By now you’ve probably heard of Littlefork, the months-old restaurant from A-Frame owner David Reiss and former Fraiche chef Jason Travi. But in case you haven’t, know that with its inventive and well-executed Atlantic Northeast menu that it’s one of the most exciting restaurants to hit Hollywood in a long time. And now Littlefork, which also has an outstanding cocktail menu from Chicago import Dino Balocchi, has just started offering everyone’s favorite meal — brunch.
Posts Tagged ‘dessert’
There’s one more week left for Dine L.A. Restaurant Week, and if you’re going to go to one place, I suggest you try GORGE, a cozy house-made charcuterie and wine bar from Top Chef alumna Elia Aboumrad and pastry chef Uyen Nguyen (Le Cirque, Craftsteak, Restaurant Guy Savoy). GORGE is located on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood just steps away from old-school rock hangouts the Roxy and Rainbow Room. Not exactly where one might expect to find such fine food, so all the more reason to patronize the place!
Since Executive Chef Roger Hayot, formerly of Authentic Café on Beverly Boulevard, joined Marina del Rey’s J. Nichols Kitchen this summer, he has turned up the sophistication factor at the neighborhood diner, incorporating more seasonal, locally sourced ingredients to create a new contemporary comfort food menu.
I had never been to the previous incarnation, so I didn’t have anything to compare it to. But no matter — the new version stands on its own. There’s a little bit of everything on the menu, so if you can’t decide what to have for dinner, then J. Nichols might be the place for you.
Start with the Black Pepper Wings with ginger soy glaze, garlic and black pepper, or get The Del Rey salad, a hearty mix of chicken, kale, mixed greens, pink lady apples, applewood bacon, aged white cheddar, nuts, dried cranberries, egg and a sweet mustard vinaigrette.
The BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich (pictured above), which comes topped with slaw and crispy onions on a pretzel bun, is one of the best I’ve ever had (I’m such a sucker for pretzel buns). The Creamy Chipotle Rigatoni with chicken, mushrooms, corn, cherry tomatoes and a chipotle cream sauce sounds strange but ultimately works. And for dessert, try the bread pudding and the key lime pie — both are made for sharing.
The restaurant also recently introduced Sausage Sundays. From 5 p.m. to close every Sunday night, Chef Hayot will be offering a variety of sausage specialties made in-house – all for under $10 each. The menu will rotate, but expect to see items such as a chicken sausage sandwich with apples, caramelized onions and fried sage; pork and Mexican chorizo posole with corn tortillas; and Asian duck sausage with fried jasmine rice. Pair one of those with a $4 glass of beer, a selection of three rotating brews that might include Scrimshaw Pilsner, Dead Guy Ale or West Coast IPA. Or go on a Tuesday for Pizza & Beer Night, when you’ll get any pizza, salad and two draft beers for $32.
See more photos from J. Nichols Kitchen:
Note: This meal was hosted.
If you’re looking for an upscale dining experience but also want comfort food, then Towne Food & Drink in downtown Los Angeles is your place.
Helmed by Executive Chef Ryan Morrison, who spent time with Chef Scott Conant’s hospitality group, including as chef de cuisine at Scarpetta Beverly Hills, and consulting chef Eric Hara (Citronelle, davidburke & donatella, Chez Josephine, Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel), Towne is a delightful mix of high and low. Its New American menu features a variety of internationally influenced flavors prepared in a contemporary style. This philosophy extends to the dessert and cocktail menus, which are filled with updated versions of old favorites.
Want to have a nice meal with good food and drink but don’t want to deal with having to dress up? Then Simmzy’s is your place.
Founded by brothers Mike Simms, who also owns Tin Roof Bistro and M.B. Post, and Chris Simms, owner of Lazy Dog Cafe, Simmzy’s is a casual pub with an upscale menu — a gastropub, if you will. Chef Anne Conness works it out with creative (but not too creative as to be off-putting) dishes, such as the Bacon & Date Mascarpone Pizza and the addictive Blue Cheese Haystack (shoestring fries smothered in blue cheese dressing, garlic and spicy sauce).
To celebrate our first wedding anniversary, Rory and I took a weekend trip down to La Jolla, just north of downtown San Diego. La Jolla, an affluent beach community that’s home to UC San Diego, is just a couple hours’ drive from Los Angeles, so it’s easy to either make a day trip or weekend out of a visit there.
Beverly Hills’ Enoteca Drago, one in Chef Celestino Drago’s stable of Italian eateries, has a new chef de cuisine on board. Garrett Mukogawa, a Drago protégé, has designed a new menu that incorporates Asian flavors and some of classics from the now-shuttered Drago Santa Monica.
Where Mukogawa shines is in the small plates, including the burrata salad, made with mozzarella, green lentil, roasted beets and asparagus, and the lamb belly with honey comb, goat cheese espuma and pickled fennel. An off-menu item of sweet corn agnolotti in brown butter and sage was divine.
When it comes to the mains, stick with the pizza. The Bomba, an enclosed puffy tent of mozzarella, caramelized onions and black truffles, is delicious in its simplicity.
