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EATS: Restaurant Reviews and News | IN THE MOOD

Portabello Mushrooms

April 16, 1998

Big and meaty and endlessly versatile, the portabello mushroom has become a popular appetizer, salad topping and sandwich filling, not to mention the basis of many a vegetarian entree.

* Border Grill: Sous chef Jeffrey Kramer, a member of the L.A. Mycological Society and true mushroom lover, created mulitas de hongos, a vegetarian dish of grilled portabellos layered with guacamole, Mexican cheeses, black beans and poblano chiles. It's served with seared red chard. (Portabello entree, $15.75.) Border Grill, 1445 4th St., Santa Monica, (310) 451-1655.

* Hugo Molina: At dinner, there's a colorful salad of grilled portabellos, yellow and red tomato concasse, grilled swordfish and a charred onion "fondue." (Portabello salad, $10.95.) Hugo Molina Restaurant, 1065 E. Green St., Pasadena, (626) 449-7820.

* Jozu: The Asian-inflected vegetarian entree from chef Suzanne Tracht is a grilled portabello mushroom served with warm asparagus, roasted red creamer potatoes sauteed with pea tendrils, caramelized garlic and a soy-based sauce. (Portabello entree, $16.) Jozu, 8360 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 655-5600.

* Washington St. Bar and Grill: Gerri Gilliland's large new American restaurant features steaks and seafood and an appetizer of portabello mushrooms, all of which are grilled over red oak. The mushrooms come with a spicy garlic aioli. (Portabello appetizer, $7.) Washington St. Bar and Grill, 3016 Washington St., Marina del Rey, (310) 823-9898.

* Pinot Bistro: At lunch, try a warm appetizer of grilled portabellos stacked with goat cheese, sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts and an artichoke vinaigrette. (Portabello appetizer, $7.75.) Pinot Bistro, 12969 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 990-0500.

* The Belvedere: For an appetizer, chef Bill Bracken makes a portabello and artichoke tart served with lobster-and-tomato relish. (Portabello appetizer, $9.50.) The Belvedere, Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel, 9882 Little Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 788-2306.

* Bel-Air Bar & Grill: At both lunch and dinner, this new neighborhood haunt offers a grilled marinated portabello sandwich with roasted peppers, Parmesan cheese, basil and a balsamic vinaigrette. It's served with your choice of fries, onion rings, fruit or other sides. (Portabello sandwich, $8.25.) Bel-Air Bar & Grill, 662 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Bel-Air, (310) 440-5544.

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