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The Dish: La Cachette Bistro, SouthWest Mexican Grill, Empire Now Open

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1) Santa Monica: At 3p last Friday, Jean Francois Meteigner finally got the ok to open his casual yet sophisticated California-influenced French eatery, La Cachette Bistro. "I had all the food, so when I heard we could open I said, 'we're opening tonight,'" Jean Francois says about the last minute debut. The simply designed space is quite large and airy, with a long outdoor patio studded by 20 or more bistro tables that look out onto Ocean Ave. Inside, off to the right are several lounge tables perfect for a quick bite, in addition to a smallish bar that seats about eight. The actual dining room itself is marked by white walls bedecked with vintage framed French posters. The far wall accommodates a row of plush booths, in addition to another 15 or so tables all dressed in white clothes with a shaker of "sel marin" on top. For a glance back at the menu, click here. 1733 Ocean Ave.; 310-470-4992; website [EaterWire]

2) Marina Del Rey: Last week also brought the opening of a small new Mexican restaurant called SouthWest Mexican Grill which is believed to have taken over an old massage parlor on Lincoln. The lunch and dinner place only holds about 12 tightly placed tables and is actually not completely finished just yet (outside signage plus a bit more interior work still to come). Check out the Southwestern/Mexican menu in the photo above and stay tuned for a website coming soon. 4059 Lincoln Blvd.; 310-822-3454 [EaterWire]

3) Hollywood: Apple Lounge didn't quite pan out as planned, but owner Steve Marlton has moved on to a bigger and better (?) project, Empire. Situated on Cahuenga just North of Hollywood Blvd., Empire has taken over the old Sugar locale and now resembles a sort of Greek-themed abode. Greek columns, tiered booths, coliseum-style dance floor, head here for additional details. 1716 N. Cahuenga Blvd.; 323-836-0854; website [Urban Daddy]