Each Friday, the Digest surveys the burgeoning L.A. restaurant scene and compiles this (highly unscientific) list of the most hyped and heralded restaurants in town this instant. Whether old or new, big or small, near or far, these are the restaurants that have people talking. Whatever that means. Anyway, we recommend getting a seat at these places while you still can.
1. Ox & Son
You’d be forgiven for overlooking the stellar cooking of chef Brad Miller, given that he’s been holed up in Topanga Canyon at Inn of the Seventh Ray for the past few years. But now Miller is set to make a big splash in Santa Monica with Ox & Son, a Southern-tinged, farm-to-table diner offering soulful dishes like chicken-fried duck confit and Benton’s ham and corn griddle cakes. Kale-weary Westsiders rejoice.
Former Waterloo & City chef Brendan Collins is back in the game with an intimate Hollywood restaurant that’s all clean lines and natural wood. The menu pays homage to the Brit chef’s culinary sojourns, including a take on tikka masala made with monkfish and rabbit baklava with dates. Paired with a suave cocktail list from a M.B. Post vet, it’s an exciting respite off tourist-trod Hollywood Boulevard.
3. Odys + Penelope
Fresh off the closure of their acclaimed fine-dining restaurant Hatfield’s, husband-and-wife duo Quinn and Karen Hatfield wasted no time launching Odys + Penelope, a more casual, grill-centric restaurant that channels the type of cooking the Hatfields like to eat in their own home. There are Argentinian-style and Uruguyuan-style grills, offering different levels of char for meats and vegetables, along with a churrasco and a smoker. Don’t forget Karen’s renowned dessert items either.
After months of anticipation, chefs Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campo’s Baldwin Hills restaurant is finally open. As promised, you’ll find a stunning variety of regional Mexican dishes, tamales steamed to order, and one of the most ambitious mezcal cocktail programs in the city.
5. Steak & Whisky
Chef Tin Vuong’s dominance of the South Bay dining scene continues with the opening of his new American-inspired steakhouse in Hermosa Beach. Expect riffs on classics like steak tartare with red curry and Kurobuta pork short rib with white polenta. As the name implies, there is an ample selection of Japanese whiskies–as well as wine, beer, and seasonal cocktails.
Joe Jonas might be better known for his smooth pop singles rather than his entrepreneurial acumen, but that hasn’t stopped the Jonas Brother from launching a swank and secretive (read: no website) restaurant in Santa Monica that apparently takes cues from the cuisine of the coastal Carolinas. Could there be two new Southern restaurants in Santa Monica? Yessir.
7. Knuckle & Claw
Silver Lake is getting a dose of East Coast-style seafood with the arrival of Knuckle & Claw, a quaint Martha’s Vineyard-esque restaurant offering buttery lobster rolls (stuffed with a quarter-pound of Maine lobster), clam chowder, grilled cheese, whoopie pies, and more. Owners Nikki Booth and Chloe Dahl (granddaughter of British author Roald Dahl) hope to have their beer and wine license soon, but for now it’s Fentimans soda on the sunny patio.
The team behind WeHo hotspot Laurel Hardware has opened another casual bar and restaurant just down the street that’s quickly gaining a following of its own. Sample handmade pastas with poblano pepper and oxtail, brassica “gratin,” and the perfunctory array of stylish salads for the fashion-conscious set.
Brentwood’s well-heeled residents can’t resist a good steak, and that’s exactly what they’ll find at this posh retro steakhouse from the owners of Coral Tree Café. Enjoy chilled seafood platters, wedge salads, dry-aged cote de boeuf, and, perhaps, lots of scotch. A good place to bring the corporate card.
10. The Lost Knight
High-end British pub fare is the latest eclectic addition to Echo Park’s growing restaurant scene. Nibble classic Brit dishes like steak pies or fish and chips, or try something lighter like the pastry crust-wrapped Beet “Wellington.” And because of course what would a pub be without beer, the Lost Knight offers an array of locally brewed, British-style lagers and ales on cask.