111 N Los Robles Ave
Pasadena, CA 91101
Dining date: 8/28/16 and 9/1/16
Alexander’s Steakhouse opened in Pasadena last year, the first SoCal location for the Bay Area-based chain. It’s a highly regarded steakhouse; the original Cupertino location garnered a Michelin star for three years (2011-2013). I’ve been to the San Francisco location once to celebrate a birthday, but this would be my first two visits to the Pasadena location.
The concept is a traditional steakhouse with a lot of Japanese influences. There’s plenty of beef options, domestic and international, with a full suite of appetizers, side dishes and other steak accompaniments. Dishes like an uni tamago and udon mac and cheese really show off the Japanese flair.
815 S Hill St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Dining date: 7/14/16
Shibumi opened in June on a quiet block of downtown LA. It’s pretty unassuming from the outside; I walked right past it at first, but it’s a gorgeous spot once you walk in through the door. The restaurant is long and narrow with a very long bar on the left side (apparently 400 year old wood). Much of the action is here, while tables make up the other side of the restaurant for a more intimate setting.
David Schlosser is the chef, a man who has spent time at a number of notable restaurants including Urasawa in LA and Kikunoi Honten, a three-star kaiseki restaurant in Kyoto. Here, Schlosser brings his experience to Kappo-style dining. There is no sushi on the short menu (although there’s definitely raw fish), focused on raw/cold plates and a section featuring hot fried and grilled foods. Everything is served in small plates meant to be shared. We ordered a bunch of things off the menu, trying quite a bit of what was on there.
2490 N Fletcher Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Dining date: 7/24/16
Salazar is the latest concept from Esdras Ochoa of Mexicali Taco with business partner Billy Silverman. Located in the Frogtown neighborhood just north of downtown, it’s been a big hit since opening in May.
The concept, to me, is sort of a taqueria-steakhouse mash-up. A variety of tacos are available, similar in style to the ones at Mexicali (of course), as well as large format proteins eaten with tortillas. Appetizers and sides round out the food portion of the menu. A full bar is also available with cocktails and spiked agua frescas. With a party of seven, we were able to try quite a bit of the menu during this visit.
257 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 7/9/16
Spring opened at the corner of Third and Spring in February after a long, long, wait. The restaurant is from the team behind the Arts District’s Church & State with a fairly similar concept. Whereas Church & State is traditional French bistro, Spring expands its scope to a little more of the Mediterranean.
The space is beautiful essentially a large open atrium with a tree at its center. Plenty of natural light shines through while an expansive open kitchen greets patrons as they walk in.
9200 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Dining date: 7/11/16
Boa Steakhouse is part of the Innovative Dining Group, the Socal-based group that includes concepts like Sushi Roku and Katana. There’s three locations of Boa including this one in West Hollywood, Santa Monica and, of all places, Abu Dhabi. I’ve been to this location of Boa once before for a birthday party and had a good meal. Since it was a large party during that visit, everyone had to order off a set menu. This time, we had free reign to order whatever we wanted off the full menu.
Most of the restaurant’s seating is out on its beautiful and expansive patio. It’s a really nice setting on warm evening.
5722 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Dining date: 7/6/16
Chef Kevin Meehan has been in the Los Angeles dining scene for quite a while, most recently at Patina, Cafe Pinot, and his roving underground dining concept Kali Dining. After developing his version of Californian cuisine for a few years, Kali Restaurant opened last year. Here, Meehan partners up with friend Drew Langley, who came over from Providence where he was wine director.