Simbal (Los Angeles, CA)

Simbal
319 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 2/13/16

Simbal

Little Tokyo’s Simbal opened in April and it’s been on my radar ever since. Reviews have been a little mixed so far, but it was time to give the restaurant a try. The food is described as a modern, refined take on southeast Asian with a variety of small plates all meant to be shared.

The restaurant is a lot larger than I expected, centered around an open kitchen surrounded by front-row seats at the counter. We lucked out and got a couple of seats in the middle of the action.

Kitchen

Kitchen

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Kinjiro (Los Angeles, CA)

Kinjiro
424 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 11/23/14 and 1/30/16

Kinjiro

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.

I’ve dined at Kinjiro a number of times since opening, but this post captures just a couple of those meals.

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b.o.s. (Los Angeles, CA) [2]

b.o.s.
424 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 9/13/14

bos

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.

chef

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.

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The Spice Table (Los Angeles, CA) [2]

The Spice Table
114 S Central Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 12/14/13

exterior

The Spice Table opened about two and a half years ago and quickly made its mark on the city being named one of the city’s best new restaurants by a handful of publications. Its most notable accolade was when chef Bryant Ng was named a 2012 Best New Chef by Food & Wine, propelling him and the restaurant into national awareness. While the restaurant still feels relatively new, it will be meeting a sad and unique demise at the end of the year to pave the way for a new metro station.

I revisited the restaurant one last time to sample Ng’s fiery Southeast Asian flavors. Influences from all around Asia can be found on The Spice Table’s menu, as well as a small but well-curated craft beer list (and wines!) featuring local brewers.

interior

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b.o.s. (Los Angeles, CA)

b.o.s.
424 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 11/12/13

bos exterior

b.o.s. is one of the newest restaurants to open in the Little Tokyo area. Inside the Honda Plaza next to the ever-popular Sushi Gen (and across the way from Men Oh Tokushima), the restaurant has a rather unique focus: beef nose-to-tail dining. Mainstream diners have become more engaged in this concept and I think Little Tokyo is an ideal location for a somewhat upscale opening of this type.

bos wall

Like most restaurants in Little Tokyo, it’s a small place with the prime seats being a six-seat chef’s counter looking into the kitchen. Chef David Bartnes is the point-man behind the counter; having spent much of his life traveling around the world, Bartnes combines these worldly influences (primarily Asian) with his classical cooking background. The resulting fare is an interesting mix of flavors that change frequently but could include an oxtail ravioli, beef cheek risotto, tongue carpaccio, grilled heart or roasted bone marrow. Both an omakase and an a la carte menu is available; on this first visit, we sat at the chef’s counter and had the 5-course omakase ($55).

bos counter

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Le Grand Fooding (Los Angeles, CA)

Le Grand Fooding Crush Paris – Los Angeles
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
152 N Central Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Dining date: 4/26/13 and 4/27/13

le grand fooding venue

This past weekend, Le Grand Fooding made its first foray into Los Angeles. The traveling event, hosted in San Francisco and New York in past instances, seeks to promote chefs of both nations cooking a sort of bistronomics concept – fine dining concept in a more affordable atmosphere. The event was a two-day affair at downtown’s Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (in addition to an exclusive pre-event dinner cooked by Craig Thornton (Wolvesmouth) and Miles Thompson (Allumette) – full pictures here).

The chef lineup was pretty impressive, with 11 big-name chefs from both LA and Paris. Some of the chefs cooked on only one day and a handful cooked on both days. General admission tickets were $50 and included one dish from each chef and a glass of champagne. Ticket prices went up in three tiers, all the way up to a $125 VIP ticket that included early entrance, a secluded dining area, and an extra dish from a VIP-only chef. Tickets sold out in a hurry, but I managed to purchase a base level ticket for each day.

tickets and guide

For the two evenings, MOCA’s outdoor venue was set up with a DJ tower, multiple chef booths and an impressive Veuve Clicquot tower.

le grand fooding venue

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