S. Irene Virbila begins her review of South Pasadena wine bistro 750ml (that's "seven-fifty em el") by describing the attitudes of most LA restaurant entrepreneurs: stick close to home, stick with what you know. The Steven Arroyo Los Angeles Dining Empire, on the other hand--Cobras & Matadors, Malo, Happi Songs Asian Bistro in the old Flora Kitchen and something called Church & State on the way downtown--is literally all over the place. But Arroyo's latest outpost, she says, is different in one very important way:
Arroyo's places, as different as they might sound, have had several things in common: killer locations; a distinctively urban, edgy look; moderate prices; and, except for Boxer (where, incidentally, Neal Fraser was at the stoves), food that is just OK. Only Boxer had any kind of culinary ambition. Mostly, the food is workmanlike, based on a menu that a decent line cook can execute.
But for 750ml, he hired Greg Bernhardt, who has worked at Grace, Vida and Le Dome. And guess what, it shows.
In fact, 750ml has a lot going for it: great location, pretty interiors and "highly focused" meals she says will make for a perfect summer dining spot once permits allow seating outside. Miss Irene has strapped on her sandals, slipped on a sundress and awarded 750ml two shining stars. S.=Summertime, here we come. [LAT]
ELSEWHERE: Gridskipper checks out California School of the Culinary Arts restaurant Bistro 561 in Pasadena; Leslee Komaiko samples the new Arts District steakhouse e3rd; LA.com says yes to X Bar; not-so-secret foodblogger fave Sushi Karen; and the LA Times gives the summer club preview with Ritual, Goa and the new Thompson Beverly Hills Hotel bar ABH on the list.