The Ponte marks Scott Conant’s return to the Los Angeles dining scene after Scarpetta’s closure last year. Partnering up with LA restaurateur Stephane Bombet, The Ponte is a different concept from Scarpetta although there are a lot of familiar dishes. The famous spaghetti is here, as well as a take on the Scarpetta truffled mushroom polenta and tuna/yellowtail tartare. Ex-Scarpetta and Georgie chef Freddy Vargas has returned here to lead the kitchen.
I’ve been to Alexander’s Steakhouse in San Francisco and Pasadena a few times and have had a few good meals here. This latest visit was prompted by DineLA restaurant week, in which the restaurant was offering six courses for $115. One of those courses, the steak course, offered an option of an 18oz dry aged New York strip or 3oz of Kagoshima wagyu. This tasting menu provided quite a bit of value (compared to regular pricing) and an opportunity to try a little bit more of the menu here.
Shunji Nakao’s eponymous restaurant has been a sushi staple on the west side since opening in 2012. Nakao has been at the forefront of sushi in Los Angeles for decades since being one of the opening chefs of Matsuhisa. After Matsuhisa, Nakao has also been chef at notable restaurants Asanebo and The Hump.
I’ve been to Shunji once, for lunch, and had an enjoyable meal (it was a great value too). I was excited to come in for dinner and try a little more. We went with a sushi omakase, adding a few cooked dishes to begin with.
Bateau is chef Renee Erickson’s first restaurant foray out of seafood. Erickson has made a name for herself by serving sea creatures (The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Whale Wins, General Porpoise), but this restaurant is something a little different – a steakhouse.
Beef is aged on-site in a huge meat locker in full display. Right next to it is the day’s sections broken down into farm, cut, and portion. Everything is of limited supply; as they’re ordered, items are crossed off the chalkboard. This day’s beef selections were from three different farms, all grass-fed, aged 21-35 days. La Ferme des Anes is Erickson’s own farm.
Opened in 2004, Stateside has been popular for its modern Vietnamese cuisine on Capitol Hill. My brother’s been here before, and helped us select this spot for its Vietnamese-inspired brunch. It was one of the few restaurants open on New Years Day, making this my first meal of 2017.
While looking for lunch in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, we originally sought out Cuban sandwich specialist Paseo. We failed to research beforehand that the restaurant was closed Mondays, but found possibly an even better option. A quick search guided us to this place a short walk away. Revel has been very popular since opening up here almost six years ago, serving Korean dumplings, noodles and rice bowls. The restaurant is the most casual sister restaurant to Joule from chef team Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi.
Each year, my cousins, brother and I take our grandmother out for a birthday meal. The timing is convenient as her birthday is around Christmas, so everyone is typically in town (except for my brother this year). Due to timing and scheduling we weren’t able to do a dinner, but were able to have a lunch the day after Christmas. Options were a bit limited for lunch on the 26th, but luckily Wayfare Tavern had room for the five of us.
Tyler Florence’s financial district restaurant has been going strong since opening in 2010. I’ve been here once, for lunch, and still remember the fried chicken and salmon I had that meal. We ordered both of those dishes again, as well as a bunch of others, for this post-Christmas lunch.
Nomica is a modern Japanese izakaya offering contemporary takes on Japanese drinking food. The menu has some intriguing menu items like gyoza-stuffed fried chicken wings, sous vide chicken karaage, and whole chicken baked in brioche. The restaurant was opened by the team behind Sushi Ran, a restaurant that has been serving Japanese cuisine in the Bay Area for over 30 years.