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Breaking News! Los Angeles has Restaurants on Beverly and La Cienega
Thank God for the New York Times and its latest scintillating trend piece, which bravely goes out on a limb to inform readers that as crazy as it may sound, Koi and Republic aren’t the only two restaurants in Los Angeles.
What? A New York publication writing arrogantly and stupidly about some aspect of Los Angeles culture? Stop the presses!
In her New York Times regional trend essay Los Angeles: Where Stars Are in the Kitchen, Janelle Brown contends that one humble block of Beverly Boulevard tucked between West Hollywood and the Fairfax District is "reinventing the Los Angeles dining scene." She explains that was once "a culinary no man’s land" has "become the foodie center of Los Angeles" with "modest restaurants" that are "single-handedly raising the city’s culinary reputation."
Yeah… I guess that might be true… IF YOU IGNORE 99% OF THE RESTAURANTS IN LOS ANGELES. Sure, if you're heir to a Greek shipping fortune and never travel east of La Cienega, then this article might be a real eye-opener. But the rest of us who eat, live and work in Los Angeles without benefit of a padded expense account know that this city is bursting with amazing eateries representing nearly every cuisine* and catering to every income strata.
It’s not that the restaurants mentioned in the article are bad. They're not. BLD, Grace, Hatfield's, Ita-Cho, Angelini Osteria, Jar, Mozza, et. al. all offer delicious food. But they're about as close to being the center of Los Angeles' culinary universe as George W. Bush is to being an ordinary citizen.
To add insult to injury, Brown quotes Neil Fraser, the man behind BLD and Grace, as saying, "Los Angeles has had too many of those places [celebrity restaurants], and not enough little jewels in small neighborhoods." I'm sorry, did I read that right? It's one thing for a New Yorker to spout off with idiotic assertions like that. It's another thing to hear that bullshit coming from an Angeleno.
The true braised, smoky, beating heart of Los Angeles cuisine lies not in its yupster eateries but in its abundance of mouthwatering neighborhood restaurants. This city is peppered with late-night Korean barbecue joints, comfort food cafés, Thai noodle emporiums, vintage steak houses, ramen restaurants, creperies, homemade pasta restaurants, hamburger stands, barbecue huts, sushi houses, Peruvian seafood, gelaterias, soup dumpling specialty shops, Cuban chicken joints, about a thousand varieties of Central and South American cuisine and the best taco trucks anywhere in the country if not the world. But I guess ethnic enclaves like Little Ethiopia on Fairfax Blvd., Little India in Artesia and the Chinese food mecca of Monterey Park don't merit serious culinary consideration, since hip industry types are now flocking to Beverly Blvd.
Contrary to the theme of this condescending, obnoxious, ill-informed article, there are loads of "little jewels" in Los Angeles. They're just tucked away in the kinds of neighborhoods and strip malls that are too déclassé for upscale chefs and smarmy New York Times writers to bother noticing.
*Except maybe Hungarian. I have yet to find a great Hungarian restaurant in Los Angeles.