A new season means new food, something to thankfully look forward to when the weather takes its chill and the sun heads home earlier and earlier each day. Between new restaurants like Next Door by Josie, Pici Enoteca, and Eat. Good. Clean. Food, as well as the local obsession with seasonal product among veterans like Ammo, Palihouse, and Whist, there's an abundance of alluring new dishes to chase down around town in the months ahead. With Mezze's lamb bacon, Windows Lounge's mini tortas carnitas, and sweetbread poppers from Michael's luring us in, let's take a look at 20 new dishes we can't wait to get our mouths on this fall.
Mezze 401 N. La Cienega Blvd. Hollywood; 310-657-4103
Lamb belly leapt into our hearts through mouth-watering showcases at Peruvian Chimu and Singaporean-inspired Spice Table over the past year. Mezze chef Micah Wexler just boosted this soft slab of braised, cured, and smoked lamb bacon dusted with vadouvan onto his menu of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-influenced recipes. If the name isn't enough to seduce you, the complete melt-in-the-mouth collapse and graceful composition of black and white fennel swipes should surely lure you in.
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Chicken Apricot Pot Pie
Palihouse 8465 Holloway Dr. West Hollywood. 323-656-4020
Starting in September, Waterloo & City chef Brendan Collins returned to these old stomping grounds to consult the restaurant, resulting in a brand new menu of small plates in collaboration with chefs de cuisine Ryan D. Digby and Rui Wang. Given the British aptitude for making savory pie, we have high hopes that this personal-sized, crock-bound version of this U.S. supper staple, marrying whole roasted chicken meat picked from the bone with Mediterranean apricots, baked under a lid of golden puff pastry, is certain to be a stand-out.
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Fried Green Tomato Rings
SmithHouse 10351 Santa Monica Blvd. Westwood; 310-432-4360
Need a new drinking partner? When salty fries sound tired or onion rings too greasy, but you still need a companion for your cold beer, these crisp golden loops of fried green tomato, served with Old Bay salt and a ranch-based dipping sauce, might threaten to take their places. Created by Top Chef vet Angelo Sosa, we're just satisfied knowing someone is out there conceiving of new concepts for the realm of handheld snacks.
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Pork Belly Potstickers
WP24 900 W Olympic Blvd. Downtown; 213-743-8824; Available Sunday nights
WP24 just launched its Sunday evening dim sum service, featuring the ultra-opulent Chinese cooking that Puck's latest project is famous for, as envisioned by chef Sara Johannes. These fat pockets of finely minced pork belly mixed with dried cherries and the usual suspects like ginger and scallion should compete for the attentions we once reserved for the restaurant's delectable pork belly bao.
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Michael's 1147 3rd St. Santa Monica; 310-451-0843; Served 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. Monday through Friday
Finally the defanged chain concept of "poppers" meets the disquieting deliciousness of veal sweetbreads, in a rather adorable appearance for offal, we may add. These fried fatties, recently introduced on the restaurant's happy hour menu at six dollars a plate, sit atop a shallow pool of whole grain mustard aioli. But who are we kidding? They had us at "sweetbread poppers."
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Japanese Duck Confit Tacos
Komida 1738 N Orange Dr. Hollywood; 323-871-2262; Available starting October 6th, Thursdays 5:00 to 9:00 P.M. and Saturdays 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. Additional hours are planned in November.
Yamashiro's breakout hit of a taco stand, found over spring and summer at its hilltop farmers market, survives into the new season with a pop-up of Brock Kleweno's Japanese tacos at the former H. Wood club in Hollywood. As Cacao Mexicatessen taught us, duck makes for an enthralling update on pork carnitas, leaving us eager to get our hands on Kleweno's duck confit tacos in a spiced Hoisin Sauce, topped with a salsa of fresh diced plums and nectarines.
Tony DiSalvo's perfectionist leanings frequently result in pure takes on far-flung international recipes. As our hunger for Vietnamese food seldom gets satiated, especially this far west, we look forward to trying the chefs' shrimp toast finger sandwiches, pressed between meticulously sculpted, symmetrical slices of toasted bread with Vietnamese herbs, with a side of grapefruit and small salad of bean sprouts
After stints living in Mexico and Singapore during his various tours of duty as a Four Seasons chef, Ashley James was recently inspired to introduce a short menu of international street eats to The Four Seasons Beverly Hills' Windows Lounge. That these mini tortas carnitas look much more like pambazos, with their dipped, cheese-sprinkled red buns, is far from a bad thing, giving us hope for a moist, possibly even sloppy, collaboration in these small sandwiches of shredded pork laced with shards of pickled onion.
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Fried Fontina Ravioli
Pici Enoteca 212 S. Beverly Dr. Beverly Hills; 310-274-7424; Served Monday through Saturday, 7:00 P.M.-10:00 P.M.
Owner Jason Harley's new Pici revives an old Italian street style that finds the chef sizzling this ravioli's breaded shell for a derivation on the well-known pasta's exterior. Served for seven dollars over happy hour, the colorful dish sits pretty as a painting. With a crisp carapace and core of creamy fontina cheese, we're looking forward to messing up this pretty picture.
