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.
Alta Adams (2 images)
You’re here for: Probably the best soul food in L.A. It’s a good start to the night.
You’re dining on: A crispy bird that has as much crunch as succulence, and can branch out with items like black eyed pea fritters (which are like savory hush puppies). Chef Keith Corbin got his start with Roy Choi at LocoL, working his way up through the Alta restaurants in San Francisco; as someone from the land where shrimp and grits was founded, I’d say Corbin’s version is a flavorful innovation because it relies more on herbs and quality ingredients than cheese and cream. And with a better bottle of wine than the obligatory sweet tea.
Photo credit: Andrea D’Agosto
Braxton (2 images)
You’re here for: Elevated bar food before a UCLA game, play at the Geffen or movie at the Landmark. This is the latest gastropub from the Artisanal Brewers Collective, which is rolling out lots of these concepts.
You’re dining on: Carnivorous buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches or plant-based cauliflower steaks — both exceptional. Bonus: Their beers are solid and brewed in house.
Photos by: ABC/Broxton
Mama (2 images)
You’re here for: A party. It’s in the Victorian so on the night train.
You’re dining on: Pork belly tacos, shrimp latkes and ceviche; this is your ideal base layer for a night in the Victorian’s various bars. A few mojitos wouldn’t hurt, either.
Photos by: The Victorian Santa Monica
Mr O (2 images)
You’re here for: A one-stop night: the Cali-retro vibe is cozy and happening.
You’re dining on: The lamb ribs are pretty hard to pass up, despite all of the other notables (like that buttery burger). The maize runner, a sweet bourbon cocktail, goes well with both.
conservatory (2 images)
You’re here for: Although it’s night only at the moment, Conservatory’s amazing patio will serve as a A+ brunching/day-drinking haunt.
You’re dining on: Grilled artichokes with those explosively delicious castreveltano olives to share, and chili soaked mussels to defend with your life. G&Ts and a bottle of Vermentino will keep you convivial.
Photos and main image by: Ryan Tanaka