Evan Kleiman’s dineL.A. Restaurant Picks

Good Food Host Evan Kleiman spotlights her top picks for dineL.A.'s Restaurant Week (January 18–31, 2016).

Aqui es Texcoco - Photo Credit - Courtesy of Aqui es Texcoco 590
The slow-roasted Plato de Barbacoa (Lamb Barbecue Plate) at Aqui es Texcoco. (Photo courtesy of Aqui es Texcoco)

Angelenos, if you have a wish list of eats that you’ve been waiting to try, dineL.A.’s Restaurant Week is here! It’s your chance to treat yourself to some adventurous eating without putting a dent in your pocket. Between the $15 lunches and some splurge-worthy $95 tasting dinner menus at some of L.A.’s hottest restaurants, it’s time to start booking those reservations…you have until January 31.

Evan’s dineL.A. Lunch Picks

Aqui es Texcoco—$15
You want the Plato de Barbacoa or Lamb Barbecue Plate. It’s not American BBQ but a combo of tender, flavorful slow-roasted meat served with the resultant ‘consome,’ along with everything you need to make your own tacos. This is probably my favorite dineLA Restaurant Week offering this go round.

Badmaash Indian Gastropub—$15
If I worked or lived in Downtown LA, I’d be at Badmaash all the time. It’s Indian food prepared the way a mom or auntie would make it using fresh SoCal farmers market ingredients. I suggest paying the extra $3 for the appetizer supplement, so that you can start off with the Citrus ‘Cachumber’ Salad. I’m kind of freaky for the tomato-based Punjabi-style Chickpeas, but if you’re a meat eater both the Goan Pork Curry and Classic Butter Chicken on offer are super-flavorful.

Night + Market - Photo Credit - Courtesy of Night + Market 590
Night + Market WeHo (Photo courtesy of Night + Market)

Night + Market WeHo—$15
Everyone gets a version of the noodle dish, Khao Soi, as the main course, so I’d pick the Moo Sadoong (also called the ‘Startled Pig’) as my starter. It’s everything you want from a plate of Thai food: funky, sour, spicy and sharp with onion.

Credit: Evan Sung for The New York Times
Pok Pok LA’s Khao Soi. (Photo courtesy of Evan Sung)

Pok Pok LA—$15
You go to Pok Pok LA to try something you’ve never had before, so I’d start with the Neua Khwai Sawan (Deep Fried Marinated Dried Buffalo) with coriander seed and lime leaves. Then as my main, I’d move onto the Cha Ca “La Vong,” fried catfish marinated in turmeric and sour rice, served atop rice vermicelli with peanuts,etc etc. for my main.

Sambar—$15
Chef Akasha Richardson is making some super-tasty food at Sambar, so I’d order items that I haven’t already tasted like the Mulligatawny Vegetable Soup and the Vindaloo Beef Burger. Surprised that I picked the burger? Me too, but her Mumbai Chicken Burger (not part of the dineL.A. menu) is fantastic, so why not try the beefy counterpart?

Sambar - Mumbai Chicken Burger
The Beef Vindaloo Burger at Sambar in Culver City. (Photos courtesy of Sambar)

Evan’s dineL.A. Dinner Picks—Splurge!

CUT by Wolfgang Puck—$95
Famed celebrity chef Wolgang Puck was one of the first to add a modern steakhouse to his collection of restaurants so we’re here to eat steak. I’d start with the Maine Diver Scallop ‘Cevich’ because it’ll be of extraordinary quality and a great way to whet your palate. Next, proceed with the Dry Aged New York Sirloin with Roasted Bone Marrow. When are we going?

Orsa & Winston - Photo Credit - Skandia Shafer 590
For starters, the Kanpachi Crudo at Orsa & Winston (Photo courtesy of Skandia Shafer)

Orsa & Winston—$95
Chances are you haven’t been to talented chef Josef Centeno’s fine dining restaurant, Orsa & Winston, so here’s your chance. Put down the hundred and go along for the ride. It’s a 5-course prix-fixe menu which, to me, is the perfect number of courses. The only decision you have to make is whether or not you want the accompanying wine tasting.

Petrossian - Caramelized Sunchoke and Leek Soup - Courtesy of Petrossian 590
Petrossian Paris Restaurant & Boutique’s dineL.A. menu is a steal at $49. (Photo courtesy of Petrossian)

Petrossian Paris Restaurant & Boutique—$49
At $49, Petrossian’s menu is an afforable splurge. I love this place. Chef Gisele Wellman doesn’t get enough love IMO. I’d start with the Buckwheat Blini and Caviar Trio (we’re at Petrossian, after all), then move onto the Red Sea Bream and finish with the Dark Chocolate Ganache.

Redbird - Photo Credit - Courtesy of Redbird 590
Redbird in Downtown LA is definitely worth the visit. (Photo courtesy of Redbird)

Redbird—$95+
Chef Neal Fraser and wife Amy Knoll Fraser have one of the truly stunning serious restaurants in the city. No choices here except what cocktail or wine you’ll pay for to accompany your luxurious tasting menu. You’ll enjoy the Slow Cooked Salmon, followed by the Day Boat Scallop, a Bone-in Filet of Beef and finish with the Truffle Sundae—all in one of the most beautifully redone historic LA buildings.

The Arthur J—$95+
Chef David LeFevre’s opus in Manhattan Beach. What a menu! Go with three friends so that you can order everything. Personally, I’d get the Chilled Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail (because, why not?), the Pan Seared Scallops, Pan Roasted John Dory and the Baked Alaska because it’s LeFevre, and he knows his fish. But the meat options are crazy good, too.

The Arthur J - King Crab - Courtesy of Redbird 590
The Arthur J’s Steamed Alaskan King Crab (Photo courtesy of The Arthur J)