1) Shangri-La: Right off the bat SIV dives in, "Hotel dining rooms don't come much cozier than the one at the updated Hotel Shangri-la on Ocean Boulevard in Santa Monica...feels more like a posh private club than like a restaurant that takes reservations.” The food by former Tower Bar chef Dakota Weiss and the service are “really quite good,” and the menu is not “hotel solemn but lighthearted and playful.” Rather than filling the restaurant menu with items to rival those on Top Chef, Weiss provides Shangri-la patrons with “accessible, heartwarming comfort food at prices lower than most hotel dining rooms” including a special 3-course menu on Tuesday nights for $15. Off this menu she enjoys “bright octopus cevice cut in coin-sized slices and doused in lots of lime,” as well as the deconstructed shrimp cocktail with a "gutsy" cocktail sauce. But SIV’s favorite starter is a tie between the spicy grilled lamb sausage and the truffled egg toast. Among dinner entrée oddballs (an excellently black-truffle embellished omelet) and staples (the chicken cordon-bleu), Weiss also churns out dinner classics, including “a good, straight-ahead burger." While "the Shangri-la remains more of an insider's spot, two full stars later SIV thinks that "good things sometimes come in surprising packages." [LAT]
2) Waterloo & City: Let's just say it's not the typical dineLA menu over at Waterloo & City, and The Goldster is giddy at the thought of smoked tongue with carrots, goose meat with toasted hazelnuts, and a seared pork chop, “served medium rare?under a huge, oozing, coagulated slab of English black pudding.” File this one under a “meat-on-meat crime.” There aren’t many vegetarian options on Waterloo & City’s menu, “the place is ostensibly a gastropub, whatever that has come to mean.” His primary excitement is over the fact that the pork chop is served with “the mass of blood pudding on it as the default, not as a choice—not like the roasted bone marrow you can request with your steak at Cut, or the blood sausage on the menu at St. Amour?the chef clearly intends the pork, with it’s delicious, gory garnish, to be popular, a dish enjoyed by everyone, not a novelty intended for deep-end diners.” Gold concludes, “Waterloo & City is to Culver City what Suzanne Goin’s Tavern is to Brentwood: the right restaurant in the right neighborhood at the right time.” [LAW]
Elsewhere Around The Blogosphere: The Find cools down at Ice Pan, Diana Takes a Bite of Vito’s Wild Mushroom Pizza, Mattatouille hits Robata Jinya, My Last Bite dines at Loteria Grill, Pleasure Palate finds a hidden gem at The Fix Burger, and e*star LA files thinkage on Ramen Jinya.