Xen Lounge recently opened in Studio City, bringing a swank interior (oversized silver-clad thrones, animal-hide stools, glass-topped communal tables), a New American menu of comfort food with a twist (mac and cheese cupcakes, crispy potato shrimp with roasted corn, dry-aged rib-eye with bone marrow butter and fingerling hash), and cocktails with all the appropriate buzzwords. It has several rooms and patios, including a rooftop with "expansive views of the Valley" for mingling, dinner and private parties (10628 Ventura Boulevard, 818.505.3513).
In Northridge, Dickey's Barbecue Pit, a Texas-bred franchise with a location in Redondo Beach, debuts on Friday. According to Grub Street, the restaurant got its start in 1941, and smokes all its brisket, ribs and pulled pork. But this being a chain, it wants you to decide for yourself: Everyone who goes in on opening day from 11 AM to 1 PM will get a pulled pork sandwich for only $1. And the first 200 in the door get a bottle of signature sauce (9035 Reseda Blvd.; 818-527-2271).
Another American favorite, the burger, finds a new home in Chatsworth at Lone Star Burger Ranch, which quietly opened a couple weeks ago. Here the burgers are grass-fed Angus half-pounders that have different sauces mixed in, from steak sauce to Italian dressing or Texax bbq sauce, and served on cornmeal-dusted buns. For the insane, there's a full-pound Angus Texas Burger for $13. We'll stick with a regular and sides like fried pickle spears and house-made potato chips (20419 Devonshire St.; 818-885-1200) [Patch]