The Royce Wood-Fired SteakHouse
Transforming a hotel restaurant from haute cuisine to steak house makes business sense, but we mourn the loss anyway. The Langham Huntington’s dining room still has the stunning interior, and the masterful wine program is now run by Vern Lakusta. Pricey grilled meats are the new focus, dispatched by Craft alum Anthony Zappola. Marbled offerings include all-natural California beef and Australia’s answer to wagyu, along with the real thing. A few sides achieve novelty, such as the spiced spaghetti squash gratin. Hotel guests don’t seem to mind the change; perhaps we’re just nostalgic. 1401 S. Oak Knoll.
The osteria is all dark hues, and its sommeliers wear Windsor ties; the adjoining pizzeria is bright and relaxed, with cooks behind the counter forming delectable pies. The restaurants are linked by the shared philosophy of Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali, the double threat behind this always-crowded venture. 6602 Melrose Ave., 323-297-0100.
Execution is everything. Ori Menashe, his wife, Genevieve Gergis, and restaurateur Bill Chait envisioned a warehouse east of downtown as a testa-serving, guanciale-curing, pasta-extruding temple of authenticity, and darned if they didn’t achieve it. Menashe lights up beef heart tartare with champagne vinegar and boosts grilled orata with an anchovy and lemon paste. Gergis’s panna cotta with persimmon wedges ends a meal—whether it’s lardo-draped pizza or brothy cassoeula—on an exquisitely soft note. Italian peasant food hasn’t been this romantic since the last late-night showing of Padre Padrone at the old New Beverly Cinema years ago. 121 E. 7th Pl., 213-514-5724.
Yeah, Curtis Stone’s also cute in person, as he grates cured duck yolk over plump raviolo sharpened with beads of finger lime. Every month the host of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters takes a lone ingredient, like citrus, as the throughline for a nine-course prix fixe menu. The result is a deft exploration that’s equal parts pastoral and plush. Even a salad with nasturtium petals and buttermilk dressing has resonance. 212 S. Beverly Dr., 310-859-3418.