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Favorite "counter dining" spot?

Not necessarily a bar, but it could be, but just anywhere where you sit at the counter, esp. places where you can watch and eavesdrop on the cook (or chef, or whatever).

Spots that come to mind for me are the counter at Old Country Cafe, Pie N Burger and Pizzeria Mozza.


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  1. Front room at Mo-Chica

      1. re: maudies5

        The problem with the Apple Pan is the hoards of hungry diners looking over your shoulder impatient for you to inhale that last bite so they can sit down, and the waiters who try to usher you out quickly. Eating there sometimes feels like one of those Nathan's hot dog eating contests on Coney Island.

        1. re: jgilbert1000

          not if you go during off hours.

          i hate eating there in prime time.

          but off hours, which they do actually have, is quite relaxing and not too stressful.

          it would be great if they made stiff drinks too.

          1. re: jgilbert1000

            Same problem I have at Dim Sum restaurants in HKG.

        2. Shunji, Kiriko, Tsujita (and ANNEX)

          7 Replies
          1. re: PeterCC

            Yeah, I suppose you could throw in every sushi counter.

            Better question might be, what sushi places do you prefer table seating over the sushi counter. Only place that comes to mind might be Matsuhisa.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              +1 on (insert sushi bar here), but my choices would be Shunji and Kiriko as well, obviously. Annex > OG Tsujita re: counter seating for the OP's purposes.

              Trois Mec at the counter was a very fun meal, provided you can obtain "tickets."

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Table service > counter service at sugarFISH. (With the exception of Nozawa Bar, of course...)

                The private sushi bar at Matsuhisa is MUCH preferred over any of the other seats in the house, whether they be the bar or table in the main dining area.

                1. re: J.L.

                  That's the nine-seater tempura bar ?

                  1. re: kevin

                    Yes, but so much more than just tempura served in the room: You can order every dish on the menu, AND there are some special ones only available in that room.

                    On that tempura note, though, Matsuhisa's tempura corn in the private bar may be the best I've ever tried.

                    1. re: J.L.

                      You know what ????

                      I think I've never been yet.

                      How does one make a reservation for the tempura bar ? Do they required like a 150 minimum per person or somethig ?

                  2. re: J.L.

                    I've never been to the private bar at M.

              2. Out of this jurisdiction, but a companion and I once sat at the counter at Emeril's in New Orleans while he chatted with us and cooked up a free app. Hard to beat that.

                2 Replies
                  1. re: mc michael

                    i had his famed dessert at the counter along with a chicory coffee though it was nothing special.

                  2. Shunji's.


                    Chez Jay.

                    Dan Tana's.



                    2 Replies
                    1. re: kevin

                      How could I have forgotten Musso & Frank? There is something deeply comforting about sitting in front of the Grill in the Old Room

                    2. oh, and of course, how could I forget:


                        1. Strangely enough (or maybe not) Kate Mantilini's in the Hills of Beverly.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: Servorg

                            Now where exactly are those "Hills of Beverly " ?

                            But I ain't going back to Kate's until they put scrambled eggs and calf's brains back on the menu.

                            Then it might just be one of my favorite counter joints.

                            1. re: kevin

                              Now I gotta to and watch Michael Mann's film "Heat" once yet again. Thanks a lot. :-)

                              1. re: kevin

                                Scambled eggs and calf's brains??? I'm about the furthest you can get from PETA, but after hearing about that menu item, I'm thinking about sending them $10.

                                1. re: jgilbert1000

                                  Well, if it's good enough for Wilder, it sure as hell is more than good enough for me. :)

                                2. re: Servorg

                                  Another fan of Kate's counter. I'll have a cup of split pea soup and half of a Chatham sandwich.

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    Used to love their Mac 'n cheese & had to eat it at the counter

                                    1. Old Country Cafe all the way. Just kick back, eat and drink a milk tea (or in my case, a red bean milk), while enjoying Taiwanese news or game shows on the TV. Relax even more while enjoying the drink refill.

                                      Always a good way to head on out for a long drive back for me (if I'm really tired, a coffee milk tea).

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: JThur01

                                        They refill your whole meal ?

                                        AYCE style almost ?

                                          1. re: ns1

                                            I read through that too quickly.

                                            Drink refill.

                                            1. re: kevin

                                              Little known fact.

                                              Boba and/or Chinese milk teas are a bit like Beluga caviar. The first few tastes (or slurps) are heaven, but you certainly don't want to be chowing down on soup spoonfuls of the caviar, and likewise with the tea -- after about 2 cups of back-to-back boba, you're ready for an oral enema.

