Posts for November 19, 2012

Brad A. Johnson Hammers Laurel Hardware; Rodell Reveals No Surprises at Nobu Malibu

Nobu Malibu

Brad A. Johnson's experiences at Laurel Hardware sound much more like our own than Jonathan Gold's did, as the Time Out critic calls out the vintage signage and tree-lined patio as the restaurant's best features. "Like the stereotypical blonde bombshell who looks good in a bikini, there unfortunately isn't much going on upstairs," he writes, calling the kitchen "lazy," dealing with a dingbat of a hostess "who couldn't care less" (oh yeah, we think we met her!), and decrying burgers as "overcooked", the salad "rotten," and pizza as "gummy." One-star gets hammered into the threshold. [Time Out]

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P.S. 310 Opening Pushed Back; Itri Going Up In Smoke?

Public School 310, the Culver City expansion of Downtown's P.S. 612, is pushing its opening back a few days to Monday, December 10, following an earlier plan to debut on the sixth of next month. In other non-scheduled interruptions, Eater sleuths out that Tasting Kitchen chef Casey Lane's Itri, slated to take-over the former Melrose home of Evan Kleiman's Angeli Caffe, may have hit a major snag, as the address appears to be back on the market. No word on whether this affects the planned pasta shop's standing as L.A.'s "best barbecue," as designated by Food & Wine back in May, but a rep promises Lane "definitely has plans to open Itri in 2013." [Eater]

False Alarm?: Hostess and Union Back at the Bargaining Table

Friday's news of the potential closure and sale of the Hostess company and its iconic snack-cake brands sent the internet spinning with nostalgia, laments, stories of Twinkie hoarding, gloating by healthy food advocates, etc. Well, it turns out there's still a chance the company will be saved, and maybe they were just showing they weren't afraid to sell it all off in the face of major financial problems and a stubborn union. As the Times' Dealbook site is reporting, a federal judge has pushed Hostess and the bakers union back into mediation this week, and the two sides have agreed to meet one last time on Tuesday to try to come to a deal to avoid 18,000 layoffs and a complete closure of the company. If they can't reach an agreement, Hostess will again seek approval of their close-out plan beginning Wednesday, which includes the sale of the Twinkies, Ho Hos, and Ding Dong brands, and the closure of multiple plants. [NYT, Earlier]

Bel-Air Bar & Grill Reopens With New Look and More Space

The Bougainvillea boxPhoto: Bel-Air Bar & Grill

After eighteen months under wraps to undergo a serious nip and tuck, Susan Disney Lord's Bel Air Bar & Grill reopened last Friday on Sepulveda at twice the size. The newly unveiled look includes a major aesthetic upgrade of the restaurant's guts, as well the addition of a second floor for private dining, with views of The Getty Center. Designed by Ralph Gentile + Architects (of 800 Degrees and Red O), the new restaurant inhabits a LEED Silver-certified space, set with a captivating two-story glass box entrance strewn with back-lit bougainvillea blossoms.

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Le Comptoir Brings Gary Menes Back to Glendale

Menes at workPhoto: Le Comptoir

Gary Menes is back at Palate Food & Wine! Okay, not exactly since the restaurant closed last spring, but he is taking a temporary space at The Wine Vault where Palate was housed. Last Thursday, this market-powered wizard of omakase reignited Le Comptoir, the pop-up in which he riffs ingeniously on pristine local produce for a tight counter-side crowd, to the former home of Palate Food & Wine in Glendale, where he served as executive chef for two years. Le Comptoir is now operating in the space over two nightly seatings three nights a week (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday), with walk-ins accepted after 9:30 P.M. with counter-space permitting.

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$14 Sandwich, Suds, and Side at City Tavern

City Tavern in Downtown Culver City has a new fourteen-dollar lunch deal, now offered Monday through Friday. Guests get a choice of one of the restaurant's eight sandwiches with a pick of one side and a 6 oz. beer sample or full-size non-alcoholic drink. Sandwiches include the bar's burgers and fried bologna with cheese and sides like soup of the day and smoked bacon brussels sprouts, with the options provided online.

Savory Landlord Responds to Paul Shoemaker

"I have read Mr. Shoemaker's letter to the Malibu City Counsel and others dated November 16, 2012. Regrettably, he has attempted to use the press and local politicians to throw fuel on his business dispute with me and my company. When parties to an agreement or other relationship have a dispute, and one side consistently runs to the press or others to publicize his version of the story, rarely does that person tell the story in a manner that makes himself look like the one at fault. I intend to pursue this matter in the proper (hopefully private) forum, and wish Mr. Shoemaker well in his new venture."— Point Dume owner Zan Marquis, in a statement, responding to last week's letter from Savory chef and former partner Paul Shoemaker.

Ludo Lefebvre Announces LudoBites X: The Final Chapter?

Lefebvre

To see 2012 to a close, Ludo Lefebvre is hatching "LudoBites 10" at Downtown's Gram & Papa's, planned for weekdays from December 4 to 21. Krissy Lefebvre, the chef's wife and LudoBites master general, does not say this will be the final run of the successful pop-up per se, but tells Grub Street that "construction is going well at the new restaurant" and that this tenth iteration of the pop-up will be a "sort of 'send-off' to LudoBites, at least in LA as a full time business model." What can you expect?

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Watch Fake Guy Fieri Respond to the Times Takedown Review

It didn't actually air over over the weekend, but Saturday Night Live blocked out and rehearsed a "Weekend Update" segment with cast member Bobby Moynihan adopting his best Guy Fieri schtick. Fake Fieri, like the real one, is a little incensed and ultimately hurt by the incredibly bad New York Times review, and the one-liner defenses he manages to crack range from "My food is best served through a cloud of weed smoke" to "If you come in expecting Le Cirque, then you're a Le Jerk." Click on through, and feel his pain.

He'll hit you with a faceful of Donkey Sauce. »

Restaurant Reinvention: Gordon Ramsay at The London and Catch at Casa del Mar Look to the Sea

Braised pork belly with quail egg scallop and clams, at Gordon Ramsay at The LondonPhoto: Tatiana Arbogast

Poised over the voids of being both functional enough to process over-nighters and attractive enough to keep guests from straying into the city's more gabbed-about destination, the hotel restaurant is more often than not faced with an uphill battle in an already competitive playing field. On the tail of Caulfield's reinvention at The Thompson Hotel last week, we smack into two more hotel restaurants revising their plans of attack, both spearheaded by a heavy arsenal of seafood.

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