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Dinner after LACMA

Going to a movie at LACMA tomorrow night...should end around 930PM.

Not a huge fan of Ray & Stark...what else should I try within general vicinity?

Friend suggested Genwa Korean, but don't really feel like cooking my own food.

Republique? I wasn't crazy about Church & State when I visited a few years back...menu looks fairly similar.

Other options?

Thanks.

Apr 17, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Belcampo Cheeseburger

I like my burgers with fries and a soft drink/shake...so it's going to be $25...and the burger alone is $17 with tax and tip.

Certainly it's a "better" burger, but ultimately food comes down to how you feel afterwards...was it worth it and how do you feel when you pay the tab?

On that count, Belcampo fails, IMHO.

Apr 14, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Belcampo Cheeseburger

I tried the burger today, after unsuccessfully trying to order it the first week they opened (long story not worth repeating - however management handled it extremely well).

Fries are fine - unfortunately, the ketchup has cloves in it which is, IMO, a cardinal sin. Give me Heinz - it has never been improved upon, despite many chefs heroic efforts.

The burger is good, but maybe its just me - for $25 (burger, fries, coke +tax&tip) it's just not 400% better than in-n-out. I'll spend that much if I'm sitting on a patio overlooking the pacific or in a swanky hotel...but not in GCM!

Apr 12, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area
2

Dan Tanas - what to order?

Honestly, none of the dishes are great, but most are decent if you go in with low expectations!

People rave about the steak, but I've never been blown away by it. The pasta sides taste like I'd imagine the Olive Garden tastes. People also swear by the garlic bread, but it doesn't sit well with me - I still taste it 48 hours later.

I like the fried calamari, any of the veal scalopini and the cappuccino ice cream.

FWIW, I've always enjoyed my evenings at Dan Tana's in spite of the less than stellar cuisine.

Apr 11, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Moorpark?

Have a soccer tourney this weekend in Moorpark and wondering if there are any gems in the area...will have a bunch of 10 year old boys, too, so nothing too extreme.

Thanks.

Apr 04, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

50th Birthday

BOA is fairly mediocre....I went with friends of the owners, so we got treated like VIPs (as well as a 30% discount). Even if I were to get 30% off, I wouldn't return.

Apr 01, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Restaurants not having websites only Facebook

I grew up in a time where the only menus were posted next to the front door, or you had to go in and ask.

Never affected my dining decisions or enjoyment of my meal.

Mar 21, 2014
manku in Not About Food

2014 - Best Sushi Omakase

I had a delicious Omakase at Jinpachi in Weho a few months back...first time visit - was recommended to me by a Japanese couple when I was dining a Kokkokkoo, or however one spells that Yakitori place in LT.

Was $110/pp, and more food than I could eat. Every piece was delicious, and ambiance was very relaxing. Surprised it doesn't get more love on this board...

Feb 18, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

2014 - Best Sushi Omakase

Concur...I've had great omakase meals at places I would normally never patronize, and mediocre ones at the elite sushi bars. The sushi bars with the best reputations are more likely to give you a great meal, but no guarantee.

I think it's fun just to try places without any preconceptions or biases...just drive by a place and try it. Sadly, in this day of yelp etc..., very few people will spend their money on ANYTHING without doing extensive, soul killing research.

Feb 15, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Animal Review

I've had pigs tails now at a few restaurants (spice table, tar&roses etc), and am convinced they are "the emporers new clothes"...fatty, in a bad way, difficult to eat, no meat...they are just gross, IMHO. I'm not a huge proponent of nose to tail cooking...it's appears to be gimmick designed to increase restaurant profits.

.

Feb 05, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

raised or cake ????? Which kind of gal or guy are you ????

Raised...I don't even consider cake real donuts.

Jan 27, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Trois Mec!!!

I guess I mean "steering" instead of "encourage"...certainly, it seems the glass pairing is more reasonable than the bottle price...though both are obscene, IMO.

I've stopped drinking, and one reason is I'm tired of the excessive alcohol pricing in this country. $15-20 glassses of wine (usually no more than 4 ounces) are routine in many restaurants. Even corkage has creeped up to $35-50 in many places. And wines that I used to buy for $50-100, now are $300+ - and I thought I was paying too much at $100!!!