                                              OCC also provides free refills of their shaved ice, by the way. But the same principle applies to the shaved ice as it does to the boba, but x100. If you thought brain freeze from ice cream was tough to shake, try eating back-to-back servings of shaved ice. Not good.

                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                This is something I too have discovered Mr. Science! It's why I usually forego the boba and pace myself on the second, often taking most of it with me for later. It's all about pacing.

                                                I won't recount my first SGV food crawl and how I stopped at 3 places that gave me milk tea refills and errrrr...

                                      2. lukshon at the chef's counter

                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              That's the one. I LOVE the corned beef hash. And the ham steak. And the hash browns. And the free coffee on weekends.

                                              Mr Taster

                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                Do the two Nick's, grizzled old LAPD detectives, still own the joint ?

                                                1. re: kevin

                                                  Sadly no.

                                                  But the new owner kept the recipes and the spirit.

                                                  The portions are still generous, the ham still great and the salsa still makes me sweat.

                                                2. re: Mr Taster

                                                  I was very disappointed in the corned beef hash at Nick's http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7142... when I tried it (as well as the hash browns) - maybe that was an aberration, but I wouldn't rush back for either.

                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                    What specifically did you not like about the corned beef hash?

                                                    Compare & contrast with the one you like at Pann's.

                                                    Mr Taster

                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                      It was too refined. Basically corned beef mush, rather than hash, put on to the plate in scoops. Pann's produces a corned beef hash in which the corned beef is still discernible as coherent corned beef, with a much more wonderful flavor to my taste buds. Nick's had a pretty high salt content, but that can be such a wide ranging variable that I won't mark it down, just note it.

                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                        For the record, in my dozen or so visits to Nick's, I've never had the hash served in scoops. It's always griddled flat, and served flat. It's intensely spiced with black pepper and cumin (or caraway, I don't recall) which I love. It is finely processed, though. I'll need to try Pann's for comparison (along with their patty melt, though hopefully not in the same visit).

                                                        Mr Taster

                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                          Here is a photo http://i0.wp.com/beefaficionado.com/w... of Pann's CBH (not my order or photo or the eggs would look nothing like this with the hard yolks) and the coherent CB chunks can be clearly seen.

                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                            The biscuit looks good too.

                                                            Also, one must remember that Pann's serves its corned beef hash very very very rarely if even that often.

                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                              Last time we went to Pann's a couple of weeks ago, the biscuits changed. It was dropped instead of cut. Texture was different and not for the better. We're hoping it was a one time aberration.

                                                            2. re: Servorg

                                                              Yeah, those eggs don't look too peachy.

                                                              Though the biscuit looks great.

                                              2. Mozza(s)
                                                Trois Mec (not that I have sat there YET but it looks perfect)
                                                Salt's Cure
                                                Fishing w/ Dynamite
                                                Son of a gun - especially the tiny counter against the wall, not the bar)

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                  Though you are staring at a wall, I kind of like that counter too.

                                                  1. Probably a nostalgia thing, more than anything else, but the Apple Pan.

                                                    Strangely, looking forward to the day I take my 6 year-old there, more than anywhere else, on the Westside..

                                                    42 Replies
                                                    1. re: SoCalMuncher

                                                      I so get that! We are now on 4th generation. The little ones love it.

                                                      1. re: maudies5

                                                        Yeah, but crusty, curdmudgeony Gordie is no longer there.

                                                        It was always a beaut when he'd get a little irritated with our order or check out the sight when he scratched his derriere and then squashed the vanilla ice cream onto a slice of apple pie.

                                                        But having said that, there egg salad is great too, and the coconut cream pie is the best anywhere (well, it's a few notches too sweet, but i still like it) though every time i go there they are not serving it.

                                                        anyone happen to know the days that they serve the CCP ?

                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                          What happened to Gordie?

                                                          That dude was a real oddball.

                                                          I once asked him what the trick was to get the whipped cream so incredibly dense, and he shot me this hairy eyeball the likes of which I've never experiences before (or since), and then he just backs away, silently.

                                                          I still can't stand the fact that Apple Pan charges the prices they do. They're like Disneyland-- upping their prices with such blind regularity, with blatant disregard for reasonableness, that a 2 year absence can yield shockingly higher menu prices.

                                                          Last time I was there (several years ago) two of us ordered burgers, fries, and pie and with tax & tip it got into the $50 territory! Come on, Apple Pan. I can't even begin to imagine where the prices are now.

