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Week in Reviews: Tower Bar, The York, Bar Hayama, Elf Café, Frank Bruni Visits Cut and MORE

(1) When S. Irene Virbila's review of the Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower Hotel was first posted online last night, it was missing the star rating. Without it, we thought the review read like a two, two-and-a-halfer because the critic, enamored more by the scene and setting, didn't attack the food. Maybe that's hotelier Jeff Klein's plan:

Compared with other hotel restaurants, Tower Bar's food is very decent, if you put aside some of the glitches. There's that seafood tower, the lovely potato blini, Lobster Cobb and roasted lamb T-bone. I wouldn't recommend this address to real foodies or put it on my list of L.A.'s top 10 restaurants, but it's fun for an evening out on the town. It's also just about the only adult spot on the Strip.

The closeness of the tables, the live music, the unbeatable views, the suave maitre d' (yes, Dimitri Dimitrov is still there), staff in white jackets, create an unforgettable, quintessentially L.A. experience. On Sunset Strip, finally, there's somewhere that's not just another stab at trendiness, but a restaurant and bar that resonate with life.

Her first dinner was on on the poolside terrace, which is a completely different experience than the dining room and a slightly different menu (the outdoor is more casual). In the end, Miss Irene gives the Tower Bar one-and-a-half star. Today the "S." stands for "semi-smitten." [LAT]

(2) We have a special bonus round with New York Times' critic Frank Bruni who enjoys Cut in all its Puck glory: Not the scene, not the design, not the haughty and bubbly service, and somewhat the food. It's all credit to Wolfgang and that fact that he is, after many many ventures, still Wolfgang, right down to his choice in music:

Speaking of 1970s rock, the music in the restaurant was an almost uninterrupted soundtrack of a British band’s greatest hits. “What’s up with all the Pink Floyd?” I asked our server.

“Wolfgang really likes Pink Floyd,” he answered.

“I hope you do, too,” I said.

“Not anymore.”

Bruni was impressed by the New York sirloin, many of the sides, even the desserts. He seemed less impressed to see Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw one night?but he still writes about it. [NYT]

ELSEWHERE: Gastropub finesse at the The York in Highland Park; similar options at The Del in Playa del Rey; small plates and sake flights at Bar Hayama; solid vegetarian fare at the hipster Elf Café; more vegan at Truly; spicy is as spicy does at Jitlada; and make your way to Montrose for La Cabanita.