Buffalo Club, Culina, the Palm and Sake House - Dine LA
Four more under my belt--literally and figuratively (or should that be figuratively and figuratively?):
Buffalo Club dinner ($35) started with three lovely pates (chicken, duck and rabbit) with fresh pickled vegetables and lightly toasted bread. Next was a good cassoulet served with a sizable side of an excellent Vermont Cheddar M&C (all the Dine LA entrees also came with the Mac & Cheese)...though not, perhaps, an ideal accompaniment to the hearty bean and meat stew. Dessert was a decent sticky toffee pudding but the one at Waterloo & City (an option on its Dine LA menu) is hard to best. All the items seemed to be on the regular menu as well and priced out so that the meal essentially included a free dessert. Well worth a visit--several of the other dishes offered on both the Dine LA and regular, such as the scallop tamale, also looked quite interesting.
Dinner at Culina ($45) commenced with a very good cioppino (heartier than the one at Michael's and the seafood seemed a tad better), followed by a disappointing rigatoni in a sausage sauce that just needed more kick to it. The main was a delicious and good-sized Stinco (lamb shank) with fresh vegetables. Dessert was Culina's classic Tiramisu. A very good meal in all marred only by an unusual benign neglect in the service.
Lunch at the Palm ($25) started with the soup of the day, a good lentil (alas sans meat) and moved on to an enormous and delicious lobster (salad) blt that would have cost at least $25 at many restaurants by itself. This came with a choice of side (the half-and-half is the way to go if your cholesterol or medicine permits). Key Lime pie made for a perfect dessert as the tartness helped cut through all that richness.
Sake House by Hakiri in Culver City looked worth a try at $35 for a dinner that started with a good, spicy miso soup (chock full of jalapenos), followed by a selection of three appetizers (fair fried shrimp in mayo, a nice seaweed salad and a tasty tuna tartare on rice cracker) then moved on to ok sushi (9 pieces and a cut tuna roll) and ended with a green tea ice cream needlessly embroidered with a chocolate sauce. Not a bad meal and an attractive place but I have been much happier with the Dine LA sushi meals at Kiriko and even K-Zo, where the sushi seems better.
Still hoping to hit a few more places, including Fundamental for lunch (if I can swing a lunch up in West L.A. before the week is out) and Lukshon for dinner.