                                                          Apple Pan is doing a sort of weird Bizarro-World version of what Nancy Silverton does. Silverton likes to create this image of faux down-to-earth homeyness and then rape you with the prices. Apple Pan has an actual, sincere earthiness about it, but they also rape you with their prices. I'm not sure how that business model works, but clearly it does. What other restaurant in LA could get away with that?


                                                          Mr Taster

                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                            surely it's the tiny chapeau'd, ironically face haired crowd who fub'd the apple pan, yes?

                                                            1. re: linus

                                                              No, I don't think so. Apple Pan is must definitely not a member of the FUB™, but they're approaching FUB™ prices.

                                                              As far as I recall (remember, it's been a while), Apple Pan customers represent a wide swath of Angelenos in much the same way that Philippe's does (and in the same way that revamped PE Cole's does not).

                                                              Apple Pan is the aberration-- the old world place churning out humble, local food, enjoyed by a broad LA demographic of customers, that charges unreasonably high prices for simple food.

                                                              Everything is right about this place except the price.

                                                              Mr Taster

                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                i'd bet a greenback dollar the apple pan and phillipe's both serve a higher percentage of tourists than angelenos compared to cole's.

                                                                then again, this is chowhound, not customerhound. here, i like to judge places on the food, not the clientele.

                                                                1. re: linus

                                                                  I'll ask the cops, politicians, city workers, homeless people and Dodgers fans next time I go.

                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                    is there a special room they're in?

                                                                    because when i go, the VAST majority of people i see are...not that.

                                                                    then again, like i said, i don't care who eats in a restaurant. i care about the food.
                                                                    anything else smacks of snobbery.

                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                      which restuarant is this in reference too, Mr Taster ?

                                                                    1. re: jgilbert1000

                                                                      FUB™ stands for Fucking Upmarket Brigade™.

                                                                      Restaurants that are FUB™ members are those that charge inflated (or grossly inflated) prices for what is often pawned off as down-to-earth food. Menu items are often described by trendy and/or meaningless "foodie" buzzwords (natural, locavore, "flavor profile", sustainable, organic). Bonus FUB™ points if your server uses any of these while describing the "restaurant concept" to you. There's always an element of extreme trendiness or some kind of hipster cache associated with it. FUB™ restaurants tend to cater to a relatively narrow demographic of customers.

                                                                      To illustrate by way of example, let's compare and contrast FUB™ to non-FUB™ burgers:

                                                                      Umami Burger
                                                                      Definitely FUB™.
                                                                      - $12-14 for an a la carte hamburger
                                                                      - Celebrity chef starfucking = hipster cred
                                                                      - Chances are extremely high that your Chinese grandma would not eat here.

                                                                      Definitely NOT FUB™
                                                                      - Fair prices that have increased almost exactly on par with inflation
                                                                      - No cult of personality associated with the food
                                                                      - Although there's some hipster cred associated with the cult status and secret menu, In-N-Out's customer base really is the population-at-large, and is therefore too inclusive to be an FUB™

                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                        wouldn't it be simpler to say FUB=restaurants i don't like?

                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                            i'm trying, kevin. seems a legitimate question to me, especially in the light of a lot of opinion expressed as fact.

                                                                          2. re: linus

                                                                            It is possible to enjoy a restaurant that is FUB.

                                                                            1. re: ns1

                                                                              ns1, of course it's possible. My wife and I greatly enjoyed our Father's Office burger a few weeks ago, and they're squarely in the FUB™ camp.

                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                Interesting. I wouldn't classify FO as FUB.

                                                                                Are they still using aged meat in their burgers?

                                                                                I wasn't asking "is it possible" btw, I was stating that FUB =/= "restuarants I don't like"

                                                                                1. re: ns1

                                                                                  i see your point, ns1, but the posted definition has so many undefined terms that seem, to me, to be just opinion, that i was trying to find a shorthand.

                                                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                                                    FO has several FUB™ elements going for it

                                                                                    - Sang Yoon (celebrity chef starfucking)
                                                                                    - High prices for down-to-earth food (i.e. $13 hamburgers, $8 olives, etc.)
                                                                                    - Foodie buzzwords and descriptors speckled throughout the menu
                                                                                    - Lots of obscure beer (I should have added this criteria to the original definition :)
                                                                                    - Relatively narrow customer demographic
                                                                                    - Dive bar that is not a dive bar (Santa Monica location only)

                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                        what does "celebrity chef starfucking" mean?
                                                                                        what does "down to earth food" mean?
                                                                                        what makes their prices "high"? what are their food costs, labour costs, rent, etc.? what is their profit margin?
                                                                                        what are "foodie buzzwords"?
                                                                                        what makes a beer "obscure"?
                                                                                        how would you describe their customer demographic? because i've seen people in there from 21-60+ of all races. and i sure can't tell people's economic station by looking at them.

