The 5 Best Restaurants That Opened in LA This September
Garlic-y Brussels sprouts. Rice bowls. A mean steak. Let’s review.
To keep tabs on every L.A. restaurant and bar opening is folly. But to keep tabs on the most worthy? Yeoman’s work, and we’re proud to do it. Thus we present Table Stakes, a monthly rundown of the five (or so) must-know spots that have swung wide their doors in the past thirty (or so). Let’s eat.
Picture yourself in an art-school diorama. There are rafters exposed in an unfinished way that leads halfway into a room, where a plastered ceiling takes over. There’s a molded section for a chandelier, but it’s instead illuminated by a ring of neon light. The paintings look like they were picked up from thrift stores. They’re beside contemporary pieces that were probably purchased from a gallery in Culver City.
Diners sit at simple walnut tables and eat gorgeous cuts of steak and hamachi collar from scalloped white plates with a little rose embossed at the top. You hear from someone that this space used to be a misceláneas with mean carnitas.
That’s the scene at American Beauty, a steakhouse on Rose Avenue. It quietly opened over the past month, first with a window hawking a $4.00 smashburger, then with the steakhouse and an open-air bar.
It’s one of the five restaurants you’ll find in this edition of Table Stakes. Also on tap: a fast-casual spot serving Filipino rice bowls, a Chinese fusion spot for theater night, another Chinese spot (this one, a classic) and the return of one of the best patios on the Westside.
You’re here because: You want a steak. You want a burger. You want a drink with a friend at a sexy bar. You want a convivial dinner with an interesting ambience. You want it all, and you’ll get it.
You’re dining on: Red meat. The grass fed NY Strip has more fatty flavor than any grass fed steak we’ve tried, yet it’s still lean. The prime rib has been dry-aged for 15 days, a perfect amount of time to infuse the meat with a funk that doesn’t overpower the cut. The sleeper dish on the menu is the maitake mushrooms, which arrive piled on onions whipped to a buttery potato consistency.
Abernathy + Mullin Wine Bar
You’re here because: Theater nights are complicated by traffic. You always arrive hungry and thirsty, but with little time to get properly sated. These two new spots at the Grand Music Complex solve this riddle. Abernathy is a fancy sit-down where the food comes out minutes after you order it, and Mullin Wine Bar is a full bar with Go Get Em Tiger coffee and food-truck grub.
You’re dining on: We’ll focus on Abernathy, here. It’s a Chinese fusion restaurant, where Asian flavors and techniques are applied to local ingredients. Familiar flavors like hot and sour soup form the base of a sablefish dish with sauteed kale. Potstickers have a sweet sauce a la pomegranate. Don’t sleep on the mochi donuts — bet you can’t tell they’re gluten free. Make the rez about an hour before the show so you can squeeze in a post-prandial drink at Mullin.
You’re here because: You want to catch up with a close friend on a spacious yet cozy patio. Fia is in the old Wilshire space. It’s still big with a lot to offer, but it feels more intimate now. Definitely aim for sitting on the patio. They also have a private dining room that would be ideal for your next event. The waiters here are knowledgeable and friendly.
You’re dining on: A lot of seafood. They say it’s Amalfi-style, but it has the sort of playfulness of a Vegas menu, only with high-quality ingredients. The oysters are straightforward, but the salmon tartare is served in a crispy cone with avocado mousse. The chicken liver is sandwiched between a sweet almond macaroon and the Brussels sprouts have garlic three ways — whipped, crisped and oiled. You can dishes to share or order for yourself.
Spoon & Pork
You’re here because: You want a delicious meal at a great price, and you want an alcoholic beverage with it. Silverlake is flush with great value-driven restaurants like Spoon & Pork (if only the Westside would catch up!).
You’re dining on: Tough call. If you’re looking for something healthy, then the coco jack is an interesting vegan bowl of rice with a slightly pungent fermented black bean that’s cut by the sweetness of coconut milk. But then there’s the patita, a lamb shank that’s been slow-cooked and then deep-fried before it’s coated in a chili garlic sauce. It’s flavor is neatly tamed by cucumbers and fluffy white rice.
The Formosa Café
You’re here because: You want to walk back in time. The 1933Group (Highland Park Bowl, Thirsty Crow) recently revamped this historic Hollywood restaurant, returning it to its ’40s glory with lots of detailed touches. Each nook and cranny has something to offer; hit the bar for first-date-drinks or a big, loud dinner with friends.
You’re dining on: Strong cocktails and American-ized Chinese food. Think Panda Express from a wildly talented chef with meticulously sourced ingredients: egg rolls, orange chicken, fried rice. They also offer creamy dan dan noodles and even vegan dishes.