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Rare by Drai's

Went last night.

First, I would disagree with TailbackU describing it as grandma's living room. Which sez a lot about his grandmother (who sounds like she might be fun).

The place is dark and sexy with a lot of red drapes and Tamara de Lempickas on the walls. Looks more like how you might imagine the dining room in a very upscale brothel in Las Vegas. (in fact it looks a lot like Victor's club in Las Vegas.) Elegant and dramatic.

Steak I had - 10 oz with the black peppercorn sauce was perfectly done, aged and quite good. If I had to judge the place from that one steak, I'd say this is easily in the top group of elite steak joints in L.A. Grilled asparagus was very good. Tricolor roasted carrots also good. Burrata and heirloom tomato, candied walnuts was as good as burrata gets, tomatoes about as good as you can find this time of year. Very satisfying. Bread pudding got demolished.

This place didn't get much love in these reviews - I think it's better than that.

Place was about 1/3 full, but didn't feel dead. Some showbiz types and a group of rock 'n rollers in the back area. I wouldn't have a problem going back.

Biggest complaint? The water tasted awful - like it came from a garden hose. Unacceptable.

about 8 hours ago
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

If Michelin returned to LA this year, which restaurants do you personally feel would get stars in the 2015 LA Michelin Guide?

I think it would pretty much be the same.
I'll bite.

Melisse and Providence would both have 2 stars. n/naka at least one, maybe 2.

But I think if they announced they were coming back, Providence and Melisse - especially Melisse, would make a concerted effort to up their game to get 3 stars.

Patina, 1 star. Ink 1 star.

about 17 hours ago
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

Moving to 2nd street in Santa Monica, What's good that I can walk to?

.

1 day ago
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

THE CHURCH KEY. NOT DIM SUM. NOT CLOSE. WTF?

Not sure what you mean - the stuff off the carts? Or off the menu. Stuff off the menu was all good. They had a chicken liver parfait with a blackberry jam on toast - reminded me of a similar dish at Animal. The brussel sprout "Caesar salad" - like garlicky coleslaw. The tapioca snapper too. All good (the liver was my favor - presentation was fun and kicky with finger sized brioche slices).

Off the car - there wasn't much at all. One had bread, one had "shots", the last had some sushi. Which I ordered because I wanted to get at least something off the carts. (Yeah, not a good reason) - two rolls and some salmon sashimi in a sauce. The sashimi was the best. The rolls were unexceptional, but not bad. I wouldn't get it again. And that was all the offerings that came on the carts.

Apr 21, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

THE CHURCH KEY. NOT DIM SUM. NOT CLOSE. WTF?

Never been to Yank Sing. Koi Palace and Hong Kong Lounge which I both liked. (Koi more).

How would you rank Yank Sing? Have I been missing anything?

Apr 21, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

Spring Omakase at Yamakase: A Pictorial Essay

Nice! Have to go back.

Apr 21, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

THE CHURCH KEY. NOT DIM SUM. NOT CLOSE. WTF?

Yes, checked Gayot guide and found it mention as top 10 (new) restaurants of 2014. And a cursory look at Yelp.

Apr 20, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

THE CHURCH KEY. NOT DIM SUM. NOT CLOSE. WTF?

I complain about a dim sum restaurant that has no dim sum and I get an argument?

Apr 20, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

THE CHURCH KEY. NOT DIM SUM. NOT CLOSE. WTF?

Ire is directed at the magazine and CNN.

Common sense would assume that when you go to a dim sum restaurant, it would include food you commonly see at dim sum restaurants.

Apr 20, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

LA Weekly 20 Best Restaurants in LA. I know "Not another list"

Very much in agreement on all points

Apr 19, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

LA Weekly 20 Best Restaurants in LA. I know "Not another list"

Kogi is great, but not top 20.

Melisse one spot higher than Kogi? Insulting. And wildly ignorant. Punished for being posh? Really?

Apr 19, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

Late solo dinner near MDR

I'm not sure what time, but they switch off the full menu and go to a pretty limited late-night menu. Call first (or if someone here knows...?)

Apr 19, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

Late solo dinner near MDR

Tasting Kitchen in Venice goes pretty late. Very good restaurant.