                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                          That's a pretty low bar for FUB...

                                                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                                                            It's simply a descriptive term for a burgeoning trend that, in my opinion, is worth calling out.

                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster


                                                                                              i've changed my mind. this isn't worth discussing.

                                                                                              praise zoroaster it hasn't caught on.

                                                                                    1. re: ns1

                                                                                      Or a car or a house or a suit or a watch or a haircut or a bicycle or a bed or a...Well, you get the idea.

                                                                          3. re: Mr Taster

                                                                            Ya, it is relatively pricey, but given the real estate, I think of it as a surcharge to have this cool place around.

                                                                            1. re: SoCalMuncher

                                                                              Thought it must be said that they do own the property outright.

                                                                              One tourist patron once asked or probably many have asked: "Has anyone asked to purchase the property?"

                                                                              To which the counterman replied: "Everyday"

                                                                            2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                              not many.

                                                                              i cracked up when you mentioned that you backed away silently.

                                                                              i do like the food here. i think the pies are some of the best in LA. and OC.

                                                                              but the prices are outrageous.

                                                                              you can easily spend 25 bucks a person before tax and tip on just a burger, fries, soda, and pie.

                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                Gordie has retired. but supposedly he visits often to shoot the shit and munch on some burgers courtesy of the house.

                                                                                also, they don't necessarily have to have to increase their prices because the proprietors of the pan, the Gramble, Gambel or is it Grubmle family (/) is their own landlord. so no worries about rising rents, since there is the lack of existence of a L-T relationship.

                                                                                And people love the stuff, me for the most part too, though some have a nostalgic/sentimental connection to the tiny, decrepit shack.

                                                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                  What other restaurant in LA could get away with that?




                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                    Agreed, I like the food at the Apple Pan (only if I get there early or late to avoid the crowds), but the prices are insane. They don't seem high when looking at the individual menu items, but when the bill comes, I seem to be peelilng off $20's like I'm at the craps table at Caesers Palace. I guess I can't blame them because people keep flooding into the place, but now I always think twice before going there because of the high prices.

                                                                                    1. re: jgilbert1000


                                                                                      and once of the reasons is that everything is by the item.

                                                                                      so when you order the burger for about 9 bucks, fries are not even included so it adds up and quickly.

                                                                                      also, these burgers are not that thick either. i can easily plow through a couple of them. also, if you want to grab a double cheeseburer, they will charge the price of a whole new burger.

                                                                                      slightly starnge. but then again, you am i to say anything.

                                                                                      they will be quite successful, even more than successful, even if all of the hounds on these here boards stoop visiting the joint.

                                                                                      monetary and fiscally and profit-wise, they are really onto something.

                                                                                          1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                            Is this closer?


                                                                                            I got 7.60 for a hickory burger w/ cheese, 1.75 for a drink, 2.60 for fries.

                                                                                            That's less than fatburger and less than Langers, so for this hound the prices still seem reasonable?

                                                                                            1. re: ns1

                                                                                              I think that's about right, if memory serves. There are some who would have:

                                                                                              1) Burger
                                                                                              2) Fries
                                                                                              3) Soda
                                                                                              4) Pie
                                                                                              5) Coffee

                                                                                              With 20% tip and tax then you're at $25. I find that kind of a crazy meal but still totally worth it for me. It is expensive for what it is and the service is lunch counter brusque. Still, I love it for a classic, lunch-counter-style, thin-patty burger. Plan Check it ain't.

                                                                                              1. re: ns1

                                                                                                Your Yelp picture is spot on as of two weeks ago, ns1.

                                                                                                spot on.

                                                                                                that is correct unless they have increased prices within the past two weeks.

                                                                                                when you went and ordered your 7.60 burger with the cheese, you went before they increased prices by about 15 to 25 cents.

                                                                                                they like to do that too, which is to say to increase prices by small increments so that you don't notice it. very very very very snicky but maybe a sound move on their part.

                                                                                                but i always notice.

                                                                                            2. re: ns1

                                                                                              not too far out of date.

                                                                                              burgers are $7.10 without cheese.

                                                                                              slices of apple pie are $6 without any of the accoutrments.

                                                                                              and for cream pies $6.25 or $6.50,

                                                                                              i got a menu from about a month and half ago.

                                                                                              os let me check that shit, and get back to you for sure.

                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                        I was watching a rerun of an old Beverly Hills 90210 episode in which the Apple Pan was used as the location for The Peach Pit. Later they upgraded the set.

