Have the Best Date Night Ever this Summer with dineL.A. Restaurant Week

dineL.A. Restaurant Week (July 12-26, 2019)

Starlight Booth | Photo: La Boucherie

Starlight Booth | Photo: La Boucherie


Date night calls for some extra effort. Drive across town to try some place new. Hire a babysitter. Stay out later than normal. Thankfully, dineL.A. Restaurant Week delivers meals that warrant detours, minus the added expenses. Discover a dozen standout date night dinners.

Alameda Supper Club



Culinary powerhouse Chris Bianco (Phoenix) and equally revered chef-partners Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt (San Francisco) collaborated on Alameda Supper Club, perhaps the most ambitious part of their multifaceted ROW DTLA facility, which also includes a bakery, coffee roastery, and Tartine Bianco restaurant. Bread isn’t typically romantic, but when Tartine’s involved, why not? Guests receive grilled bread and butter, plus Mantequilla olives. From there, the $49 menu offers three choices. Notable dishes include arancini with smoked ham and sweet corn. Seared sea bream with fennel and the savory Mediterranean shrub agretti is a top entrée. Finish with decadent Devil’s food cake plated with mint stracciatella. A night out at Alameda Supper Club also shows your date that you’re in the know. Enjoy a fashionable DTLA destination before more crowds descend.

Cafe Birdie



Restaurateurs Wade McElroy and Russell Malixi have created a cozy, intimate setting at Café Birdie, located in an increasingly trendy neighborhood, Highland Park. The duo hired seasoned chef Russell Victorioso to assume his first executive chef post in 2018 and he’s rewarded the Highland Park community with a three-course, $39 menu of vibrant, savory comfort food. Begin with piquant scallop crudo featuring cantaloupe, pickled Fresno chiles, and tropical accents like mango, coconut lime vinaigrette, and coconut curd. Follow with maitake mushrooms co-starring yellow peach, arugula, and earthy mushroom aioli. Hand-torn pasta touts pesto Genovese, Parmigiano-Reggiano and cured egg yolk. Keep date night momentum going at Good Housekeeping, a craft cocktail bar located behind Café Birdie.

Craft Los Angeles



Tom Colicchio made Craft more than just a place to be seen when he opened an outpost of Craft, his seasonal, mix-and-match restaurant, below CAA headquarters in Century City. The industry crowd that’s prevalent at lunch gives way to a more share-friendly, date-friendly vibe at dinner. Regardless, expect warm service and a setting that encourages lingering. For dineL.A. Restaurant Week, the $59 Craft menu showers first courses and desserts on the entire table. Dates (or double dates) will enjoy charred eggplant with Thai basil and peanuts; and albacore tuna crudo with olive, mint, and chile. Your main course is the only choice. Highlights include Petrale sole with green chickpeas and spiced yogurt and Texas quail with plums and lentils. Dessert consists of a one-two-three punch of chocolate brioche pudding, blueberry shortcake, and scoops of seasonal ice cream and sorbet.

Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant dishes

Photo: Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant

Gwen



World-famous Aussie chef Curtis Stone delivers modern Hollywood glamour with Gwen, a restaurant with a massive wood-burning hearth and in-house butchery that named for his maternal grandmother. Their dineL.A. Restaurant Week $59 dinner menu starts with bracing gazpacho with pickled cucumber and grilled stecca (crusty house-made “stick” bread). The middle course stars eight-ounce New York strip steak with romesco, roasted carrots, and smoked patatas bravas. Finish with milhojas, a flaky Napoleon-like dessert that combines puff pastry, dulce de leche, pastry cream, and summer berries. The meal may sound simple, but tastes (and looks) anything but basic in the hands of Stone’s team.

La Boucherie



La Boucherie is a luxurious steakhouse on the 71st floor of L.A.’s tallest building - the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown - that provides dramatic city views. They’re going all-out for dineL.A. Restaurant Week, crafting a $125 per person dinner with opulence at almost every course. Yes, that’s truffle in the opening salvo: herb-crusted asparagus ice cream with tomato and burrata. Plates also include smoked cauliflower mousse and parsnip chips with sweet Maine lobster; and butter-poached Japanese A5 Wagyu plated with roasted mushrooms and Petrossian caviar that’s hay-smoked tableside.

Lobster and prime rib dinner at Lawry's The Prime Rib

Lobster and prime rib dinner at Lawry's The Prime Rib | Photo: Lawry's Restaurants, Inc.

