Barrel & Ashes
11801 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604
Dining date: 11/22/14
One of the hottest restaurants in LA right now has to be this place, Barrel & Ashes. It’s the latest from prolific restaurateur Bill Chait, teaming up this time with two Thomas Keller vets Tim Hollingsworth (The French Laundry) and Rory Herrmann (Bouchon). Add barman Julian Cox and I’d say this is one of the highest-powered restaurant teams LA’s seen in some time. While the Hollingsworth/Herrmann pedigree comes from some of the fanciest of foods, Barrel & Ashes focuses in on a rather ‘simple’ food – BBQ. They’ve done extensive travel and eating and bring a mix of regional Southern specialties to Studio City.
The menu hones in on meat sold by the weight and ribs by the rack or half-rack. A handful of small plates and sides round out the savory part of the menu. On this evening, we tried a couple of the small plates and tried as many of the meats we could in one sitting.
718 N Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Dining date: 10/13/14
Petit Trois is Ludo Lefebvre’s latest venture, opened a few months ago as the more casual sister restaurant to the popular Trois Mec. It’s literally next door and shares a wall; I believe the kitchens/pantry are even connected. Petit Trois serves classic French bistro fare. No-tickets, no-reservations. As the name suggests, it’s a very cosy restaurant with a handful of counter seats around the small kitchen and some additional back counter seats; there are no tables.
We came early for Monday lunch service and grabbed two seats at the kitchen counter with a front-row view of the action. It’s amazing how efficiently the kitchen works in such tight quarters.
2121 7th Pl.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Dining date: 6/21/14, 8/1/14 and 10/10/14
Bestia continues to be one of my favorite restaurants in the city. The food’s as good as ever and the restaurant continues to pack the house nightly. I’ve visited regularly, once every month and a half or so; this post recaps three of my most recent meals.
521 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Dining date: 10/2/14
I first dined at Q two months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. This return visit came quicker than expected as Q was the last-minute choice for a special occasion meal in the downtown area.
Sushi Zo still gets the majority of buzz of high-end downtown sushi options, though Q is right up there and deserves strong consideration. The quality of the fish is superb and the precision is exacting, plus I think Q has one of the most beautiful sushi bars in town (I love the lightbulbs). It’s very quiet and rather tranquil, transporting one away from the busy downtown streets just outside the doors.
424 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 9/13/14
A couple of weeks ago, b.o.s. announced it would close its doors on Sept. 27th. I was very disappointed to hear the news, but knew it wasn’t exactly packing the tables despite mostly positive reviews. Its nose-to-tail concept seemed like it could be a good fit in the area, but I’m not sure it ever caught on with the local crowd. Its closure just seems way too soon. I visited almost a year ago, soon after the restaurant opened, and enjoyed my meal there. I wanted to stop in at least one more time to see what’s changed.
During my first visit, we dined at the omakase-only bar. On this subsequent one, we sat in the dining room and had the full a la carte menu to choose from. To me, the menu is just as interesting as before with a mix of “exotic” like tongue, heart, brain, and intestines but also some more typical beefy items like oxtails, short ribs, and a handful of steak options.
Pine & Crane
1521 Griffith Park Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Dining date: 9/6/14
Pine & Crane opened earlier this year, bringing Taiwanese food to the Silver Lake neighborhood. Asian food, particularly Chinese or Taiwanese, is always looked upon skeptically outside of the SGV, but Pine & Crane has opened to strong praise early on. The family’s background is in the food business; the Pine & Crane name is taken from a noodle factory they operated in China while all produce is sourced from a family farm near Bakersfield. Sounds like the right ingredients for a successful restaurant.
The restaurant has been very popular and can get pretty crowded in the evenings (evident in the picture below). Food is ordered at the register, you take a number, find a seat, and the food comes straight to your table. The menu is fairly focused, with a handful of small plates (dumplings, scallion pancakes, beef rolls), noodle dishes (both soupy and saucy), and rice dishes.