If you have an expense account or work in “The Industry” or are just an LA gold digger, then you’ve probably been to a lot of these places already. If not, here’s a list of places to suggest to your boss on Administrative Assistant Appreciation Day. Try and look sort of nice, OK?
is back on, they could shoot lots of scenes at Bastide, a very-LA-looking French joint with tiny servings on huge plates. But! Truffle butter. Eight-course meals are $125 (yes, that’s a deal, jackass). A chef’s table with one-way glass on the wall lets you spy on the kitchen without them seeing you. You could basically fuck on the table and they wouldn’t even know it. 8475 Melrose Place, W. Hollywood, 323-651-5950.
This is your typical French brasserie that you find so often in NYC, specials on a blackboard, insanely loud, and awesome steak tartare. The service is nonexistent and one of the reasons it’s so loud is because egotistical actors, producers, and directors like to raise their voices so they can let everyone know how much their most recent film is pulling in. 8479 Melrose Ave., W. Hollywood, 323-782-1104.
Wolfgang Puck has sold his name out so hard the first thing that comes to mind when you think of him is canned soup. But hey, the man got to where he is for a reason—because he knows how to cook and create an awesome menu. Cut is the usual Puck fusion-type place, except it’s a steakhouse and it
. You can get wagyu, Kobe, and bone marrow—the true sign of a good steak house (the marrow, that is). They even serve turbot, which gets me excited because I like thinking about Gordon Ramsey yelling, “Donkey, where’s the TURBOT?!?” 9500 Wilshire Blvd., inside the Regent Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills, 310-276-8500.
THE FOUNDRY ON MELROSE
Hey old-school LAers, remember Café Luna from back in the day when the Valley gutter punks lined the street asking for change and then you’d see them at Helter Skelter later? The Foundry now occupies that space, and their good, basic menu and nice waitstaff who actually talk to you about the food (unheard of in LA, where most waiters are passing time between their acting jobs) really help justify the insane prices for gnocci, tuna carpaccio, and strawberry-rhubarb tarts. This place kind of flies under the radar because some weirdos think this is a “seedy part of Melrose.” Huh? 7465 Melrose Ave., W. Hollywood, 323-651-0915.
Sometimes restaurants think that just plopping down crème fraîche instead of sour cream and adding a little half-assed lobster to eggs make their brunch upscale and worthy of the $20 price tag. Not Jar—’cause even though they do those things, the crème fraîche is almost an afterthought to eggs you could never replicate at home and the lobster comes in shamelessly large chunks. Plus, they have this pot-roast hash that’s thick, juicy beef topped off with a couple of eggs and coffee gravy. 8225 Beverly Blvd., W. Hollywood, 323-655-6566.
At ten years old, Lucques feels like it’s been around forever—ten years is quite the lifespan for an LA restaurant, and it’s lasted because Lucques is very, very good. Pork belly, short ribs,
ham, figs, plums, people feeding you grapes as you lounge, women in togas fanning you. No, not really, but almost. 8474 Melrose Ave., W. Hollywood, 323-655-6277.
If you’re in the mood for chops the size of your head, huge-ass martinis that’ll knock even hardened drinkers on their asses, and an iceberg-lettuce salad
than your head, head over to Mastro’s. 246 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-888-8782.
In the 90s, record-company execs with massive T&Es (that’s “travel and expenses,” not “tits and excuses”) used to take bands they wanted to sign here. Any band worth their salt could probably get three Matsuhisa meals out of their potential labels. Excellent, 90s-style sushi—meaning fish flown over from Japan and some sort of fusion involved. Needless to say, Matushisa is still a standby when labels think bands will sell under a million records; otherwise, they take them to Urasawa. 129 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-659-9639.
Whenever we think of “chowdah,” we think of those stiff-jawed country-club New Englanders. If they lived on the West Coast and said, “Like, chowederrrr,” Providence is a place they’d definitely enjoy. The decor is, in typical LA fashion, totally ridiculous (Wait, what? Barnacles on the walls? Yeah, we get it, you serve fish…) but ignore that and some of the stupid food presentations and go for the foam and seared lobster with jalapeños and blood oranges. Plus, chef Michael Cimarusti actually beat Morimoto on
! 5955 Melrose Ave., Mid-Wilshire, 323-460-4170.
We had three servers for our table of two. At least, we think so. Every time we turned around, water glasses were mysteriously filled, silverware magically replaced, and dishes just appeared out of nowhere. The servers were so completely unobtrusive, it was like we were being served by the Cheshire cat at a French-tasting-menu party. When asked about wine, the sommelier just smiled enigmatically and all of a sudden we had these glasses of amber liquid that we actually think was distilled opium. 401 N. La Cienega Blvd., W. Hollywood, 310-659-7708.
Urasawa has been called one of the best sushi experiences in all of LA County. The two-star
chef-owner Hiroyuki Urasawa (former sous-chef for Masa Takeyama of NYC’s insane Masa) is so humble and down-to-earth, you almost forget you’re going to be paying about $275 per person. But listen: It’s a TWENTY-NINE-course meal, involving gold flakes (so you can truly shit gold) and whatever happens to be fresh and seasonal—the squid is practically still moving. With only about ten seats in the whole place and eight servers, you can do shots of sake with Hiro-san and tell him stories about your stupid Japanese-lettering tattoo. Hiro-san will just smile benignly and tell you it doesn’t mean “good luck,” like you think but rather “stupid asshole who happens to be getting the sushi of his life.” 218 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-247-8939.