Two to Try – Hot Restaurants in LA

Food Fit For a Queen at Cleo

Wanna hit up one of the hot restaurants in LA? Give Cleo a shot! Located off of Sunset and Vine, The Redbury is the newest addition to the SBE hotel collection and brainchild of Sam Nazarian and renowned photographer, Matthew Rolston.  This is currently the best place to see and be seen and also eat, if you do that kind of thing.

The place has a great vibe and gorgeous, dramatic decor. Interesting photography greets you as you enter the room that’s part industrial/part luxury. Tasty cocktails should be your first order – while I didn’t order it, the next time I’ll order the Clementina as I like a little spiciness in my intoxication and Serrano peppers definitely do that. Besides that, I’d hit the mezes as they were all fabulous along with the soft, warm, doughy and perfectly seasoned flatbread (if you don’t eat bread, you will there). And honestly, I think you can stop there. No really, the mains are good, but no reason to go to Cleo. Middle Eastern fare is all about the finger foods, bread oh and don’t forget the brussel sprouts – they’re not like the ones your mom made or even the ones you do now. Then go somewhere else for dessert because it’s underwhelming here. Oh yes, and so is the service.

What’s in a Name? Who Knows at Lazy Ox Canteen.

Apparently nothing, because I have no reason why the owners would name their restaurant Lazy Ox Canteen. I guess you don’t have to have any reason, but really this name tells me nothing. And while I had heard never ending accolades regarding this establishment’s food, I didn’t do a lot of pre-menu obsessing, so I didn’t know what to expect. What I found in this narrow, packed in establishment located in the heart of little Tokyo downtown, was that the food looked so interesting at this Spanish, Asian and Californian influenced restaurant, I had a hard time trying to figure out what to order. It must have taken me a half hour to choose, but that was also because the service was seriously off. We couldn’t even order for that whole time. But as I always say, you can forgive a lot for good food! And when we finally got it – 8 people all at different times, that is – it was yummy!

The burger was very tasty and the fries came with a smoky, orange dipping sauce that was quite enjoyable. I ordered the braised paleron with cream of wheat & kumquats. Paleron is a shoulder of beef that apparently is good for braising, which I can attest to since it was perfectly tender and glazed in some kind of sweet, sort of sticky in a good way, sauce. The cream of wheat(!?) and candied kumquats were the beefs perfect foil.

My favorite part came at the end of the meal. Dessert is really the punctuation of a meal for me and I always want it to be an exclamation point. Happily, here it was! They only offered five options and we ordered four. They’re known for rice pudding which is accompanies by a bowl of carmel and creme fraiche. It was nothing to sneeze at. But for me, my favorites were the chocolate pate – deep, dark chocolate ganache basically in the form of a pate¬† (can’t go wrong) and butterscotch pudding with salted creme fraiche on top reminiscent of the famous butterscotch budino at Mozza. That’s the dish I could eat ten of. One of my best things ever!

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