If you’re joining us this week at the New World Wine Experience at the JW Marriott Hotel in Los Angeles, and you’re staying downtown for the event, you can find a good selection of restaurants, from casual to fancy, in the neighborhood.
Last year Wine Spectator published my update of the restaurant scene downtown, and this year I homed in on a number of relatively new spots around L.A. that are worth knowing. Among those, several are only a few steps from the event, notably Rivera (John Sedlar’s modernist take on Southwestern U.S., Central and South American goodies) and WP24 (Wolfgang Puck’s spiffy Chinese restaurant in the same hotel as the event).
The JW Marriott Hotel is in L.A. Live, which has a bustling collection of hip restaurants, including several outposts of L.A.-based restaurant empires. Tuesday night I checked out Katsuya Uechi's eponymous restaurant Katsuya, the latest from a serious challenger to that other sushi star with a far-flung empire, Nobu Matsuhisa. Loved the drinks (the Dragon is a heady mix of vodka, yuzu and ginger) but the kitchen seems to do best with non-traditional sushi.
Some downtown L.A. places that did not get into my recent reviews, but worth knowing about:
• Water Grill (544 S. Grand), no-nonsense high-quality fish and seafood in a clubby atmosphere
• Patina (in Disney Hall), refined French cuisine and a Grand Award-winning wine list
• Church & State (1850 Industrial Street), a French bistro in a remote part of downtown
• The Gorbals (501 S. Spring Street), Ilan Hall’s quirky take on a meat-centric menu with a Jewish accent
• First & Hope (710 W. 1st Street), a sleek American bistro in the shadow of Frank Gehry’s curvaceous Disney Concert Hall
• Sugarfish (600 W. 7th Street), the notorious Kazunori Nozawa’s downtown outpost for first-class, no-nonsense sushi
• Drago Centro (525 S. Flower St.), upscale branch of Celestino Drago’s satisfyingly Italian Westside mainstays
Troy Peterson — Burbank, CA — October 19, 2012 12:33pm ET
Justin Remeny — Los Angeles — October 19, 2012 12:53pm ET
Steve Trachsel — Poway, Ca. — October 21, 2012 5:31pm ET
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