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La Ventura-Studio City (new Mexican Restaurant)

Went there last night around 5:00 and sat at the counter. Greeted warmly and treated with courtesy throughout the evening. I was really impressed that that the owner came over and introduced himself to me. And it wasn't one of those quick "hi, how ya doin'?" sort of things. He was very engaging and genuine and checked on me several times. I have to say - pretty cool.

I have two requirements when trying a new Mexican restaurant - the house Margarita and the Chips and Salsa. Both didn't disappoint. Bartender Geoff also made me a Habanero Margarita, as well. Liked the spice in that one. The Chips were fried to order and the salsas (I tried 5 in all) were delish - all pretty mild except for one. I also ordered a generous cup of the Lime Chicken Soup, Skirt Steak Skewers (2 skewers over a chili sauce), and two soft Tacos (one chicken, one pork) served with black beans, rice, and their house slaw. You get your choice of tortilla also (corn or flour). Topped everything off with their Mexican Hot Chocolate, and I went home happy.

I do miss the Outtake Bistro, but this is a fine replacement. And I love that it's Mexican. Loteria finally has some competition. Can't believe how that section of Ventura Blvd. is becoming quite the restaurant scene, and LaVentura is a nice addition.

Asanebo question

Mark is friendly, and he knows his fish. He's usually stationed at the end of the bar. I like Kenji too.

Jan 02, 2014
omakase in Los Angeles Area

plan check on sawtelle is now open!

J.L., this place is awesome. I live in the San Fernando Valley, but I'll be back. So much more to try. If you want to recommend anything, please do - even the cocktails and beer.

Apr 04, 2012
omakase in Los Angeles Area

plan check on sawtelle is now open!

This was my first visit to Plan Check, and I really enjoyed the food and service. I got there around 4:30 and found a great place to park - just a few steps away from the restaurant and no meters. The place wasn't too crowded, but since I was alone, I sat at the bar. First impressions - a big smile from the hostess and immediate attention from the bartender/mixologist - Rachel. Started out with the Godzilla, a sweet drink made with Midori - very tasty. Also started off with some Beer Nuts, Pickled Chorizo, and the Baked Crab Dip. The Beer Nuts were delicious, both salty and sweet. The General Manager, Richard, recommended a beer with those, but I was enjoying my Godzilla. I LOVE Chorizo, and the Pickled Chorizo was fantastic. Never had it before. It came already sliced with that chorizo flavor I crave. The Baked Crab Dip was also very good - lots of crab with a dynamite sauce on top served with toast. Okay, now for the highlight and probably one of the best sandwiches I ever had - the Pastrami Nosh. This was incredible - smoky pastrami with cheese and pickles served between two pieces of thinly sliced toasted bread with a fried egg on top. I couldn't pick it up, but who cares. I enjoyed eating it with a fork and knife. Also had some of their Fresh Cut Fries which were very nice and cripsy served with some of their homemade ketchup. Now, while I'm eating all this, I'm also entertaining myself with more cocktails from Rachel - The Little Osaka Sour made with bourbon and The High and Low made with Rum. They both went down nice and easy. And to top everything off, I had the Crullers - 3 crispy on the outside/fluffy on the inside cinnamon tasting donuts. And the perfect companion - some French Press. Overall, it's like the owner went inside my brain, found all my favorite food items, and created a restaurant. And the kitchen and bar executes it like the masters they are. Can't wait to go back. Who's with me on this?

Apr 03, 2012
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Pizzeria Mozza Review... Good Appetizers, Pizza just ok...

Servorg, I have to hand it to you. You caught me flip-floppin'. It's true, I wrote on here (July 2, 2008) that I loved the pizzas at Pizzeria Mozza. Recently, however, I have grown a dislike for "puffy edge" pizzas - too much dough. Now, I prefer a thin crisp edge. I still love Pizzeria Mozza, though. Nice job Servorg.

Mar 16, 2012
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Pizzeria Mozza Review... Good Appetizers, Pizza just ok...

