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RESTAURANTS

Sides to the center

July 19, 2007|Leslee Komaiko

At some restaurants, the sides are so compelling, it's tempting to make a meal out of them.

Dominick's

Our favorite side at this low-key Italian spot is the multicolored heirloom carrots from McGrath Farms. The tiny carrots are cooked on a wood-burning grill, then brushed with butter. Lastly, they get a touch of nutmeg, salt and pepper. For summer, there's also sauteed white corn finished with basil and Parmesan. And it's hard to go wrong with fried, smashed red potatoes tossed with a little lemon and raw garlic.

* Sides, $8. 8715 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 652-2335.

Buffalo Club

Chef Patrick Healy does a whopping dozen different sides. Four feature potatoes, but you can also get a stack of crisp cheese grit fries with house-made spicy ketchup, collard greens braised with ham hock, fresh okra dredged in egg white and cornmeal and deep fried, as well as delicious little pan-fried hush puppy cakes with a golden exterior that gives way to a custardy center.

* Sides, $10. 1520 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 450-8600.

Brooks

Among the sides chef Andy Brooks offers at his 2-month-old dining room are jalapeno cheese grits made with roasted jalapenos, Jack cheese and Parmesan, and truffled squash, a combination of colorful summer squashes stewed with tomatoes, fresh herbs and white truffle oil. All of the sides are served in adorable mini cast-iron pots.

* Sides, $5. 545 E. Thompson Blvd., Ventura, (805) 652-7070.

BLD

Order one of the "self-constructive dinners" such as a grilled flat-iron steak or hemp-crusted tofu and choose from any two sides. Perhaps halved Brussels sprouts roasted until they're golden and soft polenta made with butter, cream and onion, or fingerling potatoes sauteed in olive oil and fresh herbs and garlic rapini.

* Tofu dinner, $16. 7450 Beverly Blvd., L.A. (323) 930-9744.

The Lodge Steakhouse

Along with the requisite steakhouse sides of creamed spinach, mashed potatoes and onion rings, diners at this 2-year-old looker can indulge in sauteed shiitake and cremini mushrooms finished with fresh basil; Lyonnaise potatoes seared in bacon fat, then pan fried with yellow onion; and for the season, baby squash and carrots simply roasted with a little garlic butter.

* Sides, $8. 14 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 854-0024.

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