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.
Puntas Carbas (3 images)
You’re here for: Lunch. They have fast-casual counter service and airy seating. Dinner is super convivial and could be your daily driver for fun dates, friends dinners — the gamut. GM Mark Mittlemen comes from the Polo Lounge and has the art of hosting down.
You’re dining on: Lots of fresh seafood from Chef Daniel Snukal, whose stints at Urusawa and LudoBites gave him a deft touch for playing with different flavors. The “al pastor” is made with albacore and topped with a crunchy peppercorn-pineapple salsa and burnt jalapeño powder. The tartare is a chilled layer of beets topped with a smooth guac and some uni — a refreshing starter in summer.
LASA (3 images)
You’re here for: A quiet chef-driven meal.
You’re dining on: LASA is a Filipino joint that’s been around for a minute, but they’re now doing a bestek burger with two sirloin patties that are made richer with heavy seasoning and stewed onions. They serve it with a jus dip, which could be the Spanish influence or a nod to our city’s French Dip (Phillip’s is around the corner). It’s only on the weekends as of now.
Chao Krung (2 images)
You’re here for: Chao Krung claims to be the second Thai restaurant in L.A., and they’ve now reopened in a new location on Fairfax. We like it for a hangover.
You’re dining on: Delicious Thai food, from stir-fried pork belly and broccoli to 13 devastating curry dishes featuring everything from pumpkin to shrimp to duck.
Badmaash (3 images)
You’re here for: Hanging with friends for some very interesting Indian food (and you don’t feel like schlepping to their downtown location).
You’re dining on: Tikka poutine! Their iteration features tandoori chicken tikka and beef gravy; it’s a must order. You have to go with friends because so much is worth ordering and you’ll want to share. Their lamb burger is very simple and very flavorful.
Fellow (3 images)
You’re here for: A healthy lunch.
You’re dining on: Their salads are hearty and interesting thanks to a mix of grains and veggies. They don’t over-dress, relying more on freshness for flavor. Try the kale mixed with apricots and farro, or a bowl of bamboo rice with toasted cashews, edamame and roasted mushrooms for an earthier taste.