Apr 19, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area
1

THE CHURCH KEY. NOT DIM SUM. NOT CLOSE. WTF?

Literal translations vs common sense. I'm choosing the latter here.

I just knew if I posted this rant/review someone would come up with exactly what you came up with. No problems. I don't even think we're in disagreement.

But Leisure & Travel called this a dim sum and it just isn't what you would expect. You could call the place a BBQ restaurant because they serve ribs with a sweet sauce. Or Italian because they have pasta dishes.

It's more than misleading. I think it does the restaurant a disservice to put it in the top 17 dim sum restaurants in American when it isn't even a dim sum restaurant. There are other, more deserving restaurants. I suspect that assessment had a lot more to do with a publicist or someone's friend than any real taste testing.

BTW - at a dim sum restaurant you have have a whole meal off the cars. You can't really do that at The Church Key.

Also - a dim sum restaurant one expects dumplings. I'm all for being creative, but you can do a lot of with dumplings. And no one in sight at this restaurant.

Can a dim sum restaurant have no dumplings on their menu?

Apr 18, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

THE CHURCH KEY. NOT DIM SUM. NOT CLOSE. WTF?

WARNING. NOTHING IN THIS PICTURE was offered on the Church Key's carts. THIS PIC is not mine, but came from Travel & Leisure's website. I went last night. In fact, I didn't see anything on The Church Key's carts that remotely resembled anything like dim sum. NOTHING.

Travel & Leisure had this as one of the 17 best dim sum restaurants in America?

http://www.travelandleisure.com/artic....

It's not that their dim sum isn't good, THERE IS NO DIM SUM. NO DIM SUM AT ALL. NADA. RIEN. Now I'm pissed off at Travel & Leisure. This isn't, say, a "contemporary spin" on dim sum, or "modern": dim sum. These are simply carts with stuff on them. Putting small plates from, say, Clifton's Cafeteria on a cart would be as close to dim sum as The Church Key. NO. NOT DIM SUM.

Nothing on the menu is close to dim sum either.

GOT DIM SUM? NOPE.

I didn't see ANYTHING like this. There was some sushi and sashimi (sushi and sashimi on a cart? Now there's a aggravatingly bad idea!)..

Bread on a cart? That's a fucking BREAD CART! Not dim sum. Not a dim sum cart. (Yeah, they had bread on a cart. I've been to Joel Robuchon at the Mansion - now that's a bread cart of the Gods. This cart? Like a bread cart I would imagine in a nice prison.)

I've heard of bait and switch, but this is bait and go fuck yourself. Not a dumpling or dumpling-like item within a mile. No buns (oh, pretzels on a plate. That's as close as I got. Hm. Pretzel is made with flour, and dim sum wrappers made from flour. So it must be dim sum!

)

Never got any complimentary truffle popcorn either.

(Service was friendly and helpful. Place is nice. Bustling, young crowd. This place could likely merit a decent review had I not been led there under false circumstances. Not even sure it's their fault, but they do offer a card that gets stamped when you get something off their carts - which is in some way emulating a small, meaningless component of the dim sum experience)

I apologize if this has been said before, I just felt it needed to be stressed. Travel & Leisure needs a spanking.

Apr 18, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

A highly opinionated old Jewish man is taking us out to Yang Chow (Chinatown)

if he says it's best - maybe you should let him order. Does he know his stuff?

Apr 17, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

CNN's best 10 US restaurants for dim sum (hint: not one in the SGV)

Oh yeah? Just made reservations to go tomorrow. Menu and all looked interesting. Got strong marks from Gayot. (whom I find to be pretty reliable).

Apr 16, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

LA Weekly 20 Best Restaurants in LA. I know "Not another list"

Night + Market I like, have been a few times, look forward to going back, but I don't think it would make my top 20.

Angelini Osteria would however.

Probably not Red Medicine either (sorry, I know some people love it - I gave it a second try and found it to be good, just not great).

Also missing.

Alma.

Urasawa.

Craft

Apr 16, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

Chianina Steakhouse that serves, only...guess what?

