Start a romantic evening with a Dungeness crab cake with aioli, caper, lemon, and coleslaw ($15) and a bowl of the soup of the day ($10). Eye entrees like the soft and succulent roasted half chicken with fingerling potatoes, haricots verts, mixed wild mushrooms, and pearl onions ($24) and the braised short ribs with polenta, Swiss chard, and salsa verde ($25). Complete the circle of life by burying your fork in a slice of key lime pie with guava puree and mango sorbet ($10) or the chocolate chocolate chocolate trio ($16), whose richness is so deadly it was, until recently, banned by nonproliferation treaties. If you've recently cycled through Fraiche and think you've tasted it all, try the new lunch menu. The chopped salad with Italian cured meats, tomato, provolone, and chick peas ($13) and the Moroccan lamb sausage sandwich with harissa aioli ($13) offer just the right noontime spice-kick to erase your morning malaise.
Diners at Meet are encouraged to share dishes by the on-staff mom trying to raise upstanding progeny. Politely split an appetizer such as cheese fondue (serves two, $14) or Meet's beets, served with goat cheese and honey-champagne vinaigrette ($10). The moules frites (mussels) come five ways, including au Roquefort (garlic, shallots, Roquefort, chives, and cream) and à la moutarde ancienne (tomato confit, mustard, tarragon, and cream) ($10 for the appetizer, $16 for entree). Pair a side of potato gratin or pommes puree ($5 each) with a classic of French cuisine like cabernet-braised short ribs ($22.95). The planche à fromages (assorted imported cheeses, $11) or pot of chocolate fondue (serves two, $12) brings the meal full circle like a Frisbee thrown into the wind. For a traditional finishing touch, try the tarte tatin (puff pastry, red apples, and caramel, $7).
Cafe Vida's three eateries are spread across greater Los Angeles, but their recipes gracefully straddle the California-Mexico border. Here, healthy Californian cuisine meets Mexican tradition, producing an eclectic, avocado-studded array of breakfasts and dinners. Some dishes stray further from tradition (for example, the avocado sandwich), but they're offset by classics such as grilled chicken burritos and huevos rancheros. Come in the morning and pair the latter with a cup of organic coffee fresh from Yosemite's famed java springs.
Sang Yoon is a loveable madman. At Father's Office, his burger-centric brewpub, he forbids children, menu substitutions, and especially ketchup—he even wrote an essay about the detested condiment for the LA Times. But these quirks simply translate into a no-apology quest for culinary perfection, one that especially shines through in his signature creation, the Office Burger. Called "the most imitated dish in Los Angeles" by LA Weekly, the burger crowns a french roll with a dry-aged beef patty, which is topped with caramelized onions, applewood-smoked bacon, Gruyere and Maytag blue cheeses, a heap of fresh arugula, and tomato compote as a stand-in for his 57-flavor foe. Beyond this beefy giant, the menu features a smattering of tapas-inspired small plates—including cumin-dusted lamb skewers that Voice Places says "collapse in your mouth like a sigh"—and a few heartier, steakhouse-esque dishes. At large booths and a sweeping bar, the staff complements these meals with a rotating, seasonal selection of 36 craft beers on tap, small-batch wines, and spirits from micro distilleries.
Bistro Laurent shows off authentic French delicacies in its relaxed yet stylish dining space, festooned with elegantly framed vintage photographs. Armed with the bistro’s dinner menu, diners can bid bienvenue to the bavette à la Bordelaise ($14.75), a succulent hanger steak finished in a cabernet and onion balsamic reduction. Or, sink your mouth bones into one of the bistro's signature crepes, such as the Florentine, an edible envelope stuffed with spinach, smoked turkey breast, béchamel, parmesan, and elf wishes ($7.75). On the lunch menu, the biquet salad proudly brandishes its crest, emblazoned with goat cheese, grilled chicken, seasonal fresh berries, and grilled pecans ($5.95). Bistro Laurent's robust wine list offers complements for any meal and high praise for any diner who can correctly identify the tannins in a bottle of merlot.
What Pico Café's progenitors established as a modest coffee shop in 1998 has since flourished to become a full-fledged restaurant teeming with vegetarian specialties forged with Kehilla kosher ingredients. Reflecting the eclectic vibe of its South Robertson locale, the menu brims with Mexican, Mediterranean, and Israeli selections, helping to greet the sunrise with crêpe and omelets, while sating late-night cravings with quesadillas, pasta, and traditional mallawah. Patrons can curl up on the patio or in the intimate dining room with an espresso, smoothie, or milk shake created to pair perfectly with fresh-bread selections, which, like the sunrise or leases from an amnesiac landlord, arrive daily.