Jer-ne chef Dakota Weiss injects some whimsy into hotel dining with an Asian-accented menu and theatrical presentations. Sizzling shrimp here is exactly that, skewers of sweet, meaty shrimp cooked at the table on a 500-degree rock as big as a dinosaur egg. Marinated in wasabi and Japanese seaweed, the shrimp packs a neat whiplash of heat. And for meat lovers, filet mignon satay arrives on skewers too, ready to cook. Jer-ne at the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey, 4375 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey; (310) 574-4333.
Citizen Smith is a sprawling hotspot with a glam decor and not one, but two bars. The theme is American comfort food. Start out with small chunks of tender, moist fried chicken on skewers with homemade honey mustard for dipping. The secret is chef Taylor Boudreaux's buttermilk and cayenne batter. His Louisiana connection means this puppy knows how to fry. Citizen Smith, 1600 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood; (323) 461-5001.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday June 24, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 0 inches; 27 words Type of Material: Correction
Restaurant Issue: The phone number for M Cafe de Chaya was incorrectly listed in a review in West magazine's Restaurant Issue (June 18). It is (323) 525-0588.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday June 25, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 0 inches; 32 words Type of Material: Correction
Magazine restaurant issue: The phone number for M Cafe de Chaya in Los Angeles was incorrectly listed in a review in West magazine's restaurant issue on June 18. It is (323) 525-0588.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday July 09, 2006 Home Edition West Magazine Part I Page 5 Lat Magazine Desk 0 inches; 29 words Type of Material: Correction
The phone number for M Cafe de Chaya was incorrectly listed in a review in the Restaurant Issue ("Stick a Fork in It," June 18). It is (323) 525-0588.
At funky Yakitoriya, you order by the stick. Name your chicken part and you've got it, grilled over Japanese hardwood charcoal. The taste is smoky and alluring, each piece of chicken slightly charred at the edges. Recommended are the wings, heart, thighs and chicken meatballs. Get your veggies too, with sticks of Japanese scallions, okra or meaty shiitake mushrooms. Yakitoriya, 11301 Olympic Blvd., No. 101; West Los Angeles; (310) 479-5400.
Isn't it romantic feeding each other bites of fondue with a long fork, savoring the mingled flavors of aged Gruyere and fontina cheeses? That's all the more true at Ocean and Vine, where sliced Fuji apples and Bosc pears are offered alongside the bread. It's just like eating a slice of fruit with cheese, but warm. Try commandeering a fire pit on the terrace with a view of the ocean, or the larger one surrounded by velvet banquettes in the dining room. Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, 1700 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; (310) 576-3180.
Oysters Rockefeller conjures up visions of formal dining, but at the new Auberge at Ojai, Christian Shaffer adds the dish to his modern American menu from time to time. He makes it with Malpeque oysters and fresh baby spinach that tastes earthy and bright against the warm baked shellfish. Because Shaffer changes the menu every other month, clams casino (with just the right amount of garlic, bacon and buttery bread crumbs) may be in the oysters' place on your next visit. Never mind; oysters Rockefeller will come around again. Auberge at Ojai, 314 El Paseo Road, Ojai; (805) 646-2288.
Turks and Caicos conch served escargot-style turns out to be conch served in four pretty shells lined up in a row on four porcelain plates. Each shell holds a few bites of meaty conch, which you have to tease out with your long, narrow fork. The new Moroccan Room at Social Hollywood, the revamped Hollywood Athletic Club, is all about looks and presentation. The menu is global--hence the dolled-up conch, but the decor is the romantic Morocco of Rick's Cafe Americain in "Casablanca." The Moroccan Room at Social Hollywood, 6525 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; (323) 462-5222.
At Literati II, the food is gutsy and seasonal with a California-Italian sensibility. Fritto misto, for example, is made entirely with lovely fresh vegetables. Depending on the time of year, it could be a mixed fry of fat asparagus spears, fresh artichokes, green beans and more in a light, crunchy batter. With a lemony aioli, it's a sublime first course, to be eaten, naturally, with the fingers. Literati II, 12081 Wilshire Blvd. (at Bundy), West Los Angeles; (310) 479-3400.
Chef Lee Hefter's tasting menu at Spago always begins with a flurry of enticing hors d'oeuvres. True miniatures, they arrive one by one: a bite-sized tart of peaches or kumquats with a scoop of ethereal mousse de foie gras on top, a gossamer puff of dough with confit of pork belly tucked inside, a sake cup filled with sea urchin pot de creme. These amuse bouches do exactly what they're supposed to do: bring the palate to attention for the feast to follow. Spago, 176 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills; (310) 385-0880.
Peel 'n' eat shrimp
At the Hungry Cat, you can pay a little more and have the kitchen peel the peel 'n' eat shrimp. But why? Getting down and dirty with these delicious Mexican shrimp, marinated and steamed in beer with a mess of onions and shallots, is half the fun. Chef-owner David Lentz thoughtfully provides some punchy house-made cocktail sauce if you hanker to eat them shrimp-cocktail style. Finger bowls are provided for cleanup, or you could just lick your fingers--the shrimp are that good. Hungry Cat, 1535 N. Vine St., Hollywood; (323)462-2155.
Fried smelt and calamari