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Restaurants | IN THE MOOD


May 06, 1999

Today's farm-raised quail are plumper than ever--all the more reason to seek them out.

* Rix: At this New American dinner house, chef Neal Fraser has an appetizer of porcini mushroom risotto topped with a grilled quail in a sauce of reduced red wine. (Quail risotto, $14.) Rix, 1413 5th St., Santa Monica, (310) 656-9688.

* Jozu: A quite different quail appetizer, with an Asian edge, comes from chef Suzanne Tracht. She fries marinated Sonoma quail crisp with a sweet, sticky tangerine glaze, which is nicely complemented by a small salad of spicy pickled cucumbers. (Quail, $12.) Jozu, 8360 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 655-5600.

* Elena Greek Armenian Cuisine: The quail plate at this casual family-run Glendale cafe includes two grilled quail, rice, a tomato, a grilled pepper and your choice of salad or the best lentil soup to be found. (Quail dinner, $7.) Elena Greek Armenian Cuisine, 1000 S. Glendale Ave., Glendale, (818) 241-5730.

* Maison Akira: Continental French and Japanese culinary sensibilities fuse at this Pasadena Playhouse-adjacent restaurant, where the quail is stuffed with dried fruits, roasted and served with sauteed shrimp in a red currant and green peppercorn sauce. (Quail, $21.50.) Maison Akira, 713 E. Green St., Pasadena, (626) 796-9501.

* Valentino: If you order the multi-course dinner extravaganza at this venerable Santa Monica ristorante, you'll invariably be served a classical risotto with radicchio and fava beans topped with a plump quail that's been marinated in herbs and wine, pan-seared and tossed with a dried cherry sauce. (Quail risotto a la carte, $28.) Valentino, 3115 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 829-4313.

* Chinois on Main: At lunch time, you can have delicious crispy quail with a tropical salad in a pineapple plum wine ginger sauce (at night, squab gets the same treatment). (Crispy quail, $14.50.) Chinois on Main, 2709 Main St., Santa Monica, (310) 288-4246.

* Tanino: When in Westwood, try Tanino Drago's rich and hearty risotto with Italian sausage and pan-roasted quail. (Quail risotto, $13.50.) Tanino, 1043 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 208-0444.

* Saddle Peak Lodge: It seems appropriate out here in the Santa Monica Mountains to dine on a brace (that is, one pair) of jumbo California quail, each filled with a sage and onion stuffing, wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon and roasted. (California quail, $25.75.) Saddle Peak Lodge, 419 Cold Canyon Road, Calabasas, (818) 222-3888.

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