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A One and a Half Star Night at South Beverly Grill, J.Gold Hits Choonchun For Dakgalbi

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1) South Beverly Grill: Well, what do you expect from a restaurant conceived by the team behind Houston's? One and a half stars here for this upscale version of Houston's, a "polished take on straight-ahead American fare." SIV describes the menu as

"a concise and well-edited compilation of familiar dishes dressed up for dining out...South Beverly Grill does middle-of-the-road American food pretty well. The ingredients are good, the execution generally right on, but with the tendency to overdress and over-sauce things. Portions are generous but not quite Cheesecake Factory-size. This is a classier operation. Well-run and responsive to guests, South Beverly Grill has eliminated most of the negative elements associated with a chain restaurant. The food may be predictable, but that's the point."
SIV also feel content that SBG has a sense of place that most chain restaurant do not offer, service is great, and this is one of those spots where the entrees are actually better than the appetizers. Interestingly, no comment on vino offerings (is this really an SIV review?), and desserts are oversized, so remember to share. [LAT]

2) Choonchun: After braving the lines at this year's Korean barbecue cook-off, The Goldster is inspired by the dakgalbi ("a vivid red mass of chicken, cabbage, slivered sweet potatoes, the thumb-thick rice noodles called dduk and an incongruous layer of melted mozzarella") at relatively new eatery Choonchun and decides to visit the brick and mortar incarnation: "...So the next afternoon found me at Choonchun...But there isn't much mystery in ordering — Choonchun basically serves a single dish, dakgalbi, and your only job is to decide how many orders of the stuff you might like...A steel pan is brought over; a flame is lit; what looks like five pounds of cabbage and sweet potato begin to steam...Chile sauce is applied in a wash you recognize from a late Jules Olitski painting. It is tossed. The cabbage melts down to nothing. The sauce caramelizes. You may eat." [LAW]

The Elsewhere: The Find eats Jamaican at Front Page Jamaican Grille, Stuff She Likes dines at Rivera, KevinEats hits at Matsuhisa, Midtown Lunch digs Curious Palate, OCR files an early review on Ecco, and OCW enjoys Raya inside the Ritz-Carlton.