Eddie Kerkhofs is the co-owner and he was one of the two original owners of Le Dôme on Sunset. He’s Belgium and a great friend and he makes all of his customers feel special and comfortable. When we go there with a big party he always does something special, like ordering special roast chickens or ducks or special wine, like a great Bordeaux that’s very, very good and reasonably priced. The experience isn’t about the food, it’s about him and the people you’re with.
It’s a particularly unique restaurant with Richard Meier’s great design. The booths are comfortable, and it’s nice to have a drink at the bar next door. Hopefully you’ll get a glimpse of Wolfgang Puck, which is always a treat, and the food is spectacular—great fish, chicken, and a great wine list. They always spoil groups of people with appetizers that they send over, from ahi tuna to kobe beef sliders. I frequently go there with six or eight people and get a nice big round table. Even though there are a few Cuts now around the world, the one here is the original and very L.A.
It’s co-owned by Cecile T’ang, who came to California in the ‘60s to go to film school. Her original Joss was on Sunset and just a notorious hangout for lunch and dinner. It’s hands down the best Chinese food outside of Hong Kong, and Chinese is always good for a group. Her food is very, very good. She’s a great grande dame with fantastic taste.
I had my birthday party there this year in the omakase room, which seats eight. If you have a reason to take over the whole room, it’s a lot of fun and they spoil you with exotic and unique dishes. If you’re lucky like I was, Nobu [Matsuhisa] will join in on the festivities. He got drunk with us, which was hysterical.
It’s very simple traditional yakitori spot with an L-shaped bar plus some tables. The chef makes great jidori chicken cooked on skewers in different ways on a charcoal grill. His attention to detail is magnificence and besides the yakitori he makes great grilled duck breast and wonderful duck and porcini truffle raviolis and a special, special, special heart, for those who are brave enough—I’m not. He also makes the best shabu shabu in the city. It is good for a group because it’s casual and fun. It’s a festive atmosphere with interesting people and you can see the chefs cooking.
They have several private rooms that accommodate whatever size party you have and the service is spectacular and the wine list is interesting. It’s also a good value, and usually convenient. It’s just a fun, casual bistro—the best in L.A, by far.
It’s a great place, particularly if you take the time to put a picnic together and come early and relax, whether it’s for a philharmonic event or one of the concerts that we produce. It’s a very unique experience, and one of the best venues in the world.
It’s been redesigned and it’s a really fun place to go with a group of people when there’s a good show. You can walk around or hang out on the balconies or downstairs.
The Orpheum Theatre
It’s great for a small, more intimate show. If you have a group you can sit in one of the boxes right on the side of the stage that hold as many as eight people, and it’s a great experience. The theater is just so beautiful and the sound quality is superb. I sat up there with some friends for a Thom Yorke show and it was fantastic.
The Polo Lounge
If I feel like grabbing a drink with a group of people, I head to the Polo Lounge. It’s classic, it hasn’t changed a lot since it opened. It’s comfortable and easy to get to and nice to sit outside at a table or in a booth or inside near the bar with the piano music. It’s a beautiful, elegant place to start—or end—an evening with friends.
Photographs courtesy (in order of appearance): ilpiccolinorestaurant.com, fourseasons.com, josscuisine.com, nobumatsuhisa.com, facebook.com, bouchonbistro.com, hollywoodbowl.com, livenation.com, laorpheum.com, beverlyhillshotel.com.