Discover the dineL.A. 10-Year Anniversary Exclusive Series
Signature dishes and creative plates from 16 of L.A.'s finest restaurants
Updated on January 12, 2018
Snake River Farms Wagyu at Patina | Photo courtesy of Ghost Media
dineL.A. celebrates its momentous 10-year anniversary from January 12-26, 2018. The biannual, citywide food event now enjoys record participation and maintains an often-luxurious initiative: the Exclusive Series. Chefs are featuring signature dishes and a large number of creative plates that you haven’t seen before, resulting in high-end, high-value dinners. Discover special prix fixe menus at 16 of L.A.’s finest restaurants. Book Now →
Engineered in Silicon Valley, Alexander's Steakhouse debuted near Pasadena City Hall in 2015 and has become known for L.A.’s widest variety of Wagyu meats. Executive chef Matt Bata once again steers a $119, six-course Exclusive Series menu, making sure that diners face several agonizing decisions along the way. We suggest starting with an atypical surf & turf toast co-starring silky uni, pork shoulder and 5-spice mayo on brioche. Since you’ve committed to a steakhouse, delve head first into a meaty meal with dry-aged tataki, flash-seared beef dressed with dry-aged ponzu, negi tempura, and wasabi. Soba, nutty buckwheat noodles, come topped with glazed short rib, myoga (young ginger) and beguiling “animal” vinaigrette. Beef motsunabe is a hearty Japanese stew with Wagyu miso broth, crispy sweetbread, and spicy togarashi. Continue your carnivorous path with CAB New York strip loin with rich Bordelaise. A sweet finish focuses on pear, with support from Orely’s cremeux, pear sorbet, and molasses crumble.
Executive chef David LeFevre and the Simms brothers helm three high-profile restaurants within three blocks: a modern gastropub called M.B. Post, seafood-centric Fishing With Dynamite, and their Mid-Century Modern steakhouse, The Arthur J. The latter honors the grandfather of Mike and Chris Simms. Their $95, four-course Exclusive Series menu provides opportunities to get as meaty as you like, but we’d recommend a more balanced meal in this case. Consider chilled jumbo shrimp cocktail with cucumber, celery, avocado, and dill. Swedish meatballs join potato puree and tart cranberry-kumquat preserves. For your third course, a 16-ounce Angus ribeye topped with buttered blue crab is especially tantalizing. So is a side of butter beans and Swiss chard braised with pork, garlic, and rosemary. Pastry chef Uyen Nguyen delivers knockout nouveau retro desserts like chocolate turtle cake with chocolate frosting, sticky caramel, and candied walnuts.
Chef José Andrés, a humanitarian champion in places like Haiti and Puerto Rico, stylishly represents his native Spain with The Bazaar by José Andrés at SLS Beverly Hills. For dineL.A.’s Exclusive Series, $100 gets you 15 dishes. Signature bites include cotton candy foie gras and “Philly cheesesteak” with oozing Fiscalini cheddar espuma. “Not Your Everyday Caprese” flips the Italian classic - liquefied mozzarella orbs join cherry tomatoes, micro basil, pesto, and tiny air bread pillows. Other contemporary dishes include mushroom ramen with quail egg, nori, fried garlic, and pork belly; seared Mary’s Farm chicken with miso, mustard “caviar” and mustard greens; and seared Wagyu beef cheeks with Kalamata olive, black garlic, and citrus. Dessert is the menu’s only decision. The Bazaar’s traditional Spanish flan with vanilla and citrus is great, but opt for “the chocolate cake of your dreams” with salted ganache and Peruvian chocolate mousse.
Innovative Dining Group goes big for dineL.A. with a $95, four-course menu (with three choices) at BOA, their sleek steakhouse by the sea. To start, we suggest a fun riff on fair food: funnel cake with foie gras torchon and blood orange marmalade. From there, consider savory goat cheese baklava with crushed pistachios, black truffles, and fries. For your third course, steak is your best bet since they’re serving 40-day, dry-aged New York. Pair with potato & butternut squash gratin, a truly of-the-moment side. For dessert, “nouveau” cheesecake takes a new form, teaming mascarpone cheesecake with liquid “cheesecake,” milk crunch, fennel pollen syrup, Mimolette cheese dust, and green apple sorbet.
BOA’s Sunset Strip outpost mirrors their $95, four-course menu in Santa Monica. Given a far flashier location at the base of the Hollywood Hills, we have some different suggestions. Start with dinner and a show: classic Caesar salad prepared tableside. Truffle is a supporting player in all three second-courses. Pan-seared scallop is the only selection that includes fragrant white truffles, in this case joining salsify, cauliflower, and carrot puree. Duck duo is a great choice, unless you’re willing to spring for the $45 supplement to taste four ounces of mind-blowingly rich A5 Japanese Wagyu beef. Take dessert in an architectural direction: Winter in the Windy City is an homage to Chicago, pairing biscuit a la Cuillére with biscuit Joconde, chestnut Bavarian cream, chestnut compote, crème Chantilly, buttermilk granite, and “skyscrapers.” Words won’t do this dessert justice.
