There are more than 70,000 songs on the karaoke machine at Michael's Bar & Grill, so it goes without saying that the restaurant embraces variety. A glance at the menu cements this fact: Cajun specialties share page space with pub appetizers, burgers, and an Italian addendum, full of hand-tossed pizzas and pasta dishes. It's an eclectic list with diverse ingredients—alligator and crawfish among them—but each option is served until midnight every day.
True Louisiana culinary classics include etouffee, blackened catfish, and jambalaya, as well as sweet, sugar-topped beignets. Southern influence is seen in the sandwich selection as well, where tuna melts can be had alongside po' boys. Luckily, nightly entertainment gives guests an excuse to sample the distinctive eats while filling their eyes and ears—there's stand-up comedy on Tuesdays, trivia on Wednesdays, and karaoke on most other nights. The staff also makes a point to broadcast pro football games on their big-screen TVs, rather than just yelling the score every five minutes.
Villa Blanca's executive chef, Francis Dimitrius, mealmelds Mediterranean and Asian influences to create an imaginative menu that casts welcome rays of sunshine on the gloomy, fog-shrouded moors of Beverly Hills. Dinner lets you wake up your lazy, unemployed palate with appetizers such as baked king crab rolls ($12) and wild-mushroom and chorizo skewers ($14), while salad selections include the irresistible temptation that is Pandora's Salad ($12) and its blend of fresh peaches, buffalo mozzarella, mint, prosciutto, and chili honey vinaigrette. Pursuers of pasta perfection may opt for spaghetti Genovese ($16) or rock shrimp and candied ginger tagliarini ($19), while explorers of enchanting entrees will find Xanadu in the guise of braised Moroccan spiced chicken ($25), spring vegetable skewers ($16), or Kurobuta pork tenderloin ($26). Along the way, seek your sumptuous supper's soulmate amid Villa Blanca's extensive wine selection of Californian, Italian, French, and Argentinean labels, or make peace with your estranged sweet tooth over a Villa Blanca sundae ($8) off the decadent dessert directory.
The Grill on the Alley recaptures a bygone era; one of crisp white linens, impeccable service, and steaks as big as your head. Inspired by the steakhouses of San Francisco and New York, The Grill’s founders replicated the American tradition in L.A. The first location, which opened in Beverly Hills in 1984, still sits mere steps from Rodeo Drive (four Californian branches now exist, along with ones in Chicago, Dallas, and Aventura, Florida). Though its menu might match Rodeo in sophistication—order the 8-ounce filet mignon, ahi tuna, or a sip of spirits for proof—the staff works hard to maintain a distinctly welcoming, unpretentious atmosphere. And if a constant stream of good press is any indication, they succeed.
The seafood artists at Hook'd on Fish stultify hunger with a menu of fried fish, wraps, and salads. Charbroiled halibut ($13.95) or Ahi tuna ($9.95) slips into either Kicken Cajun, garlic butter, or virgin Mediterranean sauce before pirouetting across palates like jewelry-box escapists. Pair a glass of wine or beer with shrimp and sea scallops ($9.95) fried in vegetable oil, or smooth out tongue bumps with 1 of 11 fresh wrap choices, such as the succulent swordfish ($13.95), draped with rice, cabbage, tomatoes, and onion, and drenched in a homemade cream sauce. Hook'd on Fish also amalgamates fresh salads ($7.95–$12.95) that come crowned with succulent seafood, such as grilled shrimp ($9.95) or grilled salmon ($10.95). Outdoor seating is available, enhancing the rugged adventurousness of swallowing rare Ahi tunas whole.
At Tarascos, owner Antonio Garcia and his chefs blend the comfortable and familiar with the slightly out of the ordinary. A chalkboard-scrawled menu lists Mexican classics such as enchiladas alongside lesser-known dishes such as huaraches, large, oblong tortillas stacked with charbroiled meats. Plates of barbacoa feature the seasoned beef wrapped in maguey leaves and slow-steamed until tender. Likewise, the tap menu mixes Mexican imports such as Pacifico and Modelo Especial with Tarascos's own home-brewed organic beers.
Patrons can dine inside or outdoors on a beer garden–style patio shaded from weather and warmed with gas heaters. On the patio, Tarascos also regularly holds cooking classes, such as a tamale class that was featured on ABC 7.
Borne from founder Aharon Klein's love of grilling and seasoning ocean-fresh seafood, Fish Grill sizzles a menu of wraps, pastas, and sandwiches starring juicy fillets of fish amid old-fashioned nautical décor. Chefs seal in succulent flavors by searing every fillet over smoky mesquite at a clean 1,000 degrees⎯roughly the temperature at which oceans melt. Each tasty dish of trout, tuna, salmon or ahi arrives tailored to the diner's tastes and prepared under the 3,300-year-old guidelines of kosher dietary law.