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.
Montage Beverly Hills
225 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Dining date: 6/11/16
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.
Most of the front and back of house Scarpetta staff has stayed on, as has executive chef Freddy Vargas. The restaurant is dinner-only right now, but will be expanding to all day service soon.
649 Jackson St
San Francisco, CA 94133
Dining date: 6/5/16
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.
319 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 6/4/2016
I first dined at Simbal in February but recently returned for this second visit. Coincidentally, the restaurant celebrated its first anniversary this past week. The restaurant is still going strong serving up its modern southeast Asian-inspired cuisine.
We got seats at the kitchen counter again providing a view of the action. In terms of ordering, we opted to order entirely different things this time just to try more of the menu.
9041 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Dining date: 5/29/16
It’s been a little while since I’ve visited chef Kris Yenbamroong’s Night + Market. It’s still going strong – a third location is anticipated for Venice later this month. 2016 has been a big year for Yenbamroong after being named a semifinalist for a James Beard award (Best Chef: West) and named one of the best new chefs by Food & Wine.
Night + Market was the choice for a dinner to catch up with old friends. It would be the first time trying the restaurant for them.
624 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Dining date: 5/15/16
It’s been over a year since I last visited Republique; I’ve been twice for dinner, but this was the first time for brunch. I’ve heard great things about brunch here, the combination of Walter Manzke’s cooking and Margherita Manzke’s pastry program.
Brunch service is very different from dinner with a focus on efficiency – no reservations are taken and there is no table service. Rather, you place your order at the front, grab a number, find a seat and wait for your food to be brought to you. It’s a very popular brunch, indicated by the lengthy line at 10:30 on a Sunday. It moved pretty consistently and we were able to place our orders in about 30 minutes.