Chaya is a restaurant group that started nearly 400 years ago in Hayama, Japan. Their Venice branch is a relative baby, dating to 1990 and renovated in 2016. For the Exclusive Series, Executive Chef Joji Inoue prepares a nine-course, $95, omakase-style menu that’s clearly Japanese, but incorporates some fun global flavors. Begin with an oyster dressed with yuzu and bursting smoked trout roe. Tai snapper gets plated with turnip, earthy dashi, and kombu. King crab also gets a touch of smoke from singed soy and balance from brown butter. Hibachi-grilled skewers are a hallmark of izakaya culture, but it’s unlikely you’ll find Wagyu-wrapped asparagus brushed with soy and mirin anywhere else in L.A. Gazpacho crafted with strawberry, basil, and dill is a deft palate cleanser before you indulge in a slab of kabocha lasagna layered with winter vegetables and molten mozzarella. They’ve devised a truly devious temaki (hand roll) that combines toro, uni, and caviar. A savory finale involves ramen with chashu that spikes chicken paitan (broth) with reposado tequila. Dessert consists of spring roll trio: red bean and banana, matcha cream with Wakayama persimmon, and Fuji apple pie.
Wolfgang Puck’s modern, art-lined steakhouse has thrived for over a decade inside the Beverly Wilshire Hotel thanks to Richard Meier’s design and premium ingredients. For dineL.A.’s Exclusive Series, CUT chef Ari Rosenson and his team created a $95, four-course menu, with an option for $50 sommelier wine pairings. Start with a seasonal little gem salad with fuyu persimmon, sweet-tart Pink Lady apples, and smoky blue cheese. Sautéed Maine diver scallop joins braised celery root, brown butter, and aromatic shaved Perigord black truffles. Every CUT meal calls for steak. A hearty duo pairs dry-aged New York steak with Dauphinoise potatoes and green peppercorn Armagnac emulsion; and Port wine-braised lamb with roasted carrots and turnips. Milk chocolate cremeux provides a sweet finish, with assists from passion fruit caramel and caramelized banana.
New York mega-star Jean-Georges Vongerichten brings a taste of his globally informed French cuisine to the glitzy new Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills hotel. For the Exclusive Series, his team is serving a five-course, $130 menu (plus amuse-bouche) that is more elaborate than it reads. Start with Meyer lemon gelee “caviar” with crème fraiche. Partake in the master’s signature Maine diver scallops with caramelized cauliflower and caper-raisin emulsion, and then dive into steamed black bass and winter vegetable pot au feu. Lamb chops are the main event, plated with mushroom Bolognese and grated Pecorino. Finish with warm chocolate cake, vanilla bean ice cream, and a cocoa nib tuile.
Mastro’s, the upscale Scottsdale-based steakhouse chain, made a big impact on the L.A. dining scene in Beverly Hills. Their “ocean club” overlooks waves crashing on the Malibu beach, is less of a scene, and incorporates more seafood. Their four-course, $125 menu starts with a choice of appetizer, soup or salad. Perhaps lobster bisque? No matter which main course you order, each plate comes with a seven-ounce lobster tail. All things being equal (and they are), we’d suggest indulging in a 22-ounce, bone-in ribeye. Each diner gets a choice of two family-style sides. Alaskan King crab black truffle gnocchi and lobster mashed potatoes both sound like they warrant a drive to Malibu. Finish with a choice of dessert. We’d strongly encourage Mastro’s gooey signature warm butter cake.
Mélisse chef-owner Josiah Citrin is still fairly young, but already occupies the Mount Rushmore of L.A.'s market driven, fine dining scene. He’s built a rarified reputation, and typically charges $135 for four courses, an entry-level menu. His $99, five-course Exclusive Series menu is a relative bargain. The starter consists of quail egg with smoked trout and kohlrabi. Run the gauntlet - choose from two choices for three courses. We suggest yuzu-scented wild New Zealand Tai snapper with celtuce, fuyu persimmon, radish, and uni. Citrin proved with sister restaurant Charcoal that he’s skilled with briquettes, so by all means order charcoal-grilled Santa Barbara rockfish with escarole, parsnip, chanterelles, and fennel-apple broth. Take an opportunity to try an atypical ingredient by ordering Millbrook Farms venison with red beets, red cabbage, pears, endive, and foie gras sauce. Dessert involves blood orange, kiwi, and white chocolate.
German born chef Andreas Roller has Patina Restaurant Group’s flagship restaurant rolling again at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Patina’s $95, five-course menu starts with sweet lump Dungeness crab, tart green apple, celery, and coriander. From there, make three choices. We suggest Maine lobster with cutting-edge accompaniments: espresso carrot mousse, nasturtium, and crispy Pommes Maxim discs. A fourth course provides the opportunity to experience binchotan-grilled Snake River Farms Wagyu beef, served with punchy tsukemono (pickled vegetables), green onions, and wasabi jus. Don’t take this dish lightly. An ivory chocolate dessert co-stars floral bergamot, green tea, and persimmon.
