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Week in Reviews: Traxx Celebrates 10, Happi Songs Asian Tavern, Valerie's, The York and More Elsewhere

Traxx, the hidden gem at Union Station downtown, gets the S. Irene Virbila treatment today. The restaurant, owned and operated by chef Tara Thomas, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, which is almost ancient these days. While the architecture, jacaranda-lined patio, train-station bustle, and several dishes please Miss Irene, she politely suggests that maybe its time for the chef to head into the new millennium.

While the food doesn't harken back to the '30s, it does seem fixed in time, to the late '90s when Traxx opened and tall food was in its last throes?On the whole, while few dishes here would make you dream of coming back the next night to eat the very same thing, they are competently executed, if not all that exciting. But few restaurants anywhere in L.A. have such a unique setting, and by quietly going its own way, Traxx has become a beloved and reliable old-timer and member of the still-emerging downtown dining scene.
"Fixed in time" and "reliable" is one thing, outdated yet charming is another. Miss Irene doles out one-and-a-half stars. Everyone loves a unique setting and a good crab cake, but today the "S." stands for "stale." [LAT]

ELSEWHERE: finds so-so food but good soju drinks at Happi Songs Asian Tavern; a quick look at The York; dipping into the new Valerie Confections store; more froyo at Cantaloop; special breakfast-dinner at Noe through August; getting cheesy at the Artisan Cheese Gallery in Studio City; and revisiting the Greek garden at Sofi.

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