1. A.O.C. (Mid-City West): The place to eat small bites at not so small prices. Prepare to fall in love with true quality. 2. Campanile (Mid-City West): Scene of power lunches, Romantic/Date Spot seasonal dinners and prized brunch. 3. Cobras & Matadors (Los Feliz): Formerly trendy tapas still great for a dram and getting your eat on.
4. Jar (Mid-City West): Chopped sirloin with fried egg and peppercorn sauce could take the place of burgers if it wasn’t low-grade lethal. 5. Nishimura (West Hollywood): Against some people’s better judgment, we suggest you slurp their raw bait down sans rice. This sashimi is full of flavor. 6. Michael’s (Santa Monica): Outside patio of this Cali-cuisine legend the most likely place to catch a falling star. 7. Saddle Peak Lodge (San Fernando Valley): 100-year old Hemingway favorite of game meats, stuffed animal heads, hurricane lamps, and cushy leather armchairs awaits PETA smackdown. 8. Piccolo Ristorante Italiano (Venice): Spectacular flavors of Venice in Venice, like Cortinese red beet stuffed pasta with poppy seeds and brown butter. 9. Three Drunken Goats (Glendale): Tiny little tapas joint livens up tiny little Montrose. 10. Via Veneto (Santa Monica): Candle-lit room is the most Romantic/Date Spot the city offers.
Sometimes the best thing on the menu, isn’t. Much like password-protected clubs, menu off-roading feels like you’ve been granted entry to a secret society — a personal tete-a-tete with the chef. Get behind the scenes with our picks for off-menu burgers in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco (plus an honorable mention in the southwest).
New York Lever House (Midtown East) – In honor of their five year anniversary, Lever House is offering a special. Chef Brad Thompson decks this beef burger with cheese, fried eggs, and house pickles.
Los Angeles Jar (Mid-City West): So secret it’s only served at the bar, this burger gets the special treatment via super-clandestine spice mix recipe rubbed into the meat, plus extra tasty buns toasted just right.
San Francisco Jack Falstaff (SoMa): Get your bib out; this secret burger is stuffed with braised short ribs and loaded with bacon and a fried egg. Plated with Pt. Reyes blue cheese fries and a salad.
Honorable Mention: California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada In-N-Out: The grandaddy of secret burger menus, In-N-Out might just have been the zeitgeist for the off-menu burger trend. Try the Animal Style (mustard-cooked patty with all the toppings), the Grilled Cheese, or the ever popular 4×4 (four patties stacked with four slices off cheese, squeezed between two buns).
Cheese-ophiles get ready: Manna from heaven is on its way. Obikà, the popular mozzarella bar from Rome, is opening its first stateside location in midtown Manhattan. (It’s in a kiosk within the sculpture garden of 590 Madison.) New York isn’t the only city to be swept up in the mozz craze, though. Just ask Los Angeles. From Mozzarella Mondays at Jar to the mozzarella-filled pizzas at Pizzeria Mozza and the giant mozzarella bar in the middle of Osteria Mozza, mozzarella cheese might as well be the new Pinkberry. Obikà will offer burrata, bufala, and bocconcini, with sides of salads, antipasti, and wine; opens September 22.
We covered the parties, now here’s the pads (so to speak). Ladies, meet the Los Angeles lesbian contingent. Prada mixed with trucker hats, cowboy boots and mini-skirts — there’s a veritable smorgasbord of women seeking same.
Ariya, known around town and referenced on The L Word as “Lesbian Sushi,” is a sure bet for running into the fairer sex. Any night of the week you can find the patio filled with girls. Don’t leave without ordering one or five of the OMG rolls.
Move from surf to turf at Jar, a 194’s American chop-house. Lesbian chef and owner Suzanne Tracht has a rep for some of the best steaks in Los Angeles. The bar and restaurant are packed every night of the week with the non-vegetarian varietal of lesbian. Try the burger — it’s not on the menu but is available at the bar.
Ciudad, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger’s downtown Los Angeles restaurant, has the east-side scene covered. Don’t miss the ceviches or the Latin-influenced desserts.
Club promoters Sandy Sachs and Robin Gans of Girl Bar fame teamed up with Jeffery Sanker of White Party (though Sanker’s since moved on) to create Murano, conveniently located within stumbling distance of the best gay clubs in the area. Show up between 8 and 10 p.m. to call shotgun on the brunette with the sleeve tattoo before heading out.
Saint Felix, née Bin 8945, in West Hollywood is also a prime gathering spot for Sapphic beauties fueling up before dancing it off. Tapas, sangria, and hot waitstaff make an irresistible combination.