Chef Michael Cimarusti and front of house partner Donato Poto have built Providence into an oceanic powerhouse near the production houses on Melrose Avenue. Their $100, four-course Exclusive Series menu starts with a playful edible cocktail and a surprising amuse bouche array. Choices for pristine, sustainable seafood include fluke sashimi, Hokkaido sea scallop, and British Columbia troll-caught King salmon, all beautifully prepared. Supplement with artisanal cheese from one of L.A.’s most revered carts before delving into dessert. Pastry Chef Jessie Liu prepares satsuma-imo (Japanese sweet potato) with yuzu and crème fraiche, followed by a sweet send-off: petit fours.
Chef de cuisine Dominique Shelton presides over this steakhouse, the historic property’s marquee restaurant inside The Langham Huntington, Pasadena. Their $130, seven-course, prix fixe menu (not including amuse bouche) surprisingly doesn’t include steak, but proves their mettle with seasonal, often luxurious preparations. Your dinner starts in earnest with pear salad, watercress, togarashi, and red wine reduction. Madagascar gambas are plated with fries, chimichurri, and preserved lemon. Nantucket scallops join beets, pomegranate, and celery. Earthy Perigord truffle risotto hosts Bordelaise and garlic chips. Wood-fired venison au poivre, true to the restaurant’s name, complements sweet potato puree and lollipop kale. Grilled flatbread doubles as a cheese course, hosting Brie, caramelized onion, and honeycomb. Dessert consists of mixed berry cobbler with white chocolate crumble, cinnamon, and cheesecake ice cream, a fun hybrid to be sure.
Executive Chef Lee Hefter and chef de cuisine Tetsu Yahagi offer a seven-course, $125 Exclusive Series menu at Wolfgang Puck’s iconic Beverly Hills restaurant. The whole table must commit to Spago’s confluence of seasonal ingredients and global influences. A six-part amuse-bouche includes spicy tuna tartare in a sesame miso tuille cone; Parmigiano Reggiano marshmallow; and nouveau breakfast sandwich of maple macaron, bacon, egg yolk jam, and coffee. More playful presentations include “the egg” with smoked salmon mousse and potato chip espuma; and herb tamale with oxtail and nixtamalized heirloom corn “pozole.” You’ll find quotation marks many times on the menu, since so many preparations riff on recognizable foods. Chef Yahagi serves the same ikejime black cod featured on KCET’s “The Migrant Kitchen” with karta fata, saffron dashi, yuzu, and lily bulb. Hand-made agnolotti co-stars chestnuts, Parmigano Reggiano, and for a $20 supplement, shaved French black truffles. A play on Korean gamjatang soup features slow-braised pork belly, potato dumplings, “hearts of palm bone,” crown daisy leaves, and black sesame. Grilled Snake River Wagyu beef joins beef tendon crisp, horseradish-potato puree, herb coulis, and heirloom wheat berries. Pastry chef Della Gossett delivers dinner’s final surprise, “dessert by inspiration.”
Chef Bruce Kalman’s star has risen with a resounding victory over Bobby Flay on “Beat Bobby Flay” and a Season 15 slot on “Top Chef” Colorado. At Union, the seasonal Italian restaurant he runs in Old Pasadena with Marie Petulla, they’re featuring a five-course, $100 menu. They provide house-made bread with cultured butter, sea salt, and tangy giardiniere before transitioning into dinner. The first course consists of citrus-cured Pacific yellowtail, pickled radish, pomegranate, and chile oil. Little gems host roasted pear, tangy crème fraiche-poppyseed dressing, and dukkah. Pasta is a point of pride for Kalman, and he’s serving potato leek agnolotti with grated Parmigiano Reggiano and shaved white truffles for the Exclusive Series. Prized Flannery Holstein beef ribeye joins winter squash and horseradish. Finish with olive oil cake and salted honeycomb gelato.
Hotel Bel-Air is a Stone Canyon getaway with an enchanting Wolfgang Puckrestaurant and a welcome party of swans. Executive chef Hugo Bolanos helms a $100, five-course menu that combines local ingredients with worldly inspirations. Amuse yourself with “pillow bites,” smoked avocado mousse, caviar, Jamon Iberico, grilled celtuce, and black garlic. The first course involves Maine diver scallop sashimi, dill oil, caraway seed, fennel fronds, blood orange, and avocado oil. A slow-poached Straw Farm organic egg graces braised quinoa, farro, and sunchoke chips. A salad from “Garden Of…” farm joins a “symphony of carrots,” anise, espresso, and dry-aged beef jus. Finish with rich braised oxtail “pipian” with mole verde, toasted pumpkin seeds, cilantro blooms, and espuma de maiz. Pastry chef Garry Larduinat has earned gobs of Instagram followers by combining stunning visuals with bold flavors. For dineL.A.’s Exclusive Series, he’s preparing an orange and raspberry vacherin with tangerine sorbet and pine nut petit beurre.