Fortunately, I'm 48 and not 25 years old. Not drinking is not much of a social issue at this stage of my life...especially in LA.

Jan 27, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Trois Mec!!!

Wow...that is one terrible list...makes L'Ami Louis look reasonable!

I think Trois Mec is encouraging the wine pairing by pricing like this...not a terrible idea. Easier and more profitable, I'd imagine.

Personally, though, a meal that costs $150+ pp has to feel luxurious - I realize that old fashioned fine dining is out of style, but paying these prices for minimal decor, silverware/plateware is just not worth it, IMHO.

Jan 27, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

DAN TANA'S - STILL GREAT BUT EXPENSIVE

No...anyone who consumes mixed drinks is aware that too much alcohol kills the beverage. Try a gin and tonic with 50% gin...it's dreadful and virtually undrinkable. Same goes with wine with too much alcohol (16%+)...especially served too warm.

Most people complain about watered down, weak drinks which is a more common problem. Or, even worse IMHO, the new trend of high end mixologist drinks which are consumed in three or four sips...for $15+.

Jan 26, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area
1

DineLA Winter 2014

A friend wanted to try Bludsoes today, but it is closed for lunch...who knew!

So we went next door to Cube (never been), which looked deserted from the outside but was packed inside...and earsplitting loud. They sat us in the back room, as the main room was filled with Hollywood types. This rear room, or annex, is beyond Siberia...though quiet, it feels like a broom closet.

They presented the dine la menu (wasn't aware), which consisted of the choice of one salad for appetizer, and one of two pastas for entrees...$25 for $30 worth of food - what a bargain!!! It was the saddest looking dine la menu I've yet to see.

We got up and walked to Pinks (haven't been in nearly a quarter of a century), where we had some surprisingly tasty chili cheese dogs and fries - and barely a wait.

As I've said before on this website, Dine LA used to have some amazing bargains and opportunities. It has now merely become a marketing gimmick, with a mere handful of decent offers, if that...

Jan 22, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Fine Dining in the Valley

The bill qualifies this restaurant for fine dining....the ambiance does not, however. Service is superb, but then again many Japanese restaurants seem to excel in this department.

Jan 13, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Fine Dining in the Valley

Amen, brother!

My MIL lives in Tarzana, so we go out fairly often (also live in canyons, so it's just as close to SO/SC as LA too)...aside from sushi/japanese, I've yet to find anything in the valley I would take an out of towner.

Places like Oliva and Il Tiramisu are really mediocre - I'm sure they have edible dishes, I just haven't found them yet. The high end chains are OK for what they are and probably your best bet (Morton's, Ruth Chris, Roys).

Jan 08, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Il Grano - what's happening?

Not to excuse the restaurant, but you did dine at 5:30, the first available seating...plenty of restaurants I've been to aren't running at full steam at opening, so I'm not all that surprised about the lack of bread at 5:30 PM.

Also, restaurants were packed this weekend (all week, in fact). Il Grano is always empty and easy to get a table.

As for Il Grano, I always found the food excellent but the prices too high/portions too small. Not a great combination.

Never been to Madeo, but judging from the pictures on yelp, it looks like your standard northern italian fare at very high prices in a room filled with hollywood wannabees.

Jan 06, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Persian food in Westwood

I'll probably get flamed for saying this, but I've found most persian places to be fairly similar - never been disappointed, nor have I been so blown away that others have paled in comparison. This includes the Armenian places in Burbank/Glendale.

Actually, I'd probably include most middle eastern food in this category. Some places may have a dish or two that stands out, but overall the quality is pretty even...and usually fairly good.

Dec 26, 2013
manku in Los Angeles Area
1

Settebello, Pizzeria Mozza, or others?

I'd avoid Stella Barra, at least in Hollywood. It is very corporate (owned by big chain) and the pizza was weird - the dough was thin and crust very dark, but it also tasted undercooked - like eating raw dough.

If you do go, go next door to Amoeba records and get their monthly/quarterly magazine - it has a 15% off coupon.

