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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Georgie opened just a couple of weeks ago, a brand new concept at the Montage Beverly Hills. It takes the place of Scarpetta, and they’ve swapped one TV chef out for another in bringing Geoffrey Zakarian to prepare his modern American cuisine. This is Zakarian’s first west coast venture after opening up several restaurants in the northeast.
I’ve been to Great Eastern countless times. It’s been a staple for family gatherings on my dad’s side for decades, serving up banquet-style Chinese food. I don’t come here nearly as often since I’m no longer local, but squeezed in a meal on a recent trip.
The restaurant is best known for an impromptu takeout order by Barack Obama in 2012, which reliably brings Chinatown tourists through these doors. I’d like to think the food continues to draw locals into the restaurant too, though.