A small flight of stairs leads guests down into a rustically decorated room, which evokes the ambiance of a subterranean wine cellar with its earthen arches, barrel-lined walls, and soft chandelier lighting. Designed by the artisans who created Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean, the dining room appeals to a similarly nostalgic whimsy. However, the cooks slightly modernize the menu's historic European roots by introducing unexpected ingredients.
The chefs elevate simple grilled-cheese sandwiches by slipping in braised short ribs, caramelized shallots, and horseradish cream alongside the gruyere and monterey jack cheeses, and a splash of cognac adds even more richness to the silken lobster bisque. Thai barbecue-glazed tofu and basmati rice also help to distinguish the menu by lending it a distinctly international flare.
Staying true to its name, The Cellar proudly features a 1,400-bottle wine list, which, according to the staff, helped to garner the restaurant Wine Spectator's exclusive Grand Award. The selection includes familiar staples, boutique producers, and rare vintages from virtually every major wine-producing region except the Marianas Trench.
Tony Alcazar spent six years cooking in the kitchen of the Ritz-Carlton Pasadena under Michelin-rated chef Craig Strong. It was there that he learned the “Modern American” style of cooking, a simple yet elegant approach that favors seasonal ingredients and contemporary cooking techniques. He brought this unique style to The Bottle Room, along with his love of craft beer, and fused the two. Chef Alcazar’s menu includes Sriracha-honey chicken lollipops and tacos filled with slow-braised beef cheeks, dishes cooked with a simple elegance and often a splash of craft beer. Those looking to turn that splash into a pint need only browse the extensive beer menu. Though it rotates frequently, expect to see brews from Rogue Brewing Company in Portland, Abbaye De Scourmont in Belgium, and Bear Republic Brewing Company in Healdsburg, California. The Bottle Room also features wines from California, Italy, France, and Spain.
Inside Chapter One: The Modern Local, high, lofted ceilings, geometric light fixtures, and chunky wooden furnishings complement Executive Chef David Martinico's menu of seasonal contemporary cuisine. Patrons clink glasses of handpicked brews or craft cocktails⎯such as the restaurant's signature moscow mule⎯as they dine on locally sourced produce and humane meat. Meals draw on flavors from across the globe: étoufée fries covered in spicy Cajun roux bespeak a New Orleans influence, and yakisoba stir-fries and a housemade sausage topped in kimchi import East Asian tastes. The Frank Sinatra–themed Sunday brunch pairs classic dishes such as brioche french toast with bacon-bourbon bloody marys and other creative drinks. Chapter One: the modern local also breaks up up the drudgery of the workweek with regular events such as charity bingo, jazz performances, and a fortnightly burning of uncomfortable business shoes.
Situated in the heart of Old World Village, The Grubb Haus treats persnickety taste buds to a host of creatively styled comfort fare and decadent fried desserts. A spread of sandwiches and platters fills the lunch menu, abating midday cravings with a salisbury steak sandwich guarded by a moat of mashed potatoes and gravy ($10.95) or the Hillbilly burger, a half-pound patty battered, deep-fried, and buried beneath corn, bacon, and american cheese ($9.95 for lunch; $10.99 for dinner). International influences run wild throughout the dinner menu, with orders of pumpkin-filled ravioli with chicken ($15.99) entertaining taste buds alongside penne pollo porcini ($16.50) and goulash with German dumplings ($11.99). The Grubb Haus also offers diners sweet meal-making denouements via indulgent, deep-fried treats ($2.49–$4.99), including Twinkies and Oreos, which they can devour or smugly savor in front of salivating passersby on a pet-friendly outdoor patio.
Steingarten LA’s dining room, awash with muted golden tones and dominated by a kaleidoscopic art piece, doesn’t immediately scream German biergarten. Its menu, however, astutely outlines the restaurant’s integral blend of hearty Old-World fare and contemporary California cuisine. More than 20 varieties of sausage—including traditional bratwursts and spicy lamb links as well as game offerings of wild boar and berry—sit beneath toppings of pickles or house mustard. Each of the 8-ounce burger patties is made from grass-fed, antibiotic- and hormone-free beef, and can be custom-built with toppings such as smoked mozzarella and applewood bacon. True to form as a German-inspired eatery, Steingarten accents their food with exhaustive drink lists, including a beer list with German, Belgian, and American craft brews on tap. Creative cocktails include a white manhattan, made from clear American whiskey, and a cocktail of the month that has been aged in a used whiskey barrel.
With a drink in hand, patrons can stroll over to Steingarten’s intimate outdoor patio flanked with high stone walls and trellis-climbing ivies. In one corner, rosy cushioned benches surround a slender fire pit that flickers subliminal messages from behind a glass enclosure. The ivy motif also manifests in wrought-metal curlicues on each door and over the beverage fridge that takes up an entire wall at the bar.
The Fat Dog is a welcoming Hollywood gastropub that exploits the canine theme both in its tasteful dÌ©cor and in its playfully named drinks and menu items. Paintings of English bulldogs hang in the dining room above black booths and long, wooden communal tables flanked by low stools. (Guests can even study the breeds of the American Kennel Association, pictured on the wallpaper in the bathrooms.) There‰Ûªs also a full bar and a pooch-friendly patio. Casual sandwiches like the braised short rib French dip and generous sirloin burger with manchego cheese pair well with the array of domestic and imported craft beers, while more sophisticated dishes like beet salad with chÌ¬vre and hazelnut vinaigrette or honey-lavender roasted chicken are a good match for the well-edited, worldly wine list. Comforting desserts like banana cream pie and crafty, canine-conscious cocktails like the ‰ÛÏChocolate Labtini‰Û� provide a sweet finish.