Archive for the 'Restaurant Review' Category

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Here’s Looking at You at Unit 120 – Los Angeles (Chinatown)

Here's Looking at You at Unit 120 - Los Angeles (Chinatown)

Did you hear? Lien Ta and Chef Jonathan Whitener, the former Animal chef de cuisine, are opening a restaurant. Woo! Here’s Looking at You is slated to debut later this spring in the former Whiz space in Koreatown. Los Angeles is in for a real treat.

Here's Looking at You at Unit 120 - Los Angeles (Chinatown)

In anticipation of their grand opening, Lien and Jonathan popped up at Chinatown’s Unit 120 back in January to give a sneak peek of their Japanese-Mexi-Cali concept. Priced at $75 per person, the family-style supper included three starters, two mains, and two desserts.

Dinner started with a cocktail—a cupful of the chef’s signature Mai Tai from the community punch bowl.

Here's Looking at You at Unit 120 - Los Angeles (Chinatown)

The trio of starters was quick to arrive. Pristine cuts of hamachi were given the Vietnamese treatment with tamarind, rau ram (Vietnamese coriander), palm sugar, and hibiscus onion. Continue reading ‘Here’s Looking at You at Unit 120 – Los Angeles (Chinatown)’

Highlands Bar & Grill – Birmingham

Highlands Bar and Grill - Birmingham

I hope it’s not too late to share with you my favorite meal of 2015? I mean, it’s only April 2016. The Astronomer’s parents, two of the most thoughtful people ever, gifted us dinner at Birmingham’s best restaurant while we were visiting for the holidays. Evenings out on the town are a rare treat for new parents, so we savored this one like you wouldn’t believe.

Highlands Bar and Grill - Birmingham

It had been far too long since we last dined at Chef Frank Stitt’s beloved and respected Highland’s Bar and Grill. In fact, our last meal here was back in 2009.

This evening’s feast began as it did in the past, with a trio of breads (country, white, and corn) served with butter.

Highlands Bar and Grill - Birmingham

To start, “Fried Chicken Livers” ($10) served on a black peppercorn biscuit with a celery root and kale slaw and sorghum dressing. While every element on the plate was perfectly executed, it was the golden-crisp livers that we loved most.

Continue reading ‘Highlands Bar & Grill – Birmingham’

Zuni Café – San Francisco

Zuni Café - San Francisco

After dining at two super-hip restaurants back-to-back while in San Francisco (see: State Bird Provisions and Al’s Place), a low-key lunch at beloved institution Zuni Café was just my speed before catching a flight back to Los Angeles.

Zuni Café - San Francisco

I’ve been hearing about Chef and Owner Judy Rogers‘ legendary roast chicken ever since I started reading and writing about food, and my colleagues were kind enough to satisfy my longtime culinary curiosity on our final afternoon in the city.

Zuni Café - San Francisco

Opened in 1979, Zuni Café serves an ever-changing seasonal menu inspired by traditional Italian and French recipes. As one of the pioneers of California cuisine, it’s not surprising that nearly all of the produce, meat, and fish served here is farmed or harvested in a sustainable manner.

Continue reading ‘Zuni Café – San Francisco’

Al’s Place – San Francisco

Al's Place Restaurant - San Francisco

On my second night in San Francisco, I met up with my Bay Area-dwelling cousins for a family dinner at Al’s Place, the newly anointed best new restaurant in America by Bon Appetit.

Al's Place Restaurant - San Francisco

Here at the corner of Valencia and 26th Street on a quieter stretch of the Mission, Chef Aaron London cooks mostly vegetables and a little meat.  This makes sense because prior to opening Al’s Place, he was the chef of the much-lauded vegetarian restaurant Ubuntu in Napa.

Al's Place Restaurant - San Francisco

We began with a duo of “Snackles.” First up were the brine-pickled french fries ($7) served with smoked apple sauce.  They were perfectly snackable and even palatable, but not quite the revelation that Bon Appetit’s Andrew Knowlton made them out to be. Can’t say this is the first time I’ve fallen victim to hyperbolic food writing. Continue reading ‘Al’s Place – San Francisco’

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