What to Eat During dineL.A.'s Exclusive Series in Summer 2018

dineL.A. celebrates its 10-year anniversary from July 13-27, 2018

dineL.A. continues to celebrate their momentous 10-year anniversary from July 13-27. The biannual, citywide food event is experiencing record participation and maintains the often-luxurious Exclusive Series. Chefs feature signature dishes and a substantial number of creative plates that you haven’t seen before, resulting in high-end, high-value dinners. Discover special prix fixe menus at 18 of L.A.’s finest restaurants.

Alexander’s is a high-end steakhouse that started in Silicon Valley, debuted near Pasadena City Hall in 2015, and has built a reputation for deluxe wood-grilled steaks. Travis Flood recently stepped in as executive chef and steers a $119, six-course Exclusive Series menu. Highlights include smoked trout with bursting salmon roe, vadouvan, and nori goma (seaweed and sesame) rice cracker. Rich pork belly pairs well with punchy pickled peach, sweet charred white corn, sansho, and morels. Shellfish ramen incorporates lobster, squid and shrimp, honshimeji mushrooms, negi, and egg yolk. Dinner at Alexander’s Steakhouse demands steak, and Flannery Beef hanger steak with truffle potato confit, pickled ramp chimichurri, and tomato preserve is a savory exclamation point. Dark chocolate semifreddo, cherry, and pistachio provide a sweet cap.

The Arthur J



Executive chef David LeFevre and the Simms brothers helm three well-regarded Manhattan Beach restaurants: a modern gastropub called M.B. Post, seafood-centric Fishing With Dynamite, and a Midcentury Modern steakhouse named The Arthur J that honors Grandpa Simms. Their $95, four-course Exclusive Series menu provides opportunities for guests to get quite meaty, but we’d recommend a more varied meal. Consider hand-cut tuna tartare with avocado, banana, Scotch bonnet puree, spiced peanuts, and shrimp chips. Alaskan King crab co-stars cocktail sauce, or better yet, hot drawn butter. A 16-ounce Angus ribeye topped with seared foie gras is especially devastating. A side of creamed spinach and tobacco onions provides relative balance. Pastry chef Uyen Nguyen contributes nouveau retro desserts like strawberry shortcake.

The Bazaar by José Andrés



Chef José Andrés, a humanitarian champion in places like Haiti and Puerto Rico, stylishly represents his native Spain with The Bazaar at SLS Beverly Hills. For dineL.A.’s Exclusive Series, $110 gets you 15 dishes, plus a Cava toast to start. Signature bites include papas Canarias with two mojos (rojo and verde) and “Philly cheesesteak” that oozes Fiscalini cheddar espuma. Other modern dishes include mushroom ramen with quail egg, nori, fried garlic, and pork belly; a steamed bun spilling American sturgeon caviar; and paella-style “rossejat” negra with squid ink, sepia sofrito, and shrimp. Baby Japanese peaches straddle the line between sweet and savory, joining Di Stefano burrata and hazelnuts. Dessert is the menu’s only decision. The Bazaar’s traditional Spanish flan with vanilla and citrus is great, but it’s worth considering “Cherry in the Black Forest” a play on Black Forest cake with white chocolate, sour cherry, and dark chocolate.

BOA Steakhouse - Sunset



Innovative Dining Group goes big for dineL.A. with a $95, four-course menu (with three choices at each turn) at their sleek steakhouse by the sea. To start, we suggest a refreshing half-dozen Kumamoto oysters served with lime cocktail sauce and red wine vinaigrette. From there, consider savory goat cheese baklava with crushed pistachios, black truffles, and honey. Steak is our top choice for course three, especially since they’re serving 40-day, 12-ounce, dry-aged New York cut. Pair with an of-the-moment side of chipotle-lime corn. For dessert, Key lime pie takes a new form, filling a jar with Key lime custard, Key lime gelée, streusel, crème Chantilly, finger lime “caviar” and mint-cucumber sorbet.

BOA Steakhouse - Santa Monica



BOA’s Sunset Strip outpost mirrors their $95, four-course menu in Santa Monica. Given a flashier location along the Sunset Strip, we have different suggestions. Start with dinner and a show: classic tableside Caesar salad. For the second course, a country biscuit gets glorified with foie gras torchon, blackberry, and whole-grain mustard. A 16-ounce Durham Ranch bison ribeye is a great entrée selection, unless you’re willing to spring for the $40 supplement to taste four ounces of mind-blowingly rich Saga A5 Japanese Wagyu beef. Team with luxurious lobster mashed potatoes. For dessert, consider rice milk panna cotta with cara cara orange supreme, candied pine nut, and saffron sorbet.

CUT Beverly Hills



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. Exclusive Series, CUT chef Ari Rosenson and his team created a $95, four-course menu, with optional $50 sommelier wine pairings. Start with a seasonal roasted sweet white corn salad with Coastal Organic’s cherry tomatoes, mustard vinaigrette, French Feta, and wild rocket. Grilled halibut comes plated with heirloom shelling beans, lima beans, and heirloom tomato water. Every CUT meal begs for beef. A hearty “beef duo” pairs braised Indian-spiced short rib with curried Nantes carrots; and 35-day dry-aged New York steak with summer squash and house steak sauce. For dessert, finish with Tahitian vanilla cheesecake with Graham cracker crumble and blackberries.

