Throughout the year, Restaurant Editor Bill Addison will travel the country to chronicle what's happening in America's dining scene and to formulate his list of the essential 38 restaurants in America. Follow his progress in this travelogue/review series, The Road to the 38, and check back at the end of the year to find out which restaurants made the cut.
I have much eating to do in Southern California before I compile Eater's first list of the essential 38 restaurants in America at the year's end. In this first pass through, I tried the wonderful Republique, a somewhat modern day Campanile; compared the tasting menus at the boundary-pushing Trois Mec and Alma; drove out to Bell to sample the authentic Mexican dishes at La Casita Mexicana; hunted down some of the best xiao long bao in the city at Din Tai Fung; dropped serious cash at one of the country's most expensive sushi restaurants Urasawa; and weighed in on a trio of established and new standouts Animal, Chi Spacca, and Maude.
What follows are the final three standouts from my Los Angeles explorations.