I stand corrected. I gave it a cursory read and that wasn't quite enough (I assumed it was the same animal - their language kinda implied it), but it is not the same, not raised the same and...the only connection is Italy?

How could they call it Chianina? Jerks. Got excited, but now I'm disappointed.

Apr 16, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

Why does baguette s*ck in this country...

Because you're trying to buy it from a supermarket.

Go to a good bakery.

Apr 15, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area
1

Chianina Steakhouse that serves, only...guess what?

A restaurant in Long Beach that serves only "Chianina" beef (actually it's the same animal, but born and raised in a healthy environment in Utah).

http://www.chianina.com/

Anybody here try it?

Apr 15, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

Mastro's, CUT, or STK? Looking for best steak in LA

I hope you're going to pick out the leading contenders and then come back with your own judgement.

FWIW, here's my list..

Dan Tana's
Chi Spacca
Angelino Osteria
Cut
Nic and Stef's

Apr 15, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

Why does baguette s*ck in this country...

Supermarket baguettes? Get one from a bakery. There are good ones all over the city.

Maison Giraud has great ones.

Had a great one at Rockenwagner bakery too. (Brentwood).

Apr 14, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

Mastro's, CUT, or STK? Looking for best steak in LA

For the best steak -Dan Tana's. Has great atmosphere too. Lotsa character and characters.

Chi Spacca is an interesting choice too.

Apr 14, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

Thrillist's Top 8 Dim Sum Places in LA?

Three jumbo shrimp in one dumpling? That's nearly half a meal right there.

But I think maybe there's a "my bad" in there.

Apr 11, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

Dan Tanas - what to order?

Dabney Coleman steak.

"Lamb chops".

Good Caesar. (too much garlic to be traditionally-perfect, but still satisfying).

Apr 10, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

Chicken Pot Pies?

Marmalade and the Daily Grill.

Apr 08, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

Romantic Italian Restaurants on the West Side?

Il Cielo would be my first choice.

Viletta is also very romantic, and a few rooms to choose from.

Apr 07, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

Help with 'Old' Hollywood Dining itinerary + questions re. Cicada

Sounds like fun! Kind of a location scout.

Impressive list. A other you might consider.

Dominicks. On Beverly Blvd - a real honest to god rat-pack hangout.

"Opened in 1948, Dominick’s used to be harder to get into than Fort Knox. Only friends of friends were able to dine and drink at the exclusive restaurant, which was a Hollywood hangout for Frank Sinatra, his fellow Rat Packers, Marilyn Monroe and other celebs in the 1950s and 60s. After numerous ownership changes over the years, Dominick’s was purchased in 2004 by Warner Ebbink and Brandon Boudet, who also own 101 Coffee Shop and Little Dom’s. The proprietors brought back the spirit of Old Hollywood with a vintage black-and-white tiled floor and deep red leather booths, and lined the walls with a museum’s worth of framed photos of famous guests. The candlelit back patio is the perfect spot to imagine yourself in a romantic scene from Hollywood’s yesteryear."

The Pantry.

La Dolce Vita.
"George Raft - who gained fame for playing gangsters in films such as Some Like It Hot and the original Scarface - was one of the co-owners of La Dolce Vita when it opened in 1966. Raft’s Hollywood connections attracted stars like Frank Sinatra, who frequented the Beverly Hills restaurant along with fellow legends like Sammy Davis Jr., Gregory Peck and Anthony Quinn. Ruben Castro, the restaurant’s maitre d’ for over four decades, told The Hollywood Reporter that Sinatra would order his favorite drink - Jack Daniel’s on the rocks with water - by saying, “Daniel’s, on the rocks!” In 2012, La Dolce Vita dedicated booths to Sinatra and Guy McElwaine, his lifelong friend and agent, with brass name plaques. Sinatra’s favorite table wasn’t the booth that now bears his name - it's a corner booth by the bar that has a clear view of the entrance."

(Guy McElwaine was a jerk - gave a friend of mine herpes on her nipple. How's that for too much information?!)

Apr 06, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area

best 100 yards of food in LA

I was using Microsoft's Streets & Maps.

Close enough.

Apr 05, 2014
foodiemahoodie in Los Angeles Area