But if you’re going to visit Enoteca Drago, you need to have dessert. Pastry Chef Mario Ortiz works wonders in all mediums, from the chocolate hazelnut crunch bar with the inventive orange black pepper sorbet and marmalade to the butterscotch espresso pudding with rosemary tuile and fleur de sel. But the strawberry short cake, served with Chambord gelato and a sweet balsamic reduction, is a revelation; I’ve never had a flakier, more satisfying biscuit with this dessert.
See more photos from Enoteca Drago:
Note: This meal was hosted.
Growing vegan restaurant chain Veggie Grill continues to surprise me. The first time I ate there, I was skeptical of its food because I’m not a big fan of faux meats, but Veggie Grill’s menu manages to please crunchy granola vegans without alienating meat eaters. Now the restaurant has added tasty new items to its menu, including hearty dinner plates and a crab cake sandwich — yes, seafood!
Is third time the charm for Ben Bailly? Bailly recently joined Cliff’s Edge as executive chef, where he was brought on to revamp the menu after stints at Petrossian and Fraiche Culver City. Cliff’s Edge is Bailly’s third restaurant since arriving in Los Angeles, and his food complements the Sliver Lake location nicely. The menu is elevated but not stuffy, which seems to speak well to the discerning hipster neighborhood.
During a recent visit to Cliff’s Edge, I enjoyed both the cocktails and the food. I really liked the Bitter Pill (Zaya 12 year rum, Fernet Branca, brown sugar, fresh lime juice, egg whites, orange oils), which had great depth of flavor. The Gold Rush (Buffalo Trace bourbon, honey syrup, fresh lemon juice, orange oils) and Question Mark (Bols Genever gin, lavender simple syrup, fresh grapefruit and lemon juice, Peychauds bitters, flamed grapefruit oils) were also winners, mostly because I love the bourbon-citrus combo as well as lavender in general.
As for the food, the Whipped Ricotta with lavender (again!), honey and olive oil is a must to start. It’s fluffy, creamy and fragrant. The Crispy Polenta served with mushrooms, egg, and Pecorino Romano cheese, as well as the Seared Scallops with lebne yogurt cheese, cauliflower, Vadouvan spice and salsa verde, are solid savory options.
The Skate Wing served with sunchokes, brown butter, pine nuts, lemon and capers was hands-down my favorite main dish. It was reminiscent of a fish and sunchoke dish that Bailly served at Fraiche that I also enjoyed. The Lamb Cheeks with celery root purée, rapini and hazelnut gremolata is another good choice.
The Chocolate Torta is what you should order for dessert. At once light, smooth and decadent, this cake is one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve had in a while. I don’t normally order the chocolate cake at restaurants, but I would definitely do it here.
Note: This meal was hosted.
Remember Les Deux, that bastion of douchey Hollywood clubbery? Now it’s a sophisticated restaurant, Sadie, with a proper food and drink menu designed by Executive Chef Dave Schmit and Director of Spirits Giovanni Martinez. After its brief stint as gastropub Les Deux Estate, which was respectable, Sadie feels like what this space always should have been: elegant but laid back, a respite from the craziness of Hollywood.
I visited Sadie recently, and I was overall very pleased with my meal. My dining companions and I started with a bevy of cocktails from Martinez, whom I highly respect as a mixologist. My favorites were the Pontchartrain (bourbon, 10 year tawny port, house-made grenadine, fresh lemon juice, absinthe rinse), La China (lychee black tea-infused Avion Silver Tequila, fresh lime juice, organic agave syrup, Velvet Falernum) and Kentucky Ninja (Japanese single malt whisky, bourbon, fresh lemon juice, lavender-infused wild honey, Peychaud’s bitters rinse). Even the drinks that I didn’t like, such as the White Monk (white pepper- and cardamom-infused Dolin Blanc Vermouth, Silver tequila, Castilian bitters, Benedictine rinse), had a delicate balance to them that I appreciated. For the record, my friends really liked the drinks that I didn’t, and I respect their opinions, so I can safely say that these differences were a matter of taste and not poor execution.
As for the food, the mains were standouts. I ordered the Roast Jidori Chicken Breast, which came with spaetzle, Brussels sprouts and heirloom cherry tomatoes served in mustard-y pan sauce, that was extremely satisfying. I would order it again in a heartbeat. I also had tastes of the Fresh Spinach Pasta with mushroom ragout, tomatoes and parmesan, as well as the All-Natural Scottish Salmon served with broccolini, leeks, peas and herb butter. Both dishes were tasty. Where our dinner fell short was with the flatbreads, whose toppings were fine but whose bread was over cooked. The salads were rather unremarkable, especially the Gem Salad. However, the Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream Sandwich that we had for dessert was delicious, and I don’t even like PBJ!
Sadie is a great addition to Hollywood. Good food, good drink and good atmosphere. Make sure to sit on the back semi-enclosed patio — it’s gorgeous.
Note: This meal was hosted.