Former Mayor Richard Riordan may be famous for his custodianship of the Original Pantry, the gritty 24-hour chophouse that has been feeding Los Angeles since the Depression, but you are more likely to run into His Honor at a place like Valentino or Michael’s, where the wine lists are longer than paperback thrillers and the amuse-gueules more likely to involve caviar and crème fraîche than hunks of sourdough and plops of coleslaw. Riordan’s Tavern, the newest of the many, many steak houses to open near Staples Center, this time in the space formerly occupied by the Pantry bakery, would seem to be an attempt to split the difference between the two styles of restaurant — it’s a sports bar that just happens to serve $43 rib chops, a genuinely old dining room tricked out to look like the old-timey backroom at Applebee’s, a place to sluice down crab cakes and flabby shrimp cocktails with Tanqueray martinis. Are the steaks worth the 300 percent premium over the similar steaks next door at the Pantry? It depends on how much you want to watch the Dodgers on a big flat-screen TV. 875 S. Figueroa St., dwntwn. (213) 627-6879.
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