The white tablecloths and high-backed cream-colored banquettes found at Shilo’s Kosher Steakhouse, are a rarity on this stretch of strip malls, chain stores and more casual restaurants along Pico Boulevard in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood. This high-end kosher eatery has made its name by combining a steakhouse menu with religious dietary laws and refuses to compromise on either end. There are salads, seafood entrées and pastas here to sample, but the stars of the show are the steak cuts, each wet-aged in house for three to four weeks and backed by one of Shiloh’s steak sauces. Those looking for quality at a lower price would do well to check out Shiloh’s Kobe Burger, coupled with the New York Onion Rings.
In Gaucho Grill's kitchen, juicy steaks and marinated poultry sizzle on grills, sending the rich aroma of Argentine cuisine drifting through the restaurant's rustic interior. Savory mushrooms and veggies garnish meats on intimate lamp-lit tables surrounded by knotty timber walls, rough slate arches, and lariat-hurling ranchers. Dulcet treats of flan, mousse, and crepes cap South American feasts with notes of sweetness, and glasses of fruit-packed Argentine wines tastefully complement choice selections from the grill.
Fusion steakhouse Kravings channels Brazilian rodizio-style cooking with an unlimited supply of fire-roasted meat served tableside. Order the rodizio special and display nondiscriminatory nibbling practices on up to 12 premium meat cuts, such as steaks, chicken, pork, and seafood, presented on giant skewers or cedar planks and carved at the table ($16.95 for lunch, $37.95–$39.95 for dinner). Unlimited helpings of flame-licked meats—including tequila-lime chicken, leg of lamb, and filet mignon wrapped in bacon—test stomach storage space, and à la carte dinner entrees, such as lamb chops seasoned with mint-chardonnay sauce ($33.95), set a finite finish on jaw calisthenics. All rodizio specials come with a side and salad buffet that purveys more than 30 mammal-free and seasonal options, including soups, salads, sushi, and smoked salmon.
Dark wood interiors and pleasant music from the centerpiece pianist surround eaters at Buggy Whip's comfy surf-and-turf dining den. The extensive menu offers a host of nourishments. Start by diving for fruits of the sea like the fresh oysters ($12.95 for eight) or smoked salmon ($12.95) before departing on a more filling journey by sailing a canoe of roast beef through a tasty rivulet of au jus ($29.95–$36.95). Buggy Whip's famous Green Goddess dressing adds a divine touch to their crisp salads, which sidekick giant entrée platters, such as the apple sauce-adorned jumbo pork chops ($26.95) and gargantuan slab of the juicy 20- to 22-ounce Delmonico bone-in sirloin steak ($29.95). Nautical tongue travelers can survey Davy Jones's meat locker for marine meals like the Alaska halibut ($26.95) or the scampi butter-soaked, sautéed calamari steak ($21.95).
If you had been lucky enough to get into Musso and Frank Grill’s Back Room back in the 1930s, you might have seen William Faulkner mixing a mint julep. Because the restaurant was across the street from the Screen Writers Guild, its Back Room became a discreet hangout for some of America's greatest authors, including Fitzgerald and Steinbeck (and later Bukowski and Vonnegut). Faulkner was such a regular that the bartenders just started letting him step behind the bar to mix his own drinks. At one point, the Los Angeles Times celebrated the Back Room’s reputation by saying that if you'd sat there long enough you “would have seen every living writer you had ever heard of, and some you would not know until later.” Musso’s has been a Hollywood landmark since 1919—it's older, in fact, than the Hollywood sign—and in nearly 100 years of business, not much has changed. The restaurant is in its third generation of family ownership. And due to an impossibly labyrinthine kitchen, it has only seen three executive chefs. The current chef, J.P. Amateau, oversees a classic menu with dishes such as grilled lamb kidneys (allegedly Chaplin’s favorite) and flannel cakes, a thinner, sweeter version of the pancake often ordered by Greta Garbo and Gary Cooper. Perhaps the only major difference is that the Back Room is no longer there, though its bar and furniture can still be seen in the New Room. Musso's—a member of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America and a featured destination in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die—has a staff nearly as renowned as its clientele. One of its servers, Louie, has been there since 1957, and another, Ruben, was once given an autographed Gibson by regular guest Keith Richards. Manny, who has been behind the bar for nearly 25 years, purportedly makes the country’s best martini. When ranking Musso’s as one of the Best Bars in America, Esquire said the martini was one that “Bogart would’ve judged worthy of the name.” One can only wonder how it would have stacked up against one of Faulkner’s juleps.