1) Chaya Venice: In the past SIV has not been a fan of Chaya Venice. However, after that mini "remodel" and the restaurant's 20 year anniversary, she decides it's time to revisit the French-Japanese eatery: "The more casual, beachy version of Chaya has always been my least favorite of the restaurants, though. With its rowdy bar scene and stripped-down menu, Chaya Venice often seemed like a dumbed-down version of the original. Not only that, in the past, I've had some strikingly bad meals, flawed by sloppy cooking. But it's held in affectionate regard by fans who remember when it was one of the few places to eat by the beach." Ouch. But that was the past and on the bright side SIV writes, "...I was happy to discover that, even after all these years, the restaurant is better than it has been in a long time...Not that the menu has suddenly gotten more interesting: It's very close to what it has always been — casual French-Japanese cuisine — but it's better executed than before. And in general I like the food more." Seafood is "excellent" and seems to be the way to go here because appetizers, several entrees, and desserts are all just okay. For anyone interested in experiencing "how we used to eat in L.A. 20 years ago," this is your one and a half star spot. [LAT]
2) Eva: On the other side of town, J.Gold visits chef Mark Gold's Eva (no relation between the two) and is quite taken by the restaurant: "...the food at Eva is the real thing...Nobody is going to tell you, unless you ask, that the meats had been cooked under vacuum for many hours to relax the proteins, that somebody schlepped to the farmers market at 7 a.m. to pick out the baby carrots, or that the intricately carved fingerlings come from Weiser, the local god of potatoes. But if you've spent much time in better Los Angeles restaurants, you just know...the strength of Eva is the relaxed but remarkably detailed cuisine Gold puts out every night. [LAW]
The Elsewhere: The Find dines at Olive Tree in Anaheim, LAmag tastes Stefan's on Montana, Refined Palate goes for sushi at Takao, Mattatouille hits BP Oysterette, Caroline on Crack tries the Manila Machine, and Exile Kiss eats at Bite Bar & Bakery.