Because every Angeleno loves to eat, even if he has to valet, we bring you Table Stakes: a series that answers man’s eternally recurring question (“Uh, what’s new?”), and recurs once every lunar cycle or so. Bon appétit.
You’re here for: A foodie experience. You’ve probably seen the construction fence around the cubist brown building on Abbot Kinney. That’s MTN (pronounced mountain), the new izakaya-style restaurant by Travis Lett, the man behind Gjusta and Gjelina. It’s been years in the making, and worth the very long wait you’ll have to endure for a table.
You’re dining on: Buttery, umami-laden ramen loaded with soft pork belly and house-pulled noodles. A mackerel that’s both crispy and succulent. And the best okra you’ve probably ever had.
You’re here for: Lunch. If you have kids, bring them here when you’re downtown.
You’re dining on: Surprisingly delicious versions of that childhood classic, the PB&J. Conceived by the guy behind Umami, this spot is using homemade peanut and almond butters with fresh apple, fig and strawberry jams. The classic sandwiches are great. But the Italian, which uses pine nut butter, arugula and mozzarella, will make you rethink nut butters. They press the sandwiches with a hand-cranked device that removes the crusts, and then they toast it to perfection.
The Proud Bird
You’re here for: A break from LAX
You’re dining on: The classic restaurant has a new stall from the guys behind Bludso’s BBQ, so there are now ribs and some very tasty fried chickens. Grab a beer and watch the planes land.
You’re here for: Couples dinner. It’s hidden in the back of Melrose Umbrella Club, so you have a spot for drinks after. You’ll be eating outside, so tell the old lady to dress accordingly.
You’re dining on: Southern chefs have been moving toward a more sophisticated cuisine for a long time, so it’s nice to see someone bring the trend to L.A. Yeah, the okra is fried, but it comes with violet mustard. And the pulled pork is served over agnolotti.
You’re here for: Precursor to a big, boozy night. One of the best patio spaces in Venice just got a major tune-up.
You’re dining on: A crisp, roasted cauliflower in tahini, followed by a succulent lamb and lots of effervescent cocktails.