                                                                                        1. re: mc michael

                                                                                          Well, the Pan was an outright inspiration for another budding young diner in the 1980s named Johnny Rockets.

                                                                                          the whole shtick, save for the singing waitresses, was taken from the Pan.

                                                                                  2. Had lunch at Farmshop Counter today. Always manage to talk to others eating at that counter. Good food, nice people.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: maudies5

                                                                                      i hit up my friend chicken meals there.

                                                                                      but warning, it's super tiny.

                                                                                      maybe only 5 or six seats.

                                                                                    2. What? No love for The Pantry? Breakfast in the wee hours?

                                                                                      18 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                                                                                        Sadly, the Pantry is no better than slophouse cuisine.

                                                                                        1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                                                                                          If I'm in the area at that hour, I'd opt for a Mexi-dog. Other than the size, their ham steak was nothing special and the potatoes were a mess. Frankly, the best thing about The Pantry was the salsa.

                                                                                          1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                                                                                            The Pantry deserves no love in my book.

                                                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                                                              I had a greasy, flavorless gut bomb there ten years ago and have never been able to bring myself to go back.

                                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                can't recall ANY restaurant over which riordan has had any control that serves/served decent food.

                                                                                                riordan= bad food

                                                                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                  i may have liked the HIzzoner's burger at Riordan's Tavern, next door to the pantry. But i'm just not sure.

                                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                    Right. Doesn't he own Gladstones?

                                                                                                    1. re: Baron

                                                                                                      I thought SBE's the slophouse with an exceptional view ?

                                                                                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                          Oh. My bad. I didn't know that.

                                                                                                          So SBE manages most of these joints, but they are not the owners.

                                                                                                          Good to know.

                                                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                                                            riordan brags about his cost-cutting measures, most of which are/would be complete anathema to hounds.

                                                                                                    2. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                      Surely you are forgetting the sublime food at Gladstones?

                                                                                                      1. re: jgilbert1000

                                                                                                        "...the sublime food at Gladstones?"

                                                                                                        Sub (meaning below) lime? Absofuckingtively!

                                                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                          Yeah, buddy !!!!!

                                                                                                          Now that's what I'm talking about.

                                                                                                          Btw, I will say this:

                                                                                                          The view is exceptional, right ????

                                                                                                          And I love that chocolate cake packaged in the swan. I think I like the packaging better than the actual cake though.

                                                                                                        2. re: jgilbert1000

                                                                                                          it must be alzheimers!
                                                                                                          can't remember anything being served at gladstone's that even resembled food.

                                                                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                            Except for the chocolate cake wrapped up in a swan.

                                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                                              The cocktails and free peanuts out on the patio on a warm summer day can't be beat.

                                                                                                              1. re: jgilbert1000

                                                                                                                The food has improved dramatically since SBE took it over. Is it still mediocre? Yes. Is it still overpriced? Yes. Is it still packed every day & night? Yes. Is it still a killer view? Yes.

                                                                                                  1. It was Cora's Coffee Shop when it was a great greasy spoon...of course, Bruce Marder turned it into his own "vision," which means high prices and fancy this & that! blech!

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: lapizzamaven

                                                                                                      it does have high prices, but the food is quite good in my humblest of opinions.

                                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                                        very good place for a first date.

                                                                                                    2. Re: Apple Pan... Gordon has retired, but Hector is still there. Our family loves Hector. The first time I took my 3 year old grandson there, a chef prepared a happy face with a piece of cheese, some olives on a plate to make it look smiley The little boy was thrilled. Got a photo with Hector, who is a legend in our family.The "Pan" is an institution in our family. They can raise the prices now and then but that will not deter our many children and grandchildren and parents and grandparents from loving the "Pan.'

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: maudies5

                                                                                                        And he even sent his kids to Purdue on his Pan's wages plus tips.

                                                                                                        1. re: A5 KOBE

                                                                                                          Didn't even realize you made it to MM, much less liked it.

                                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                            It is pretty outstanding. I am guessing the place is going to be a madhouse in a few more months so I want to get through the menu. So far I have been thoroughly impressed with the curry, beef, and uni udon. This place has taken the spot of my favorite restaurant from Men Oh as my favorite restaurant in J-Town.

                                                                                                            Any other recs? I have had the baby octopus and soft cooked egg tempura.

                                                                                                            1. re: A5 KOBE

                                                                                                              I think you've tried everything that's on my "go to" list at MM.

                                                                                                              I hear, however, that new additions will be arriving (maybe in the fall).

