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Los Angeles residents have gone far too long without an accessible, casual, quality French brasserie. Now, from the experienced hand of Alain Giraud, formerly of Bastide, comes Anisette Brasserie. Located around the corner from the 3rd Street promenade, Anisette achieves the hustle and bustle of a Parisian eatery upon first glance: Diners are greeted by fresh seafood on ice — mussels and tremendous oysters — high ceilings, and a dynamic bar stacked high with luminescent glass bottles. Everything inside feels completely authentic and utterly Parisian. Diners can enjoy tender, melt-in-your-mouth steak frites or duck confit served by a smiling, friendly waiter.
Chef Giraud’s breakfast menu is equally delectable, offering an American breakfast (protein-heavy with two eggs, any style), a French breakfast (carb-heavy with two pastries, any style), as well as other egg options, like Anisette omelets with goat cheese feta, red peppers, wild arugula and mushrooms. The savory croissant includes turkey, Gruyere, scrambled eggs, sautéed spinach and slices of vine-ripe tomatoes. A nice escape to Paris right on the West side.
There’s a new club kid in town: Foxtail, the latest venture from nightlife impresario Sam Nazarian’s SBE Group, combines a sophisticated menu with a glamorous Art Deco-style dining room. After dinner, patrons can head upstairs to the exclusive nightclub. Opened last month, Foxtail runs like an old-school supper club. The food is European bistro fare (French and Italian favorites), and Antonia Lofaso (formerly of Spago and TV’s “Top Chef”) offers what may be the best moules frites in the city. It’s clear Lofaso considers food an art, not just a necessity. Foxtail has created its own version of Happy Hour — the ninth hour — where cocktails and smaller bites are $9. For that price, diners can enjoy mini croque monsieurs or ricotta bruschetta, as well as specialty cocktails such as Uva Bellas (green grapes with gin, St-Germain, lemon juice and orange bitters) or Poisoned Roses that are specialties of the house (vodka, Lillet Rouge, organic cider, essence of rose and a splash of citrus).
Palate Food + Wine
Tucked away on a boulevard of car dealerships and showrooms in Glendale is a mecca for foodies and oenophiles alike: Palate Food + Wine. The brainchild of Octavio Becerra, former head chef of the Patina restaurant group, Palate provides a decadent and adventurous menu for diners, a hip, private wine bar, a cheese cellar (featuring house-made salumi and chorizo) and a retail shop stocking rare and up-and-coming wines starting at $18. Palate also serves as a private wine cellar where individuals can store their own collections. Palate’s menu is concise — just one page, compared with nearly 10 pages of wines — yet adventurous. Some selections include coddled eggs drizzled with truffle oil, or unusual meat dishes like pork belly and oxtail. Mason jars have their own section on the menu, and include potted poulet and Berkshire pork.
Blvd. 16 is the newest attraction for those seeking fresh, locally grown ingredients and naturally raised meats. Located inside the city’s newest boutique hotel, Hotel Palomar in Westwood, Blvd. 16 is built on what was once a farm field producing wheat and grains. The interior stays true to its roots: Inside, diners find earth tones — nutty browns, grainy taupes and deep greens — even extending to the color schemes of the plates.
Ingredients are found locally, producing a constantly changing menu with a full page of daily specials. Squash carpaccio topped with shaved white truffles and beef tenderloin with truffled goat cheese are among the options. At the bar, drinks are infused with fresh- squeezed juices and herbs. Simon Dolinky, a San Diego surfer-turned-chef, is ambitious and cutting-edge in a town where corporate recipes usually rule hotel fare.
After a string of evenings club-hopping and bar-bouncing, exhaustion and exasperation can set in, and a refined night on the town might be in order. The latest venture from Ivan Kane (of Forty Deuce nightclubs in Hollywood and Las Vegas) is Café Wa s, a restaurant, piano bar and lounge. The interior resembles the Haunted Mansion more than any trendy Hollywood club: There are hidden lounges and several winding staircases, one leading into a mirrored wall. The result is an exclusive speakeasy atmosphere. The centerpiece of Wa s is the revolving Mason & Hamlin 1924 oversize ivory grand piano. If the piano bar, thick wood and dark lighting doesn’t convince you that you’ve stepped back in time, the drinks surely will. The bar serves classic cocktails and offers an extensive wine and Champagne menu served by the glass, bottle or flask. Café Wa s officially opens July 30.