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Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week: January 8

Follow Eater editors as they share their favorite dishes they ate in LA

Budo-gnocchi at Budonoki in Virgil Village.
Budo-gnocchi at Budonoki in Virgil Village.
Cathy Chaplin

The editors at Eater LA dine out several times a week, if not per day, which means we’re always encountering standout dishes that deserve time in the limelight. Here’s the very best of everything the team has eaten this week.


Little neck clams at the Old Place in Agoura Hills

Little neck clams at the Old Place in Agoura Hills.
Little neck clams at the Old Place in Agoura Hills.
Matthew Kang

In my first-ever visit to the Old Place this past Friday courtesy of my friend Adam, a huge fan of the restaurant, yielded this immense starter of half-dollar-sized Little Neck clams served in a herbaceous white wine broth tinted with lemon. On the side, a giant-sized, plush sourdough loaf served hot from the oven to help mop up the broth. Eating this dish at the edge of the bar, I’m transported to an era maybe 100 years ago, eating at a dusty roadside tavern, except rough-and-tumble cowboys would never be eating fresh clams cooked in a white wine broth. That’s the beauty of the Old Place, a true anomaly of LA restaurants that could be the warmest, most lovely dinner spot on a chilly, windy evening. 29983 Mulholland Highway, Agoura Hills, CA 91301. — Matthew Kang, lead editor

Salade Lyonnaise at La Copine in Yucca Valley

Lyonnaise salad at La Copine in the Yucca Valley.
Lyonnaise salad at La Copine in the Yucca Valley.
Nicole Adlman

Whoever pigeonholed January as a “damp” or dry month has clearly not been to Yucca Valley’s La Copine. Here, low-intervention wines flow year-round. Against an invariably pale brown desert backdrop, its food is a jolt to the nervous system: think Jidori chicken liver pate pooled with a sweet cherry gastrique; a steak sandwich layered with wagyu beef, salted cabbage, and a sinus-clearing horseradish cream; and the socarrat — a crispy, mushroom-flecked saffron rice brightened with lemon juice and basil oil. For me, Copine’s salade Lyonnaise is the antidote to the limp lettuce salads that tend to dominate the discourse at this time of year: crisp frisee offers a textural contrast to the butternut squash, poached egg, and glistening lardons it’s bedded with. It all comes together with sherry vinaigrette and a light shaving of Parmesan. The only thing I resolve to do is make a reservation before my next visit. 848 Old Woman Springs Road, Yucca Valley, CA 92284. — Nicole Adlman, cities manager

Budo-gnocchi at Budonoki in Virgil Village

Budo-gnocchi at Budonoki in Virgil Village.
Budo-gnocchi at Budonoki in Virgil Village.
Cathy Chaplin

There’s much to adore about Budonoki, the Japanese izakaya on the ground floor of the Cha Cha Cha apartment complex in Virgil Village from chef Dan Rabilwongse, Josh Hartley, and Eric Bedroussian. The room glows a soft shade of blue, while the drinks are playful and the food is shareable. While it’s impossible to go wrong with the restaurant’s signature pressed sushi made with Ora King salmon and soy-marinated serrano chiles, or the simple but fabulous grilled pork jowl, or everyone’s favorite Thai pork sausage, it’s the jokey Budo-gnocchi that delighted me most. The one-time Halloween special is now a menu mainstay and for a good reason: the bowlful of chewy rice cakes, shimeji mushroom, black truffle, and Parmesan is pure comfort. 654 Virgil Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90004. — Cathy Chaplin, senior editor

Wagyu burger at Chubby Curry in Beverly Hills

Wagyu burger on a white stone plate at Chubby Curry in Beverly Hills.
Wagyu burger at Chubby Curry in Beverly Hills.
Matthew Kang

The server kept recommending the burger at Beverly Hills’s new Chubby Curry, a restaurant that might fit better in the SGV or Koreatown than the tony 90210 zip code. While the curry and katsu are all fantastic, chefs Liga Sigal and Shin Thompson’s version of a hefty pub-style burger hits it out of the ballpark. Sporting fatty but sturdy ground wagyu beef, the thick patty is seared to a near char but remains juicy inside (Sigal says that Chubby Curry will often take extra A5 wagyu from Niku X in Downtown to serve here in Beverly Hills). The ample caramelized onion and curry-inflected aioli add the flavors of Japanese curry but in a fresh vessel. It’s easily one of the best new burgers of the year. 225 S. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. — Matthew Kang, lead editor