|Courtesy of Napa Valley Grille|
Chef-owner Josiah Citrin of Mélisse (our top-rated New American) heads south to The Strand House in Manhattan Beach for a stint as its guest chef. The evening will include passed hors d'oeuvres followed by a four-courser of diver scallops with young leeks and black trumpet mushrooms, black bass with cipollini onions, a duo of prime aged beef rib eye and braised beef cheek with charred broccoli, and finally, a dessert of chocolate, caramel and peanut butter (6:30 PM on; $75 per person, with paired wines for $25 extra; 310-545-7470).
One of the Napa Valley's most esteemed (and long-lived) wineries - Joseph Phelps Vineyards - is being honored at Westwood's Napa Valley Grille, with Wolfgang Puck alumni Taylor Boudreaux offering a four-courser, with Phelps wines to match. Expect steamed razor clams with tangerine zest, crispy lamb belly, pan-roasted Wagyu strip loin and poached Turkish apricots with orange blossom gelato (6:30 PM on; $75 per person; 310-824-3322).
Zagat 30 Under 30 honoree Micah Wexler of Mezze has introduced a new menu of modern Middle Eastern dishes, including house smoked salmon with purple onions and pee wee potatoes; Grandma's chopped chicken livers with apple mostarda and housemade challah; Egyptian rebel fries with heirloom beans and brisket; and hashweh risotto with lamb and burnt onions - proof that Jews and Arabs can co-exist - at least on the dinner plate (310-657-4103).
With the week nearly over (what, aren't four days enough?), this is a good time to head for a leisurely lunch at Comme Ça, where the freshly introduced spring menu includes dishes like an oeuf frite with baby kale, along with chef David Myers take on a French dip au jus, made with shaved roasted beef and horseradish on potato bread, with cole slaw on the side and beef bouillon for dipping. His new sandwiches also include a boulettes de viande of lamb merguez, topped with piquillo pepper-tomato sauce, arugula and harissa aioli; and there's a beef short rib bahn mi with horseradish and spicy pickled vegetables. Washed down with drinks like his Cool Louie - potato vodka, lime, black pepper, cucumber and basil. Nice (323-782-1104).
With the week definitely over (five days really are enough!), this is a good time to head for the sun-drenched patio at Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air for freshly introduced dishes like Puck's kampachi & matsutake mushroom ‘crudo’ with ruby red grapefruit, Ligurian extra virgin olive oil and crème di limon; his hand cut steak tartare with Tuscan extra virgin olive oil, egg yolk “jam” and condiments; and his Russian osetra caviar with a 90-minute cooked egg, cauliflower purée and crisp beef tendons. Washed down in this case with a Forbidden Kiss - gin, fresh raspberries, rose elixir, lemon juice and grenadine; or a Monroe’s Passion - passion fruit rum, rum, passion fruit juice, orange juice, cranberry juice, ginger juice, chili syrup and grenadine (310-472-1211).
For those immersed in March Madness, the NCAA teams will be down to the Elite Eight the weekend of March 24 and 25. And Nick & Stef Steakhouse in Downtown LA is throwing its doors open to fans, with a game-friendly menu of braised beef short rib skewers, prosciutto de Parma flatbread, and oysters on the halfshell, along with ales like Arrogant Bastard, Green Flash and Chimay Tripel. There's a 4th Street Dirty Martini as well - just in case your team craters (213-680-0330).
Learn about the preparation of spring lamb - "up close and personal" - when the owners and butchers of Huntington Meats join with Suzanne Tracht at her Jar Restaurant for an evening spent "breaking down a whole lamb...portioning primal cuts..." and, of course, cooking dishes like Tracht's lamb ribs with sweet onion salad, her lamb satay with Zanzibar spice, her braised lamb shank with star anise, and her roasted leg of Elysian Fields lamb (6 PM on, about two hours, with a sampling of course; $125 per person; 323-655-6566).