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Week in Reviews: Brix@1601, and uWink, Animal, the Waffle Factory, Bacos and More Elsewhere

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Photo by Alen Lin, 5/08

With it's heavy wine focus and pedigreed staff---chef Michael McDonald (Dakota at the Roosevelt), sommelier Caitlin Stansbury (The Lodge in BH), a GM who worked at L'Orangerie, Spago and Aureole in NYC---and comfortable suburban vibe, Miss Irene enjoyed Brix@1601 in Hermosa Beach even for her first go-around. Things remain the same in today's full review, with mad props to the chef:

Read over the one-page menu and it sounds similar to a zillion other menus I've seen lately. You've got your lettuce wedge, your sliders, your steamed mussels, your tuna tartare, your fashionable flat-iron steak, et cetera, et cetera. But if any restaurant demonstrates that it's all in the execution and also in the quality of the ingredients, this is it?The food here certainly won't rock your world, but in McDonald's kitchen, dish after dish is expertly prepared and satisfying. The guy can cook.
One note about the "overzealous staff": With those people at the helm, there's little chance any critic enters undetected. Of course they'll come on strong. Brix walks away with two stars. Today the "S." stands for "sniff and swirl." [LAT]

ELSEWHERE: CoC finds uWink at H&H not so great now that the media party is over; Dig Lounge is also kind of lost at uWink and explores the Waffle Factory in South LA; Eating L.A. squealing for Animal, finds Village Idiot pre-6pm actually quite nice; Lafoodbloggers seek out hot pot at Jazz Cat Café in Alhambra and sake and Japanese fare at Bar Hayama on Sawtelle; RD&S is in a baco coma from Lot 1 Café.

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