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.
native (2 images)
You’re here for: Group date night.
You’re dining on: I always judge a chef by how the handle vegetables, and Nyesha Arrington can make a hard root like a sunchoke taste brilliant. Before you carnivores get your panties in a bunch, know that you’ll want seconds of her lamb meatballs and the duck as well.
Images by Jake Ahles
journeyman (3 images)
You’re here for: Date night — it’s cozy and romantic.
You’re dining on: They bake their bread in cast-iron skillets day of; order it with the house-made butter. The braised chanterelles come in a fragrant pile with parsley, and the grilled daurade is a crispy yet soft fish with a nice pop of umami from the roasted tomatoes.
You’re here for: A cheap, delicious meal.
You’re dining on: There’s a perpetual line outside of Marugame Udon for good reason — the new Japanese import is outrageously delicious and cheap ($5 a bowl). But you’ll rack up that ticket when you start adding all of the various tempuras (chicken, sweet potato, asparagus) that sit in wait as you walk the line from start to register.
Wild and Free
You’re here for: Fast casual lunch or dinner.
You’re dining on: Free-range rotisserie chicken from the Plan Check chef. They offer it a large variety of ways — salads, sandwiches, plated with oven roasted sides. It’s a healthy alternative to pretty much everything.
4550 Van Nuys Blvd. (map)
Images by Andrew Noel and Tegan Butler
the mighty (2 images)
You’re here for: Business lunch, weekend lunch or a quick dinner before a play or show.
You’re dining on: Been to Sycamore Kitchen? This is pretty much that (salads, sandwiches and wildly delicious pastries) with beer, wine and a killer pasta menu.
best girl (2 images)
You’re here for: Business lunch or dinner with friends. Best Girl is in the ACE Hotel, where the restaurant just got a major kick in the pants a la Chef Michael Cimarusti (Providence, Connie & Ted’s).
You’re dining on: Probably the burger of the year. Called the BTU, its beauty lies in its simplicity and the primo meat. But you really can’t go wrong here (hearty pork ragu anyone?). Even the carrots dazzle.
Images by Dylan + Jeni