Nice review. I do like Pizzeria Mozza, but I'm not crazy about the pizzas either. The edges are too puffy. I like a nice thin pizza all the way through from beginning to end. Love the appetizers such as the Affetati Misti, the Fried Squash Blossoms, the Baby Peppers With Tuna, and the Meatballs. I also love the Chicken Liver Bruchette and any of the Panini's. But as for the pizzas - no thanks.

Mar 15, 2012
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Best crab legs in Los Angeles?

I just had some of the best Alaskan King Crab Legs tonight at Mastro's - 246 N. Canon Drive in Beverly Hills. Goes well with a few Mastro Cosmos - their signature martini poured over dry ice.

Aug 09, 2011
omakase in Los Angeles Area

San Fernando Valley,... food and music??

I sometimes meet friends for dinner and music at the Cafe Cordiale - 14015 Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks,

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Cafe Cordiale
14015 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

Aug 09, 2011
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Hound-worthy Mexican with good margaritas and ambience?

Sushigirlie, thanks for giving some love to La Golondrina. It's one of my favorite places for good margaritas and mexican food. I usually order the carnitas quesadilla and the chorizo tostada - two tostadas in an order. .

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La Golondrina
17 Olvera St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Aug 09, 2011
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Fried Chicken Tacos at Boneyard Bistro

Hi Carter. I can always count on you to steer me back to the Boneyard. Thanks for the Fried Chicken Tacos rec. Nice description. What will Aaron think of next?

Jun 16, 2011
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Really good Italian in the Valley?

Another vote for Panzanella - 14928 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks.

May 20, 2011
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Solo Birthday Dinner

Happy Birthday. I love dining by myself. New Trial's recommendation, Osteria Mozza, is an excellent one. Here are a few more:

1. A.O.C. - small plates - nice wine's - great bar - 8022 W. Third Street

2. Animal - emphasis on meat - small bar area - 435 N. Fairfax Ave.

3. Cut - Steakhouse - bar is separate from main dining room, but the full menu is available -9500 Wilshire Blvd.

4. Providence - Seafood - bar is separate from main dining room - 5955 Melrose Ave.

5. Spago - Californian - not sure if they have a bar area for dining, but I love the patio - 176. N. Canon Drive

Apr 27, 2011
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Prime Rib

Another vote for Houston's.

Apr 21, 2011
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Sherman Oaks Question

If you like French food, you'll love Pinot Bistro. They open at 5:30 and have a bar and counter area where you can comfortably dine solo and order anything from the regular menu plus the "bar only specials." Some of my personal favorties are the French Onion Soup, the Frisee and Spinach Salad with bacon and poached egg, the Escargot (in the shell), the Hanger Steak, and the crispy Fries. Good desserts and a full bar, as well. One of my favorite restaurants in L.A.

Pinot Bistro
12969 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City (bordering Sherman Oaks) - west of Coldwater Canyon Ave.

Apr 20, 2011
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Italian spot in Los Feliz, Glendale or Pasadena?

One of my favorite Italian restaurants is Far Niente in Glendale - 204 1/2 North Brand Blvd.

Apr 02, 2011
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Smoke House in Burbank

Wild Swede, I think Funwithfood is talking about a restaurant called The Barkley Restaurant and Bar at 1400 Huntington Drive in South Pasadena. I used to go there quite often for lunch, as I worked in the area. I haven't been in awhile, but I remember it being very similar to The Smoke House. On the other hand, Beckham Grill also has that "Smoke House" feel to it, as well.

Mar 31, 2011
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Tender, Juicy and Crisp? Roast Chicken Battle - Melisse, Costco, Pollo Ala Brasa, Rustic Canyon, Zankou, A Frame, Gjelina, Marouch, Lola's, and more! [Review] w/ Pics!

I just love crisp-skinned roasted chicken. So based on your recommendation, I went to Rustic Canyon last night and ordered the Jidori Chicken. I usually go for their marvelous burger, but made the special trip from the San Fernando Valley to specifically try the chicken. I was not disappointed. The chicken was everything you said it was - wonderful crispy skin, moist breast, and juicy leg and thigh. Lots of great flavor. This is truly the best roasted chicken I've had. Thank you ExileKiss.

Mar 30, 2011
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Quiet Place for Drinks in Hollywood, Studio City or Sherman Oaks?