Jean-Georges Beverly Hills



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 dineL.A. Exclusive Series, his team’s five-course, $130 menu begins proceedings with golden Osetra caviar chive panna cotta and tomato coulis. Ahi tuna tartare lettuce cups co-star avocado and crackling rice. Cherry tomatoes and basil fondue support summer-ready charred corn ravioli. Similarly vibrant roasted striped bass joins summer squash and apricot-lime emulsion. Grilled beef tenderloin is a savory swan song with heirloom tomato, herb salad, and grated wasabi. Finish with peach crostata and almond ice cream.

Mastro's Ocean Club - Malibu



Mastro’s, the upscale Scottsdale-based steakhouse chain, made a big impact on the L.A. dining scene in Beverly Hills. Their “ocean club” in Malibu overlooks crashing waves, is less of a scene, and incorporates more seafood. Mastro's $95 dineL.A. Exclusive Series menu is coming soon.

Maude



At the Beverly Hills restaurant that pays tribute to his paternal grandmother, chef Curtis Stone features ingredients and wines from a different wine region each quarter. For dineL.A. Exclusive Series, the focus is on California’s Central Coast. Start “straight from the sea” with Clamato, oyster bread, and seaweed butter. The surf also yields abalone with dulse (sea lettuce) and Chardonnay; spot prawn with fermented peach and anise hyssop; squid with smoke and fermented chiles; and rock crab with truffle. The land provides aged beef loin, which comes plated with sea urchin and market vegetables. Apricot with honeycomb and bronze fennel is dessert. The menu costs $125 per person.

Mélisse chef-owner Josiah Citrin occupies the Mount Rushmore of L.A.'s market driven, fine dining scene. He typically commands $135 for four courses, and 10 courses cost $195. His $99, five-course Exclusive Series menu is a veritable bargain. Enjoy a seasonal stone fruit “collection” at their peak before making three choices. We suggest starting with Santa Barbara spot prawn with spring onion, pole beans, lemon verbena, and nasturtium. Potato and nori-crusted Santa Barbara black cod is another prized catch from the same waters, plated with scallion, wood-ear mushroom, courgettes (summer squash), and smoked crab broth. Incredibly, Mishima Wagyu flatiron steak doesn’t require a supplement and comes with salt-pepper cucumber, carrots, and fermented garlic steak sauce. Take the meal into the stratosphere with supplemental substitutions for dishes with golden Osetra caviar and shaved Australian Perigord truffles. Finish with “peach cobbler” with white chocolate, black pepper, meringue, and chamomile.

Patina Restaurant



German born chef Andreas Roller has Patina Restaurant Group’s flagship restaurant rolling again at Walt Disney Hall. Patina’s $95, six-course menu starts with wasabi, apple & celery sorbet with uni, umami-rich smoked soy sauce, and cilantro. Japanese mackerel joins sudachi (a small Japanese citrus), ginger, and Thai basil. The third course teams spinach cavatelli with cepes, purslane, and goat ricotta. Roller matches Maine lobster with espresso carrot mousse, nasturtium, and buttery pommes Maxim. 30-day dry-aged Omaha Prime beef wasn’t indulgent enough? Patina plates with beef cheek, watercress, and mousseline. A peach tart co-stars rose, white chocolate, and macadamia nut.

Providence



Chef Michael Cimarusti and front of house partner Donato Poto built Providence into an oceanic powerhouse near production houses on Melrose Avenue. Their $120, four-course Exclusive Series menu starts with a playful edible cocktail and a surprising amuse bouche array. Choices for pristine, sustainable seafood include sashimi, local California rockfish, and King salmon from cooler northern waters, all beautifully prepared. Supplement for $20 with Rodolphe le Meunier truffle Brie from one of L.A.’s most revered carts before delving into dessert. Pastry Chef Hou Mao “Jessie” Liu combines strawberry, burrata, and basil with a savory flourish before providing a sweet send-off: petit fours.

The Royce | Wood-Fired Steakhouse



Chef de cuisine Dominique Shelton presides over this steakhouse, the historic property’s marquis restaurant inside Langham Huntington, Pasadena. Their $130, seven-course, prix fixe menu (not including amuse bouche) proves their mettle with seasonal, often luxurious preparations. Your dinner starts in earnest with white asparagus, poached egg, and roasted beets. Seared foie gras joins braised short rib and brioche. Madagascar gambas grace creamy polenta and citrus. Truffle risotto comes topped with shaved summer truffle and garlic chips. The Royce is known for wood-grilled steak, and Moyer Farms filet mignon comes plated with crushed fingerling potatoes and cipollini onions. The cheese course consists of wood-grilled flatbread with Brie and honeycomb. Dessert involves peach cobbler with caramelized honey and toasted hazelnuts.

