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.
The beef tartare at Spring, the airy new restaurant from the Church and State crew, doesn’t come with a raw egg. Instead, the egg has been dehydrated and then mixed with truffle salt and grated on top so you get a yolky umami without altering the texture of the meat. Try to get a seat next to the fountain, which really completes the Cote d’Azur vibe. The lounge next door is open Thursday-Saturday and serves some stiff cocktails. Definitely make time for a visit.
257 S Spring St (map)
Shake Shack just opened in West Hollywood! Oh — you haven’t heard? What’s that rock that you live under? Does it serve delicious cheeseburgers? Doubt it. Crawl out from under it and try one of NYC’s finest junk-food burgers, served with crispy, cut-on-the-spot fries and McConnell’s Ice Cream milkshakes. Will we be disbanding from Cassell’s any time soon? Negative. But this is a worthy alternative.
8520 Santa Monica Blvd (map)
You’d think a chef who has studied at El Taller under Ferran Adria and worked with José Andrés at Bazaar would be serving tricked-out molecular viddles. Not so much. The beef cheek with Jerusalem artichokes and the white miso black cod are both pretty to look at and incredibly flavorful and hearty. The crispy potatoes are like elegant tots waiting to be dipped in a chive aioli. And they’re already serving brunch — the chicken and waffles look like a winner.
7661 Melrose (map)
The Elysian in Echo Park is a stunning work of ‘60s modernism that was designed by William Pereira, who also designed LACMA. It was home to the Department of Water and Power for awhile, but is now home to 96 swanky lofts and Winsome, a chic diner from the guys behind The Spare Room. A former Rustic Canyon chef helms the kitchen, with pastries from Republique’s chef. Definitely stop in before or after a Dodgers game. Dinner is coming soon. For now, go for that harissa chicken sandwich.
1115 Sunset Blvd (map)
Bar Vermut at Moruno
We reported last summer on Moruno, the upscale Moroccan-Spanish spot in the former Short Order digs at the Original Farmers Market. They just opened a space upstairs — Bar Vermut — which focuses on (surprise!) vermouth. Be prepared to have your eyes and ‘buds opened to the spirit, which pairs exceptionally well with the spiced lamb and buttery olives.
6333 W 3rd St (map)