The edible delights at Enoteca radiate rustic authenticity from the comprehensive menu. Antipasti anchor the easy vibes, so dive finger-first into platters of grilled polenta and wild mushrooms ($13), or beef carpaccio with foie gras ($15). The usual suspects done creatively are all present during subsequent courses, including napoletana pizza heavy with anchovies and garlic ($13), seafood and squid ink risotto ($17), veal scallopine ($27), and the meatless burrata salad with mozzarella, green lentils, roasted beets, and asparagus ($13). Complement the edibles with sippables comprising more than 250 bottles of wine from the 20 regions of Italy in glasses, flights, and quartinos.
Audiences enjoy cultural euphony amid the Spanish baroque themes of the Louisville Palace. In the lobby, a vaulted ceiling sculpted with historical faces looms above columns that swirl with flashes of cobalt and crimson. Once inside, patrons can marvel at the deep-scarlet proscenium or pull out their collapsible telescopes to gaze at the simulated night sky above.
Behind padded, black-leather doors, a modern speakeasy resides. In an elegant mishmash of styles, chandeliers and a gleaming white baby grand piano give way to the cement floors and thumping music of a European-style discotheque. A full bar mixes up premium cocktails, and the kitchen keeps stomach rumbles to a minimum with shrimp-tempura rolls and moroccan-spiced chicken.
Profiled in the LA Weekly and Minx Society blogs, Cellar 55's Italian-American dishes and fully stocked wine bar quell rumbling stomachs and hydrate parched throats. Diners can peruse a menu inscribed with 14 appetizer options while choosing a savory starter, such as the baked lobster bisque, a pastry puff oozing with cognac-splashed Maine lobster ($12), or the mozzarella-stuffed, bacon wrapped dates ($9). The golden eye specialty pizza layers gooey mozzarella and feta toppings atop sunny-side-up eggs like an optometrist fitting eyeballs with spectacles coated in shredded cheese ($13). The bencotto's ensemble of sliced potatoes and capers pleases vegan palates ($13), and the grilled scallop pizza coats throats with pink sauce speckled with parmesan cheese, herbs, and scallops ($15). Try pours from Cellar 55's diverse white and red wines, including the 2009 soave infused with honeydew melon and a splash of butterscotch ($10/glass), or a 2007 Swanson merlot slowly milked from a cabinet of California tax records.
Ravi and Sunitha Koneru don't much care for limitations. Not in their food, their decor, or their vision. When designing the menu for Chakra Cuisine they saw the entirety of India as a source of inspiration, from the tandoori of the North and the curries of the South to the street food of Bombay and the recipes of their native Hyderbad. And then they looked even further. What they found were ingredients such as banana leaves, scallops, and caramelized pineapples—ingredients rarely used in Indian cuisine that expertly matched the flavor profiles they dreamed up. The result is a blend of traditional and modern, where classic dishes such as chicken tikka masala segue into spicy reinventions, including a vegetable masala quiche.
The dining space is likewise a mix of old and new. Indian accents anchor the sleek, contemporary aesthetic of the dining room and private lounge, while colors drawn from the dishes themselves combine to create a cohesive backdrop. Red and gold dominate the interior, but brighter colors surround the bar, notably inside its seven specialty martinis. As for the outdoor patios, their tables center around a circular fire pit, whose flames tempt guests to sit amid the mandarin-orange trees and tell scary stories about hitchhikers with samosas for hands.
In an opulent, Eastern-inspired dining room that steeps in the scents of intoxicating spices, Nirvana blends classic Indian cuisine with the sophistication of Beverly Hills. Chefs call on both traditional Indian grilling methods and the excitement of new flavors to prepare an assortment of unusual dishes, ranging from unique curries and tandoori breads to whole legs of lamb marinated in Indian rum and spices. Beyond the vibrant mural and white booths of the dining room, the lounge and bar lure patrons in with the comfort of canopied beds, damask sofas, and the tranquil gaze of a giant Buddha's head. A flowing river—sealed with glass to protect feet from above and seafood escapees from below—runs along the floor and leads guests through each of the restaurant's distinct areas.