From a cozy cottage with international fare in Pasadena to Pine & Crane’s sister restaurant in Highland Park, there’s a lot that’s new to check out this month. Here are our picks for May’s buzziest new restaurants.
Tasting Kitchen chef Casey Lane makes the most of the loft-like lobby at the restored Hotel Figueroa, cooking brasserie fare with a Basque accent. Pedro Ximénez lends a fruity glaze to mushrooms, while parsley butter enhances grilled oysters. If fried chicken with potato salad seems staid, the salty bits of jamon Lane sneaks in are a nice surprise, as is the house-made Picon, a bitter aperitif the bar turns into a fine punch. 939 S. Figueroa St., Ste. 300, downtown — Garrett Snyder
After Vivian Ku gained a following at Pine & Crane, her encore is a brick chow hall on York serving simple Taiwanese standards. Chile-oil-slicked dan dan noodles and sautéed pea shoots are classics, but she’s expanded her repertoire here with schmaltzy chicken rice and scallion bread filled with five-spice beef. For dessert: handmade mochi, coated in black sesame or peanut powder. 5100 York Blvd., Highland Park —Garrett Snyder
The snug cottage that houses Dérive was formerly Ración, a tapas spot on Old Town’s edge. The new name may be French, but the menu is broader, skipping from “pig’s head toast” to smoked kanpachi with roe. Flavors can get lost in the layering of some dishes, but there are moments, as with a bowl of anchovy-laced grains, when the ambitious cooking and cozy space form a pleasant union. 119 W. Green St., Pasadena —Matthew Segal