Lawry's The Prime Rib



Consider Lawry’s The Prime Rib for dinner and a show. The crown jewel of La Cienega’s Restaurant Row is a grand restaurant with tableside service and beautiful slabs of rosy beef that dates to 1938. Lawry’s always rolls out the culinary red carpet for dineL.A. Restaurant Week, and summer is no exception. The $59 menu starts with their famous spinning salad, which mixes tableside in a bowl with crisp iceberg and romaine lettuces, baby spinach, shredded beets, chopped eggs, croutons and “vintage” dressing. The California-cut of roasted Prime rib teams with a broiled Nova Scotia lobster tail, mashed potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, and a choice of side. Creamed vegetables are terrific, whether corn or spinach. Crème brûlée and flourless chocolate cake are two of their more devastating desserts.

The Little Door



The Little Door has long been a classic W 3rd St hideaway for romance and French fare. This dinner-only restaurant has assembled a compelling seasonal three-course $59 menu for dineL.A. Restaurant Week. Creamy local burrata cheese may be the best way to start by welcoming heirloom tomatoes, peaches, bacon, toasted brioche & pine nut crumble, and balsamic reduction to the plate. Grilled marinated sea bass forms the backbone of an elegant fish preparation that co-stars saffron espelette sauce, basil pesto Yukon gold potato puree, and ratatouille. Chocolate molten cake tends to lean rich, but apricot lavender preserves and crème fraiche ice cream helps enlighten this version. The Little Door is also known for their wine program, so calling a ride service to reach dinner may make sense.

Openaire



Josiah Citrin of Mélisse fame took over a plant-filled greenhouse atop Koreatown’s LINE Hotel in 2018, serving seasonal fare with views of the sky and stars. Openaire preaches sharing, and Chef Citrin pours it on for dineL.A. Everybody gets a parade of plates, plus a choice of salad, side and dessert with a side of moonlight.

Saddle Peak Lodge



Saddle Peak Lodge is a Santa Monica Mountains retreat with an intimate setting and mood lighting to spare that long ago served as a hunting lodge, and now warrants a reputation for serving game. That said, chef Adam Horton has devised a nightly $59 dinner menu for dineL.A. Restaurant Week that is by no means limited to venison. Pink Lady, a candidate for the apple hall of fame, fuels a crisp salad that co-hosts endive, watercress, candied pistachio, St. Agur blue cheese, and cider vinaigrette. Of course, headed to the Saddle Peak still calls for some meat. Consider rib steak cooked sous vide for 48 hours until ultra-tender, or perhaps grilled Duroc pork with three-pepper mac & cheese. Banana bread pudding is one of LA’s most interesting versions, featuring croissant, banana, huckleberry, and vanilla ice cream. Bonus: summer light allows for bucolic views on the drive to dinner.

STK Los Angeles



The ONE Group relocated STK Los Angeles from West Hollywood to the W Los Angeles – West Beverly Hills in 2015. The high-end steakhouse, conveniently located inside a hotel, features flashy black and white decor, a provocative wall of faux white steer horns, and a DJ deck by the bar. Compelling starters include hamachi crudo with Serrano chiles, pickle red onion, and lemon oil vinaigrette. For dineL.A. Restaurant Week, they’re featuring charcoal-grilled New York steak rubbed with signature spices, plated with Weiser Farm potato and oven-dried tomato Castelvetrano olive chimichurri. Donut bites provide a fun finish and are dippable in berry caramel, espresso chocolate or toffee sauce.

Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air



Hotel Bel-Air provides a luxurious romantic getaway in the Bel-Air hills above UCLA. Considering swans roam the grounds, the experience is almost fairytale-like. Iconic LA chef Wolfgang Puck took over the resident restaurant in 2012. His longtime culinary lieutenant Hugo Bolaños runs the kitchen on a regular basis and has crafted a six-course, high-end play on Latino cuisine for dineL.A. Restaurant Week. Notable tastes include kanpachi crudo in carrot aguachile with Fresno chile, avocado and coriander; Sonoma lamb birria with cabbage slaw and chile de arbol on a crispy tostada; and Mayan duck with mole verde, grilled stone fruit, and toasted pepitas. Bolaños once again plays against convention by flavoring flan with chocolate and Mezcal and plating with sweet corn and milk shaved ice.

Yamashiro



Yamashiro is a sprawling Japanese-style “mountain palace” that dates to 2014, literally rises above Hollywood bustle, and remains one of the best places to pair history with unmatched city views. Nouveau Japanese cuisine complements the atmosphere, which dates to 1911. For dineL.A. Restaurant Week, creamy miso and spicy mayo tag-team baked crab cakes for a bold starter. Date night often calls for steak, and Yamashiro delivers sliced flatiron with shiso shallot relish and charred honey-sesame Brussels sprouts. Finish with fluffy Japanese cheesecake paired with blackberries soaked in Hibiki, a Japanese whisky.