                                                                                                        2. I'll add the counters at Bucato and Chinois to the list.

                                                                                                          1. Settebello in Pasadena- I love sitting at the bar facing the street and people watching with the warm pizza oven on my back.

                                                                                                            Colombo's in ER- Old school bar, with awesome bar paintings. Bartenders that pour a stiff drink with one of the best burgers in the city IMHO.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: MissBubbles

                                                                                                              We love sitting facing the pizza oven at Settebello. Fun watching the workers and chatting with them between pizzas.

                                                                                                              1. re: judybird

                                                                                                                true! I always debate witch way but usually end up with heat at my back. Love that place, it's my go to comfort dinner place.

                                                                                                            2. One of the most comfortable counters is the one at the 24 hour Kettle in
                                                                                                              Manhattan Beach.

                                                                                                              & I love the authentic 1940's feel of the counter at Snug Harbor in Santa Monica.

                                                                                                              1. Plan Check
                                                                                                                milo & olive
                                                                                                                Freddy Smalls
                                                                                                                Blue plate oysterette

                                                                                                                34 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                  Dirty Sexy Olives, where do you go for your martini fix ? I may have missed that before. (of course, beyond your own place, natch).

                                                                                                                  and is it gin (my choice, always) or vodka ? and what type ?

                                                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                    Mastro's makes a great kettle one martini. If it was gin I would go with Bootles.

                                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                      Looks like 'Dirty with extra Olives' to me.. but if you are trying to flirt, go for it!

                                                                                                                      1. re: AAQjr

                                                                                                                        my bad. shit.

                                                                                                                        when the words are strung together, i get dyslexic.

                                                                                                                        like for instance, your name i would have no clue either.

                                                                                                                        but come to think of it I like that name "Dirty Sexy Olives", it sounds like a TV show.

                                                                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                          If you're really dyslexic, that would explain a lot of your posts lol

                                                                                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                            That combined with the not so "smart" phone and a not so smart kevin to boot.

                                                                                                                            But boy can i eat.

                                                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                              Kevin, you're awesome.

                                                                                                                              I'd like to nominate this exchange for "thread of the year"

                                                                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                That would be very cool.

                                                                                                                                Now I'm one step closer to the elusive Pulitzer.

                                                                                                                          2. re: kevin

                                                                                                                            You can call me dirty sexy olives anytime ;D)

                                                                                                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                              Hey now, kevin, you have a new Chow-friend!

                                                                                                                              1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                That's awesome.

                                                                                                                                By new, you must mean my one and only "Chow-friend."

                                                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                  We're your friends! We wouldn't bother ribbing you if we weren't...

                                                                                                                          3. re: kevin

                                                                                                                            I love Freddy Smalls
                                                                                                                            They will make me one with aquavit & it is swoon-worthy
                                                                                                                            DT'S makes a nice stiff one, if small
                                                                                                                            In my nabe pearl dragon makes a tasty one with sake
                                                                                                                            Other than that, it is always vodka ;) grey goose is preferred and stocked at home
                                                                                                                            At new trendy places I like to try other tricks on their bar menu

                                                                                                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                              Sweet !!!!

                                                                                                                              Your the expert on these drinks.

                                                                                                                              Btw, do you ever care for Gibson's ? Or is it just not your thing ? (Personally, I just can't dig on those sweet-and-sour pearl onions).

                                                                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                No I don't like the onions either
                                                                                                                                But I do love a vodka gimlet in the summertime...

                                                                                                                              2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                Have you ever had a "Danish Mary?" Bloody Mary with Acquavit instead of vodka. So good. I used to order it all the time at Scandia.

                                                                                                                                1. re: maudies5

                                                                                                                                  Most places don't have aquavit right (even if the bar has a full-bar) ?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: maudies5

                                                                                                                                    I've never even heard of acquavit!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                      It's a Swedish liquor.

                                                                                                                                      There's even a restaurant by the same name in NYC that rose to fame through superstar chef, Marcus Samuelson.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                        Tastes a bit like licorice. When we went to Scandia, which at the time was the best restaurant in Los Angeles, they would serve the Acquavit in a special glass with a chaser of Carlsberg Beer. Yummmmm.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: maudies5

                                                                                                                                          A little like Pernod ?

                                                                                                                                          Maudie, did you ever happen to hit up the now shuttered Gustaf Anders in Santa Ana for the smorgasbord and unlimited aquavit ?????

                                                                                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                            Yes. I think it was when my son was going to UCSD. I really don't remember the smorgasbord, perhaps because I loathe buffets. We probably ordered a la carte along with a Danish Mary.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                                i dunno, "esque" is kinda sorta stretching it for me, but everyone's tastes are there own.

