Sedthee welcomes diners with a warm atmosphere and gracious hospitality. The menu is packed with traditional Thai cuisine, including stir-fried dishes, hearty curries, and delicately flavored desserts. Start a gustatory voyage with the prosperous baby––baby back ribs in Thai herbs and flash fried for a texture bonus ($8.95)––before delving deeper into the dark heart of flavor with the Jungle Feast, which bathes crispy duck (or vegan soy duck) in a tub of sweet pineapple, grapes, and a spicy coconut-milk forest curry made with freshly-ground spices ($13.95). Sedthee's specialty spicy lamb chops come grass-fed from New Zealand to get a marinated coat of Thai spices ($15.95), and Devil's fried rice, which comes with a choice of chicken, beef, pork, or tofu ($7.95), and the creamy medium spice of the Panang curry, made with fresh, hand-juiced coconut milk (starting at $7.95), can please traditionalist palates. A dessert order of taro custard cake à la mode ($5.95) places the sweet end cap on top of the dinner pipe.
You could argue that every meal at Gaucho's Village includes live entertainment—servers are constantly visiting tables with humongous skewers of meat and slicing off choice pieces with a sword-like knife. To summon such a show to your table, all you need to do is turn a small marker over to display its green side, or turn your "Bring on the Meat" t-shirt right-side out. Then, you select from an array of flame-roasted cuts, ranging from the traditional picanha, or sirloin cap, to tri-tip and filet mignon wrapped in bacon. The blazing churrasco fires backstage also cook lamb, pork, and sausage, and the menu suggests a proper wine pairing for each cut.
Though these meats have been featured on the Travel Channel's Tastiest Places to Chow Down, they aren't the only impressive spectacle at the restaurant. The real show occurs on weekends, when samba dancers and DJs rev up the always-festive atmosphere. Guests who would rather kick back than shimmy along can visit the attached lounge. There, a separate lounge menu boasts empanadas and coxinha—fried balls of chicken and cheese—as well as flavored hookah on a back patio fenced with live bamboo.
Cozy candlelight and flickering lanterns cast soft shadows in 55 Degree Wine’s cellar, where waiters eagerly pair customers’ palates with weekly rotating wines. Featured on Best of LA Weekly in 2012 for its wine program, the winery stocks more than 2,000 labels, of which up to 60 are spotlighted in the cellar’s monthly lineup of pours. Though most vintages are Italian, ambrosias from Europe, South America, and other far-flung climes find homes in the shop after being tasted and approved by store owners. The thermostat, appropriately set to 55 degrees, helps keep elixirs fresh and patrons comfortable, but guests may wish to bring a sweater or particularly affectionate bear.
In the intimate confines of Atwater Playhouse, a new 45-seat theater, acting teachers impart the skills behind not acting. Most commonly known as method acting, their style hinges on actually feeling a character's emotions, rather than simply mimicking them. This immersive approach, used by greats such as Meryl Streep and Al Pacino, has landed students roles in productions such as The Dark Knight Rises, Drive, and Weeds.
A retail shop outfitted with a tasting bar, Colorado Wine Company is run by owners John and Jennifer Nugent, who offer a friendly, laid-back environment for mingling and sipping. Each Tuesday night, fervent taste buds will traipse through a flight of four wines, presented specifically by the wines' importers and winemakers. Artisanal cheeses from Auntie Em's Cheese Shop are on hand to complement and flatter each glass and palate, and you can purchase bottles (many under $25) to re-create tastings at home for dinner guests and monocle-wearing cats.
Captained by executive chef Sean Poplar, Barbarella’s kitchen dishes out a seasonal menu of highly sophisticated, eclectic cuisine. When possible, dishes contain local, organic, and hormone-free ingredients sure to please carnivores, herbivores, and their hybrid omnivore offspring. Start off a supper with a rich burrata bruschetta loaded with prosciutto and sun-dried tomato pesto ($11) or a satisfyingly savory hummus with teriyaki mushrooms and hot loaves of pita ($11). Protein-packed platters, such as a braised short rib with crispy polenta and brussels sprout chips ($15) or Pacific salmon with rice cake, shitake mushrooms, and ponzu ($15), stifle deafening belly roars, and veggie dishes such as the mushroom risotto with shaved scallions and truffle oil ($8) lightly tickle the appetite into a blissful slumber. An assortment of pizzas, including a delicious discus topped with chicken sausage and parmesan reggiano ($16), are created using egg-free dough whipped up by Barbarella’s cooks in-house, not in the car on the way to the restaurant.
Throughout the 1970s, KC & the Sunshine Band soundtracked countless nights of disco balls spinning and bellbottoms flapping with hits such as "That's The Way (I Like It)" and "I'm Your Boogie Man." Each cut teems with upstroke guitar intermingling with celebratory bursts from the horn section and the full-bodied tenor of frontman Harry Wayne "K.C." Casey. Whether he's telling the audience to get down on that very night or shake their collective booty, K.C. gleefully belts partying orders like a drill sergeant at a singles mixer as he claps and patrols the Greek's outdoor stage. The pine trees of Griffith Park tower over his funk collective while they blast their hook-laden cuts and infectious optimism into the night.