Scratch | Bar & Kitchen



Scratch|Bar & Kitchen is the highest end dining experience at the three-concept Encino compound from Phillip Frankland Lee and pastry chef/wife Margarita Kallas Lee. Their tasting menu at Scratch|Bar & Kitchen features a whopping 21 courses for $115. Chef Lee doesn’t give much away with descriptions as curt as “trout,” “leek” and “lobster,” which plays into the element of surprise. Still, we snagged a few full descriptions. Dry roasted cuttlefish noodles arrive atop sweet potato puree with radish, petite watercress, and a piquant sauce made by combining leche de tigre and nuoc cham. Roasted and cooled foie gras joins cauliflower puree, roasted and pickled sunchokes, puffed quinoa, carrot syrup, grits, and nasturtiums. A sweet parade starts with bone marrow custard topped with pine-scented meringue, pickled grapes, and candied parsley.

Spago Beverly Hills



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 for their “California tasting menu.” A six-part amuse bouche includes a sesame ball with Dungeness crab, Thai curry spice, and sakura shrimp; lemon meringue with foie gras mousse and Maldon sea salt; and nouveau breakfast sandwich of maple macaron, bacon, egg yolk jam, and coffee. Playful presentations include “the egg,” an egg drop soup with umami chile oil. You’ll find quotation marks many times on the menu, since so many preparations riff on recognizable foods. Olive oil poached Ora King salmon incorporates watercress veloute and young onions. “Baked bone marrow, Santa Barbara uni” co-stars sherry-Demerara gastrique and seaweed brioche. Dungeness crab joins pea custard, sea grass, and salted cherry blossom tea. Hand-made agnolotti features summer truffles, sweet white corn, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. 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 denouement, nectarines with Muscovado caramel and lemon verbena sorbet, bubble sugar, and stone fruit. Spago even includes a special Maracaibo Creole Grand Cru “cocktail” with whiskey, lime espuma, and 49% chocolate.

Sushi | Bar



Phillip Frankland Lee and his cohorts hid Sushi|Bar behind Woodley Proper in their Encino multiplex. The tiny restaurant touts key ingredients on wood boards behind the bar. Their, $95, 16-course tasting menu for dineL.A. Exclusive Series starts in Woodley Proper with a welcome cocktail and concludes in the sushi hideaway with a green tea ceremony. Lee is fairly tight-lipped about details in advance, but expect prized ingredients like “baby Spanish octopus,” “Canadian spot prawn,” and “wild-caught Japanese escolar.” Three highlights include seared skin-on Tasmanian ocean trout dressed with pickled lemon, real wasabi root, house-made soy sauce, served atop Mexican white prawn tartare. King crab "dynamite" features Russian King crab that’s brushed with house-made beet mustard, brûléed with a blowtorch, and finished with lemon, Himalayan rock salt and puffed quinoa. Avocado “S’more” is an atypical dessert of soy-soaked avocado rolled in amaranth, topped with uni and yuzu marshmallow.

Umeda



Chef Takuya Umeda got his start in Sapporo and was Nobu Matsuhisa’s longtime protégée before launching his eponymous Melrose restaurant in 2017. His $100, seven-course menu starts with a deluxe seafood cocktail of Hokkaido scallops and snow crab served atop chawan mushi (savory custard) with tomato sauce. A “styled” sashimi trio and sushi selections are at Chef Umeda’s discretion. Sea bass grills over Japanese binchotan and comes with sautéed Brussels sprouts, yuzu aioli, and fermented koji salsa that mixes dried koji, soy sauce, and jalapeño. Tenderloin from Washimi (American-style Kobe) is dressed with arima sansho miso, celeriac, and lotus root. Inaniwa chukka soup combines organic Jidori chicken meatballs and Inaniwa noodles made by Yoetsu Sato in traditional Edo style. End with green tea tiramisu.

Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air



Hotel Bel-Air is an enchanting Stone Canyon getaway with a welcome party of swans and a dynamic Wolfgang Puck restaurant. Executive chef Hugo Bolanos helms a $95, six-course menu that captures the feel of “An Austrian Summer” in the Bel-Air hills. Highlights include crispy “air pocket” with dill crème fraiche house-smoked salmon, and Keluga caviar. Kärntner Kasnudeln ravioli
teams Yukon gold potatoes with farmer’s cow cheese, black truffles, toasted hazelnuts, and brown butter milk powder. Roasted Arctic Char “Wie In Salzburg” receives support from marble potatoes, Meyer lemon, sautéed escarole, and basil oil. The final savory course consists of a choice of Prime short rib goulash or weinerschitzel. We’ll give 
Marcho Farm’s veal weinerschnitzel the edge, served with Styrian pumpkin seed oil, mache salad,
red beet quinoa, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes. Pastry chef Garry Larduinat has earned gobs of Instagram followers by combining stunning visuals with bold flavors. For dineL.A. Exclusive Series, he’s preparing “Warm & Fluffy” kaiserschmarrn with Harry’s Berries strawberries, rum-soaked raisins, and fromage blanc. Consider a $45 Austrian beer and wine pairing.