                                                                                                                                                aquavit is a great tipple, however. the predominant flavour for most of the ones i've had is caraway. never really got a licorice or absinthe like hit from it.

                                                                                                                                                aquavit the restaurant in nyc is pretty cool, although i don't like it now as much as i used to. the first time i was there they had several house-made aquavits. horseradish, cucumber..they were all delicious.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                  popularity sometimes breeds mediocrity. and the esteemed chef, marcus, left the joint to open up red rooster.

                                                                                                                                                  but caraway, damn, good.

                                                                                                                                                  might go well with a pastrami sandwich.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                    I agree that esque might be a stretch, but there are similar flavors at play. Caraway is usually dominant, but fennel and anise are commonly in the mix.

                                                                                                                                                    Point being, if you can't stand fennel or anise, you're likely to still hate aquavit. If you don't mind fennel, but have found absinthe to be cloying in that regard, you might like aquavit. And there are quite a number of different styles out there.

                                                                                                                                                    That said, a "martini" with aquavit is incredible. I'd up the vermouth to at least 2:1 ratio as a starting point if you're playing at home. Orange bitters are nice, cardamom are better if you've got them.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                      My bad. Your are right. The predominant flavor is definitely caraway. Thanks for the clarification Linus.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: maudies5

                                                                                                                                                        Wait just a second, Maudes, are you trying to copy me now too ???

                                                                                                                                                        "My Bad"


                                                                                                                                      2. Barbrix - the back counter overlooking the "kitchen"
                                                                                                                                        Son of a Gun

                                                                                                                                        1. Was, always will be, Hamlet on Sunset. Sadly, it's gone.

                                                                                                                                          Francis would walk me back to my seat at the bar and my Belvedere martini/two olives would be waiting with 6 potstickers.
                                                                                                                                          They'd understand, without a word, why I was there....amazing bartenders with incredible intuition.
                                                                                                                                          There are a couple of others I like but nothing compares to it.

                                                                                                                                          13 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                            I loved the Hamlet bar and bar tenders. Agree it was a unique vibe and place. Who would have thunk it.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Thor123

                                                                                                                                              I could never have imagined it, actually.

                                                                                                                                              It was like a very loyal, good, old friend...
                                                                                                                                              Always there.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                              latina dancer,

                                                                                                                                              i am about to cry. :(

                                                                                                                                              i miss the hamburger hamlet too.

                                                                                                                                              it was a chain, yes to be sure.

                                                                                                                                              but it was like no other chain.

                                                                                                                                              has your main bartender resurfaced anywhere ????

                                                                                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                You know, I don't really know.

                                                                                                                                                More than the bartender(s) was the quiet and dark ambience, the steady clientele, the neighborhood feel, the 'always there when you need us', the dedicated and guaranteed privacy for those who needed it, the understanding of the 'human spirit/need' place.
                                                                                                                                                Everywhere I go, whether it be LA or somewhere else, I compare. I guess that's not fair but it's my experience.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                  for a while, i had similar experiences at the bar at Cafe del Rey.

                                                                                                                                                  when i went there to cry after having to put my dog down, practically every person in the restaurant came by to offer their condolences.

                                                                                                                                                  my meal was comped "by the chef."

                                                                                                                                                  my glass of gin was comped by the manager and was kept full the entire evening. (on that evening there was no attempt to create a martini out of the gin, i was way too depressed for something as formal as that). all the bartenders that evening were amazingly kind to me as i sat at their bar weeping.

                                                                                                                                                  Jan, the hostess, came by to give me a hug.
                                                                                                                                                  the servers from the table section that knew me came by to offer moral support.

                                                                                                                                                  in those days the place was magical.
                                                                                                                                                  every regular was treated like family.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                    WG, please.

                                                                                                                                                    I'm about to cry again.

                                                                                                                                                    Whenever you are ready, drinks are on me.

                                                                                                                                                    Sorry. For starting this thread.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                      Just maybe....

                                                                                                                                                      There are bartenders out there who've got that special 'sixth sense' and know when a person like you needs that 'little extra' with their drink of choice to help them cope with times like you're describing. I swear, when I'm a little down, the drinks are stiffer.
                                                                                                                                                      They're special people with special instinct and I truly believe they exist. Their career of choice (bar tending ) is suited to them. They are there when we need them and they do their job with incredible finesse and total dedication to the customer.
                                                                                                                                                      Regulars like you and I know they're there and wow do they come in handy when the time(s) get low.
                                                                                                                                                      Sorry about your beloved dog.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: latindancer


                                                                                                                                                      I'm going to cry again.