They also don't 100% validate parking anymore - its $3.00.

I like Mozza. Had good pies at Sotto and Bestia too. Frankly, though, i'm just as satisfied having a slice of Sicilian from Joes or a slice of cheese from Vito's. Pizza, like burgers, is not a $30/pp meal IMHO.

Dec 20, 2013
manku in Los Angeles Area

Buche de Noel

I had one last year from Le Pain de Quotidien (sp?) that was fairly good, especially for a chain.

Dec 18, 2013
manku in Los Angeles Area

Republique by Walter Manzke, impressions+photos

I thought Church and State was really fun - but mostly because of the location and vibe. The food was really average brasserie (or is it bistro) fare. Like Balthazar in NYC, but not as good.

This place looks, as least food wise, quite similar. And dreadfully uncomfortable and noisy.

I don't mind paying high prices for dining out, but this trend of minimalist decor, uncomfortable seating and barren tables is terrible. Paying nearly 100pp for this experience isn't worth it, IMHO.

Dec 07, 2013
manku in Los Angeles Area

South Pasadena for lunch

My son has an AYSO tournament coming up, and I'm looking for places to eat during this Friday/Saturday event.

It obviously has to be child friendly.

I was thinking about trying Settebello in Pasadena, as I've never been.

Any other suggestions, particularly in South Pasadena.

I'm not crazy about Pie n' Burger, FYI.

Thanks.

Nov 27, 2013
manku in Los Angeles Area

Craft lunch ?

Your a better man than me...I would have walked out and had a slice at Joe's in the CC food court!

Nov 26, 2013
manku in Los Angeles Area

Brents Deli, Northridge

I don't know, but I've seen too many delis with it...abomination!!!

Nov 26, 2013
manku in Los Angeles Area

Brents Deli, Northridge

Brent's is good, but Langer's pastrami is, as they say in the Michelin guide, "worth a special journey" or three stars. Brents's would be either one star, or "very good for its category" or a "bib gourmand - good food at moderate prices.".

If I'm visiting another city, and I always shoot for the stars.

BTW, if you do go to Langer's, just get the pastrami on rye (and guldens spicy brown - frenchs is for amateurs) - avoid all other combinations (like #19). While they are excellent, I'd leave those for future visits. And the crinkle cut fries are tasty too.

Nov 25, 2013
manku in Los Angeles Area

Bazaar Valet!!!

Yes...not going to take out the silly service charge on the valets. But I didn't double my normal tip!

Nov 19, 2013
manku in Los Angeles Area

Bazaar Valet!!!

As a native new yorker, I despise valet parking on principal...however, when I'm going out for a "luxury" meal (dropping in excess of $150pp without expensive alcohol), I like to be coddled from start to finish.

Driving around looking for a parking space sort of kills that feeling.

Nov 19, 2013
manku in Los Angeles Area

Bazaar Valet!!!

I finally made it to Bazaar last Friday night ...the decor was standard Starck - interesting at first, and then got quickly irritating - in particular the uncomfortable chairs in the dining room and silly desert area. Don't even get me started on the urinals with the three sided mirrors :)

Food was uneven...started great, and went downhill. When the best dish was the ham sampler, which you could replicate by going to the Beverly Hills Cheese Store or similar places, it doesn't say that much about the food. Also, sharing and dividing every plate (over 16 dishes for three of us) gets really tiresome by the end.

All in all, about what I expected.

What I didn't expect, though, was an obscene $14 valet charge (no, they don't validate). Virtually every other restaurant on "Restaurant Row" is in the $5-6 range, I think. It's not as if we're going to park at the SLS and walk somewhere else - there is nowhere else to go!

Rant over.

Nov 19, 2013
manku in Los Angeles Area

A pastrami sandwich as good as Langers

It's a fairly priced sandwich in a really depressing room (think horse track in the 70s). And the crowd is, IMHO, even more dreary.

Glad to have in the neighborhood, but it doesn't compare.

It is, however, as good as any of the overpriced non-Langer's competitors like Nate n Als, Factors etc...

Nov 11, 2013
manku in Los Angeles Area