Starry Kitchen has opened for lunch in the courtyard of California Plaza with a rotating menu of fun, eclectic pan-Asian specialties, thanks to owners Nguyen and Thi Tran.
The Trans started an underground supper club, cooking dinners for friends in their North Hollywood apartment eight months ago, and already have made the leap to a bona fide restaurant in the former 8Fish space. The restaurant debuted last week. Main dishes, such as Korean short ribs, Vietnamese coconut braised pork and crispy tofu balls, rotate weekly.
The crispy tofu balls are made with marinated ground tofu mixed with whole kernels of corn, dipped in buttermilk, coated in glutinous green (yes, green) rice, deep-fried and topped with spicy mayonnaise. They're vegetarian, and they're what Nguyen calls "Game Changer No. 2" for those who might eschew non-meat dishes. (Game Changer No. 1: Thi's crispy kimchi rice cakes, whose secret ingredient is Parmesan cheese.)
Next week, the crispy tofu balls and Korean short ribs will be replaced with kimchi stir-fry and king oyster mushrooms (also a vegetarian dish) and Japanese hamburger curry, respectively. Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday.
350 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 617-3474. www.starrykitchen.com.
Tom Colicchio is hosting a fundraiser Sunday to benefit the Hungry in America Project, a collaboration between the documentary "Hungry in America" and the Feed Foundation. Kristi Jacobsen and Colicchio's wife, Lori Silverbush, are the filmmakers behind the documentary, which is slotted to premiere in early 2011.
The spread will include dishes from Craft's menu, as well as a few guest chefs' creations. "Top Chef" champion Michael Voltaggio will be preparing an updated take on a deli classic -- pastrami pigeon, sauerkraut gele, Gruyre cheese and rye au jus -- which is also on his menu at the Dining Room at the Langham in Pasadena. Nancy Silverton and Suzanne Goin also will contribute to the menu.
Tickets are $250 general admission and $1,000 VIP, available online at www.thefeedfoundation.org.
New Eagle Rock ale
Eagle Rock Brewery seems to be hitting all the trendy notes. First, it announced a coffee beer with Intelligentsia. Now it has an Imperial Red Velvet Ale.
The folks at the brewery got together with Donny Hammel, a home brewer from Camarillo, and started working on an Imperial Red Velvet Ale. Hammel's recipe won the Doug King Memorial Competition in January, landing him a chance to brew in Eagle Rock Brewery's commercial brew house. The name's a reference to the mouth feel of the Imperial Red.
"The rye in the Imperial Red lends this very silky texture. It's a really velvety, smooth beer that's totally indulgent," says Eagle Rock Brewery co-owner Jeremy Raub.
Raub estimates that the Imperial Red Velvet Ale will be available in the brewery's tap room for tasting in about a month.
Mac & Cheeza, an all-mac-n-cheese spot, is open downtown. 223 W. 8th St., Los Angeles, (213) 622-3782, www.macandcheeza.com.
Shabu-shabu restaurant Yojie has opened near Staples Center. 501 W. Olympic Blvd., No. 102, L.A., (213) 988-8808, www.yojie.com.
Lunch (which is also open for dinner) announces its grand opening in Culver City. 3829 Main St., L.A., (310) 837-6200, www.eatatlunch .com.
--Betty Hallock and Krista Simmons