Cimarusti is most famous for cooking fish, and that's kind of the slant of the restaurant. It's definitely not a "just a slab of meat on a plate" kind of place, though I'm sure they will do that if it's really what you want and you're willing to pay for it.

              1. re: will47

                Neither of us eat seafood. It looks like a missed a pasta first course my first run through their menu (which maybe we could get without the mushrooms), but there are no vegetarian main courses listed. Strange that there is no mention of vegetarian/vegan options on their site.

                Either way, it's out of our price range.

                1. re: Veggiedactyl

                  Don't worry so much about what's on the menu. Most good high-end restaurants will accommodate you off-menu with advance notice, and especially here in LA, they are used to people with weirder dietary habits than yours or your boyfriend's. Especially since you eat eggs / dairy, I think you will find very few restaurants (barring some straight up steakhouses, perhaps) in the greater LA area that cannot accommodate you pretty comfortably. The important thing is to find out which places do it well, and to contact the restaurant ahead of time.

        2. Dan Tanas would work and be a lot of fun. Sit in the front room.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Thor123

            Not looking for Italian, but, thank you!

          2. How about Ray's @ LACMA? You can take in an exhibit & enjoy an elegant meal. Good veggie options; don't know if they offer filet mignon but they do have a hanger steak and other good meat options (check out menu, I tend to order seafood &/or veggies so don't focus on red meat selection).
            Also, I haven't been in a couple of years but 2117 on Sawtelle has a varied tasty menu w/ a slight Japanese/Asian influence (more French/continental though). You both should find something you like there. It's a fun neighborhood for dinner as well.
            If you want a variety of small plates, then highly recommend Mezze on La Cienega (you could stick w/ vegetarian options of which there are many & he could have meat-based dishes)

            9 Replies
              1. re: archer

                Thanks for the thoughtful suggestions, archer!

                Ray's - I don't think he's big on hanger steak, but this looks like a GREAT lunch find. Plus, I haven't been to LACMA in ages. Would be fun to go on the weekend so we could actually spend time at the museum.

                2117 - I think he'd be more excited about that burger than the dinner options, so this is definitely going on my lunch places to try list.

                Mezze - I don't think this is our speed, but I have a friend who would probably flip for it. Now I know what to recommend for his birthday!

                1. re: Veggiedactyl

                  fig would have options for you(especially if you are a lacto-vegitarian, and they serve a 12 oz. NY strip steak for him.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    Fig looks pretty great. I love that it's locally sourced, and there are sooo many things I want to try! Thanks, westsidegal!

                    1. re: Veggiedactyl

                      i love the curried vegetables there.
                      also, if you eat dairy, not shown on the website, they have an ever-changing cheese menu that has over 20 different types of cheese on it at any one time, and a terrific fromager

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          We have a winner with FIG! Thank you! :)

                          1. re: Veggiedactyl

                            the fromager's station is set up at one end of the bar.
                            his name is eric.
                            he will be happy to consult with you about your cheese course.
                            just be patient, because at the same time he consults with you he will be responsible for setting up all the cheese and charcuterie plates for the entire restaurant.
                            give him an idea of what you like:
                            veined/not veined
                            he will help you and will make you a custom designed cheese platter.

                2. Looks like FIG is the winner. Thank you all!