ancy restaurants did not fare well in Los Angeles last year, said Patric Kuh in Los Angeles magazine. Tasting menus vanished, folded dish towels replaced cloth napkins, communal tables elbowed out private booths, and “beer became the new pour.” These newcomers are determined to restore dining to its rightful place “as a cornerstone of our daily lives.” The two best are:
Palate, housed in a former warehouse in Glendale, combines a “lyrical menu” with a “deep wine list” and reasonable prices. Behind the main dining room are a wine store, a library, and communal tables. Chef Octavio Becerra creates such “blessedly uncomplicated” dishes as potted Berkshire pork with an assortment of pickled onions, nectarines, and cherries; a chicken dish “reduced to chicharrón consistency”; and Wagyu beef served with torpedo onions, charred carrots, and oxtail sauce. “This is produce-driven cooking at its finest.” 933 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale, (818) 662-9463
Gjelina The “quirky chandeliers, unvarnished wood appointments, and cozy courtyard” establish this Venice restaurant’s laid-back quality. The best items come out of the wood-fired oven, including roasted cauliflower; sunchokes with chili flakes and charred rosemary; and “wickedly good” flatiron steaks with smoked tomato butter and grilled beets. The wait can be long, but any restaurant this devoted to its craft is worth it. 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 450-1429
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