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Velvet Goldmine 

Blue Velvet

Wednesday, Dec 13 2006
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In the new downtown Los Angeles, you are never more than a few steps from a shot of Pravda, a DJ or a plate of tuna tartare — the only things that seem to be multiplying faster than $800,000 condos in crumbling warehouse buildings are the hyperdesigned lounges. But often where there are lounges, there is food as well. And Blue Velvet, fitted into an old, deserted-neighborhood Holiday Inn that has been converted into a luxury apartment building, is not only a restaurant but an excellent one. Its glass-and-steel Case Study House interior is fashioned from eco-friendly materials, and its position by the complex’s swimming pool turns every vista into a personal David Hockney painting. A menu, supervised by Patina/A.O.C. veteran Kris Morningstar, has light, global, garden-oriented dishes that are as accomplished as anything downtown: a beautiful salad of roasted quail and curried chickpeas; crisp, feather-light flatbreads topped with things like puréed salt cod and organic arugula harvested from the restaurant’s rooftop garden; a delicious hanger steak with a savory apple tart; and the inevitable take on what has become L.A.’s signature cheeseburger, in the patented upscale Father’s Office style. I try to imagine Miss Destiny from John Rechy’s City of Night stumbling into one of her old downtown hangouts and plotzing from the halogen and the Belgian-beat house, but the times they have a’changed and Blue Velvet, open late, is a great place to stop by after a concert at Disney Hall or a Lakers game. 750 S. Garland Ave., L.A., (213) 239-0061.

—Jonathan Gold

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