I love Pinot Bistro in Studio City - probably my favorite French restaurant at the moment. Pleasant bar area too. They have both wine and cocktails.

Pinot Bistro
12969 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City

Mar 13, 2011
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Looking for suggestions for a small group of guys

I also agree with Westsidegals's suggestion - Fogo de Chao

Mar 12, 2011
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Looking for suggestions for a small group of guys

Here are some suggestions:

1. Lawry's - Prime Rib - 100 N. La Cienega Blvd.; Beverly Hills
2. The Palm - Steak & Seafood - 9001 Santa Monica Blvd.; West Hollywood
3. Pacific Dining Car - Steak - 1310 W. Sixth Street; Downtown
4. Water Grill - Seafood - 544 S. Grand Ave.; Downtown
5. Morton's - Steak - various locations; 435 S. La Cienega Blvd.; Beverly Hills

Mar 12, 2011
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Looking for dinner near--Studio City this Friday

I just had a very nice dinner at Raphael's in Studio City, close to Universal Studios. The food is considered "World Cuisine." I was well taken care of by the husband/wife owners and their friendly staff. I ordered French Onion Soup, Tuna Tartare, Shrimp Lupia, and a RibEye Steak with a side of Fries. Prices ranged from a low of $8.50 for the soup to a high of $37.00 for the steak. They have a full bar, as well.

Raphael
11616 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City 91604

Feb 08, 2011
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Good Gringo Tacos?

I think you'll find what you're looking for at Henry's Tacos in North Hollywood - hard shell, ground beef, shredded lettuce, cheese, and sauce in small plastic cups. It's definitely my "go to" place for my gringo taco fix.

Henry's Tacos
11401 Moorpark Street
North Hollywood, CA 91602

Jan 07, 2011
omakase in Los Angeles Area

BarBrix last night

Nice review. I've been a couple of times, sitting in the back bar area watching chef Don Dickman and his crew create their magic. I love the open kitchen and "small plate" concept. You mentioned a lot of my favorites, especially the deviled eggs. I'd like to add to your recommendations the fried sweetbreads, the veal meatballs, the boar sausage, the pork belly, and the ginger shortcake for dessert. The atmosphere is a lot of fun and very inviting, reflecting the personalities of the owners. It's a great addition to the area.

Sep 17, 2009
omakase in Los Angeles Area

NFL And Breakfast In The Valley

I think the Studio Cafe on the corner of Ventura Blvd. and Colfax Ave. has a few televisions. They have lots of breakfast choices - not sure about brunch.

Studio Cafe
4000 Colfax Ave.
Studio City 91604

Sep 12, 2009
omakase in Los Angeles Area

ground beef Tacos-hardshell

Yes.

Sep 09, 2009
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Best Upscale Burger

I was at the Boneyard Bistro last night and had the California Burger - 8oz of delicious Kobe Style Wagyu Beef on a brioche roll with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, bacon, cheese, and 1000 Island. Served with fries all for $19.00. The Patty Melt is also pretty fantastic. There are several burgers on the menu, along with a great beer and wine list.

Boneyard Bistro
13539 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks

Jul 03, 2009
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Good Lobster Roll in LA?

I agree Servorg. I guess it's time to start planning for my trip back East. But when I need that Lobster Roll fix, the Farm does the trick.

Jun 29, 2009
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Good Lobster Roll in LA?

The Farm (Beverly Hills, The Grove, L.A. Live) has a pretty good Lobster Club. However, compared to Mendocino Farms, it's also pretty expensive.

Jun 29, 2009
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Burbank Drinks Near Airport?

Very close to the Burbank Airport is a Mexican Restaurant called Barragan's - 730 N. Victory Blvd, in Burbank. I think this is exactly what you're looking for.

Jun 17, 2009
omakase in Los Angeles Area

Who has the Best CALAMARI?

I love the fried calamari at Far Niente and at Marino's.

Far Niente
204 (and a half) N. Brand Blvd.
Glendale

Marino's
6001 Melrose Ave.
Hollywood

Jun 15, 2009
omakase in Los Angeles Area