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Spicy Chinese Chicken Wings
Beechwood 822 Washington Blvd. Venice; 310-448-8884
Roy Choi recently assumed kitchen duties at this Marina del Rey mainstay in an effort to introduce a few new dishes and dust off the old recipes while fleshing out his next concept, a West Indian-inspired restaurant due here in late fall. The chef's ability to expertly balance heat is one of the many expert assets that keeps us hot on his trail, so these Chinese chicken wings with hot mustard dipping sauce are already calling our names. Best of all, as Spinal Tap's great gourmand Nigel Tufnel would note, "No bones!"
Chef John Sedlar is L.A.'s chief curator and de-facto fanboy of all things tamale, an obsession he's long planned to manifest in a local tamale museum. Here the visionary chef, long dedicated to a study of southwest and Latin flavors, as well as L.A.'s own culinary history, plays with the city's passion for Southeast Asian edibles in these new Thai tamales. A turmeric-soaked husk bursts with corn-studded masa, shrimp, and coconut curry under a squiggle of green papaya salad and a few lingering pepitas, all with a halo of red bell pepper. Sounding a bit like a microcosm of the everyday Angeleno diet, we can't wait to see what Sedlar has in store here.
If the legendary French-American fare at Josie LeBalch's Josie long felt out of your price range, this six-dollar starter of deviled eggs at the recently opened Next Door by Josie is an ideal introduction to her new comfort-skewing, more affordable side. Served with pickled beets and scallions, this classic cocktail party creature gets a lift through a scattering of light, crunchy duck cracklings on top of the little devils.
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Osaka 6327 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood; 323-785-0360
While L.A.'s hunger for Peruvian flavors grows, causa hasn't exactly threatened to replace ceviche, anticucho, or pollo a la brasa as a favorite dish. At Hollywood's new Osaka, three different combinations arrive together on thinner beds of the mashed potatoes than usual, providing a multi-layered, multi-textured stack of raw fish and micro-herbs balancing on the dab of causa. Ingredients that stand to enjoy their emphasis include chalaquita and chives with tuna, avocado and rocoto cream with crab, and shrimp with red curry and leek sauce (from left).
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Fajita and Chorizo Sliders
Taberna Mexicana 369 N. Bedford Dr. Beverly Hills; 310-858-7070
; Available on the bar menu
After the countless cultural hybrids that have transformed our tacos over the past two years, it's refreshing to find two Mexican-influenced burgers vying for our affections. Chef Alex Padilla brings these sliders to his bar menu of seven dollar items, with a fajita burger accessorized by strips of grilled poblano, fresh avocado, grilled onions, and a soft melt of Cabrales cheese, all adding their characters to a classic. Meanwhile, the chorizo burger packs a sublime crunch, wrapped with a crispy belt of crispy cheese-encrusted chicharron, mushrooms, and a spread of chipotle aioli.
While this serene dish of figs on a plate looks simple at first, a long list of luxury ingredients and Paul Shoemaker's scrupulous attention to detail quickly proves this creation quite elaborate. Here a line of sliced Mission Black figs marinated in port spice reduction and dressed in Arbiquino 100% EVOO curves into soft wedges of Monte Enebro goat cheese and honey-drenched almonds from Casa Dumetz Farm, all with the aid of a little fresh ground pepper and fluer de sel.
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Ammo 1155 N. Highland Ave. Hollywood; 323-871-2666.
Since three out of four physicians insist that not every day can be a lamb bacon and chorizo slider kind of day, we look forward to the direct simplicity of this newly farmed starter dish at Ammo, an earthy arrangement of French breakfast radishes sprinkled with flakes of crunchy sea salt, served with a square slab of organic butter from Straus Creamery.
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Chicken Sausage Stuffed Dates
The Tripel 333 Culver Blvd. Playa Del Rey; 310-821-0333
Brooke Williamson continues her exploration of turbo-charged pub grub that started at Redondo Beach's Hudson House. Among a number of internationally-influenced small plates we'd like to pair with one of the bar's draft Victory Golden Monkey Tripel are these plump caramelized dates stuffed with ground chicken sausage wading in a creamy red piquillo sauce.
No perfucntory redo, this frequently shifting La Cienega space finally has a formula that could catch on, finding seafood-centric chef Erik McBeth making literally every item from scratch and obsessed with his daily seafood specials and mesquite wood grill. The chef touts this small signature dish of calamari sautéed with banana peppers and finished in Sambuca butter as a must-try item among his menu of original steak and fresh fish inspirations.
Having done his damndest to throttle the scene with plates of bi-sected pig's heads, sinful bacon-wrapped matzoh balls, and confit cow tongue, Ilan Hall takes a step back to the mainstream for a minute with the introduction of new wood-fired dishes at this Downtown pizza parlor. Already glued to his every offal move, we're eager to see what the aggressive chef lends to a somewhat subdued platter of charred corn slicked with a house-made balsamic butter.
Having already witnessed chef Farid Zadi's uncanny ability with Spanish churros, we can't wait to experience the French-born authority on North African cuisine does with this crunchy, almond-studded pastry that he sometimes refers to as "Algerian baklava." Sweetening the deal is the chef's citrus syrup, drizzled on top and always in season, be it his preferred blood orange, or when the need arises, hibiscus or fresh lemon.