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Carney's A restaurant in the real Los Angeles tradition, Carney's is situated in two ancient Union Pacific cars transported to West Hollywood at great expense and mounted overlooking the Strip, where a mad parade of bass players and catalog models, hustlers and high school kids, movie guys and industry suits stare out of the windows onto the profusion of German tourists and Japanese cars that flow down this section of Sunset. Why would you want to eat a chili dog inside an old train? It's a pretty good hot dog for one thing, grilled to the color of old bronze (unless you'd rather have it steamed), crackly-skinned, bursting with a splash of garlicky juice when you bite into it, well-spiced, slender but considerable. The chili is of the thick, brown, Los Angeles school, thickened with starch, glistening and oily, adhering to the surface of the dog like impasto to a Jasper Johns painting, flavoring but not quite saturating the bun. They also sell chili burgers, and half-pound chili burgers, and chili-cheese fries, which may be the methadone of the Carney's chili experience. 8351 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd., (323) 654-8300 or www.carneytrain.com. Sun.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-mid., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Beer, wine. Lunchtime delivery. Lot parking in rear. MC, V. Also at 12601 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 761-8300. American.
Dominick's For most of its existence, Dominick's was famous as the Hollywood restaurant that never looked open, a weathered, low building, neon permanently unlit, across from the small amusement park that later became the site of the Beverly Center. It was, or at least had a reputation as, the original Rat Pack hangout. And when it finally changed hands, it was made over into a neo–Rat Pack steakhouse, then a neo-neo–Rat Pack fusion place, then a couple of other things I don't remember until it finally ended up as a pleasant, much-enlarged, neo-neo-neo–Rat Pack restaurant with late hours, a killer recipe for spaghetti and meatballs, and a menu equally divided between tough-guy American-Italian cooking and girly, salady stuff, not to mention $15 Sunday dinners that come with the option of a $10 bottle of a house wine with the unfortunate name of Dago Red. Oddly, it is a very pleasant place to be, even when you are not watching young television stars grope one another, which you usually are. 8715 Beverly Blvd., W. Hlywd., (310) 652-2335. Sun.-Thurs. 6 p.m.-mid., Fri.-Sat. 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Beer, wine. Valet parking. AE, MC, V. Italian.
Kumo The southwest corner of Kings Road and Melrose is where good restaurants go to die, the original address of Ma Maison damning future occupiers like a curse on a tribal burying ground. The hideously ugly office-building restaurant erected on the site resisted all attempts at remodeling. But Kumo is just stunning, a glowing, cloud-white space outfitted with curved white-leather banquettes, feng shui-ed to a turn, a glamorous open kitchen and a sleek Chiho Aoshima video installation. People have accused owner Michael Ovitz of a lot of things, but you've got to admire his taste. Still, Hiro Fujita's menu at Kumo, which is a spinoff of the roll-intensive Westwood sushi joint Hamasaku, is less serene than the surroundings, decent sushi sharing space with things like olive bowls and the usual Matsuhisa knockoffs, as well as truly bad ideas like sashimi pizza with miso where the tomato sauce would ordinarily be. But Fujita's cuisine, which when you got past the Judy Rolls at Hamasaku included some pretty serious sushi, may well elevate to the level of the room and the kind, understated service. 8360 Melrose Ave., W. Hlywd., (323) 651-5866. Lunch Mon.-Fri. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; dinner Mon.-Thurs. 6-11 p.m. & Fri.-Sat. 6 p.m.-mid.; closed Sun. Full bar. Valet parking. Major CC. Japanese.
Beverly Hills and Vicinity
Paperfish Here is Joachim Splichal's newest outpost, a bright, streamlined fish restaurant furnished with a warehouseful of Knoll. The menu, an Asiany document that reads like a relic of Wolfgang Puck's 1990s, is somewhat of a departure for Splichal, whose structures have up to now leaned toward the European. (The executive chef is Yianni Koufodontis, late of Petros in the South Bay.) There are sashimi dishes, including not entirely persuasive takes on post-Matsuhisa standards like kanpachi sashimi and scallops buried under avocado purée, as well as fried oysters and miso-marinated black cod. The main courses — seafood risotto, fried skate with lemon and pine nuts, monkfish saltimbocca — tend to be more pan-Mediterranean in the classical Splichal style. The name puns on the French technique of cooking fish en papillote, roasted with aromatics in a moist fold of parchment — or here, plastic — and when it comes time for the main course, almost every table has a cart parked alongside it, manned by a captain who frees the Florida snapper from its receptacle. The snapper, firm and moistened with lemongrass broth, is very good. 345 N. Maple Dr., Beverly Hills, (310) 858-6030. Lunch Mon.-Fri. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; dinner Mon.-Thurs. 5:30-9:30 p.m. & Fri.-Sat. 5:30-10:30 p.m. Full bar. Valet. Major CC. Seafood.