kinjiro
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Kinjiro (Los Angeles, CA)

Kinjiro opened at the end of 2014, replacing the meat-centric b.o.s. concept. I was sad to see b.o.s. go, though Kinjiro has been a strong follow-up effort with a little more comforting and familiar fare. Situated right next door to the ever-popular Sushi Gen, the restaurant has garnered a following of its own for its take on a Japanese izakaya. There is no sushi here, though the menu is pretty varied from raw dishes to steamed, fried, grilled, noodles and more. A large selection of sake is on hand to consume with the food, as well as a small but well-curated beer and wine list.

16 oz. Angus Ribeye and Seared Rougie Foie Gras
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The Arthur J (Manhattan Beach, CA)

The Arthur J is the latest restaurant from chef David LeFevre, who has opened quite the portfolio of concepts in Manhattan Beach. His first two restaurants, M.B. Post and Fishing with Dynamite, have both been big successes – this newest one is a steakhouse.

I stopped in during dineLA restaurant week. The Arthur J offered two appetizers, a steak, a topping, a sauce/butter, a side, and a dessert for $95pp. The options for each course looked pretty great, so it was an opportune time to try the place out.

uni carbonara
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Juniper & Ivy (San Diego, CA)

I’ve been following Richard Blais since seeing him on the fourth season of Top Chef. Given he was based in Atlanta, I figured I wasn’t going to be able to try his food anytime soon. Lo and behold, he moved to San Diego and opened this restaurant in 2014 – Juniper & Ivy. The restaurant’s been highly acclaimed since opening and has been atop my list of restaurants to try in SD. I was finally able to try the restaurant during a quick weekend trip on the first of the year.

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Otium (Los Angeles, CA)

Otium is one of the most anticipated restaurants of the year. Part of the new Broad Museum development, the restaurant is a collaboration between Bill Chait’s Sprout Group and Tim Hollingsworth (ex-chef de cuisine of The French Laundry, Barrel & Ashes).

I’ve been following Hollingsworth since he departed TFL and came to LA. From his first dinner at The Strand House, to opening BBQ restaurant Barrel & Ashes, and to making tacos at the Petty Cash Taqueria soft opening, Hollingsworth has made a number of appearances around town. However, Otium promises to be his flagship restaurant. The restaurant has been open for about a month for lunch service, recently debuting brunch and then dinner service.

pumpkin gelato pie
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Osteria Mozza (Los Angeles, CA) [2]

I’ve been to the Mozzaplex a bunch of times over the years, but this meal was a unique one. It was part of the Chase Private Dinner Series open to Chase Sapphire cardholders. A $175 ticket included everything from food, wine, tax, gratuity and valet, as well as some time with the chef (Nancy Silverton) and sommelier. It was my first time trying a dinner in this series and I wanted to see what it was all about.

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