                                                                                                                                                      But it's bittersweet, sentimental tears of days gone by.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                        Some please lend kevin a Zoloft tablet...

                                                                                                                                                    3. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                      Devin the bartender/singer had a baby and was looking to find a bar tending gig near Los Feliz.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                          Oh yes, I'm sure you have a good one to tell :).

                                                                                                                                                          It was just that sort of place.

                                                                                                                                                      1. The Fountain Coffee Room at the Beverly Hills Hotel is a trip back in time to the early 1950s. The food is pretty awesome too with arguably the best waffles, turkey burgers, and fresh-squeezed orange juice in Southern California.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Yeah, if a greasy, dirty counter that serves a bland $8 cheeseburger with the worst-tasting overpriced pie is what you want from a counter, then by all means visit Pie N Burger. <Barf!>

                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bvickers

                                                                                                                                                            Thank you!! But we're not supposed to talk about how filthy the place is........

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                              talk about it all you like. i don't find it filthy, dirty or greasy at all. but that's only when i've been there.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                  I have to say I like both pie n burger and the apple pan.

                                                                                                                                                                  Especially those slices of peach pie topped with fresh whipped cream at pie n burger.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                    Pie N Burger couldn't make a good meringue if they tried (and I am not convinced that they even try anymore).

                                                                                                                                                            2. I have been told that the bar at Salt's Cure is a great place to dine.

                                                                                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Thor123

                                                                                                                                                                I went there once.

                                                                                                                                                                It's definitely a very very very open kitchen. Cooking show close.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, their little bar is right up in the cooks' faces....it's much more interesting to sit there than the rest of the place.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                    The rest of the place is pretty cramped and uncomfortable, which I commented on after eating there. Ciao Bob advised that it is a much better experience at the bar and Bob is seldom wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Thor123

                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks so much - indeed the bar at Salt's Cure is a great experience - but modesty compels me to admit, I'm often wrong and even in a chowhound context.
                                                                                                                                                                      Like all the times I have eaten on Abbott Kinney but not gone to Gjelina.
                                                                                                                                                                      Like the time I forgot to call Coni's and make sure Sergio was there - with my parents visiting from NYC in tow - only to find, not only was Sergio not cooking, but the place was closed at 7 PM on a Friday.
                                                                                                                                                                      Like the time I drove all the way to the SGV and only stopped at one restaurant.
                                                                                                                                                                      And, of course, like the night I stayed home to eat...um ...when the hell was that?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ciao Bob


                                                                                                                                                                        Love this post.

                                                                                                                                                                        I guess even ol' Bob is not infallible.

                                                                                                                                                                        But we really appreciate it your recs.

                                                                                                                                                                        And how could we ever ever ever forget the tip off on Shunji's ????

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                                                                                          "And, of course, like the night I stayed home to eat...um ...when the hell was that?"

                                                                                                                                                                          I can see that post taking shape in my mind over on the "Not About Food" board. "I left my 'What the hell was that' out all night on my kitchen counter. Do you think it's still safe to eat?"

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                            >> "I left my 'What the hell was that' out all night on my kitchen counter. Do you think it's still safe to eat?"

                                                                                                                                                                            That happened to me last night. Got a splitting headache in the middle of preparing shrimp fra diavolo w/ linguine. I left the shrimp out to marinate on the counter and went to lay down. Next thing I know, it's 5am. Oops.... chili flakes and salt will inhibit bacterial growth, right? (And maybe that hefty shot of cognac will further sterilize any bugs...)

                                                                                                                                                                            In any case, we'll find out after lunch today!

                                                                                                                                                                            Stay tuned....

                                                                                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for that reminder :)

                                                                                                                                                                                Well, it's been 30 minutes, and so far so good....

                                                                                                                                                                                ...was that rumble an earthquake?

                                                                                                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                  I thought you would enjoy the comment "not if it wasn,t raped first,"

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                                                                                                    4 hours later, and I'm good to go!

                                                                                                                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Am I alone when I do this? Because for me, sitting alone at a bar, dive or gastropub or what have you is completely uncomfortable, though I'm sure I'm in the minority on this. I also cringe when supermarket checkers comment on my groceries ("eh, making a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich, are we?"). But one place came to mind where I might do it but I've never been there. That Spanish restaurant inside Farmer's Market ("Little Spain" maybe?). Anyway, I guess that might be bearable since everyone's just sitting around there anyway and I could blend in. Anyone been? Any good?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Musso and frank
                                                                                                                                                                      Apple pan
                                                                                                                                                                      Salts cure
                                                                                                                                                                      Bier beisl

                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply