246 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 888-8782
8635 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 659-1099
Beef is back, in a big way. Michael Mastro’s namesake, set to open at the end of July, enters the scene as an upscale supper-club steakhouse. Chef Edgar Ardon sends out huge lobsters with generous potato side dishes. With live jazz in the second-floor piano bar, Mastro‘s promises one-stop destination dining. At Porterhouse Bistro, opening the first week of August, owner Alvin Cheng singles out that thick cut of steak from the hefty end of the sirloin -- the prix-fixe menu’s only item. It‘s a bold move befitting hearty carnivores: a casual ambiance, one entree, choice of soup or salad, and a full bar featuring California wines exclusively. When it comes to meat, the Beverly Hills T-Bone House Corporation, Porterhouse’s owners, doesn‘t mess around. Dinner served 5 to 10 p.m. nightly.
8225 Beverly Blvd., Beverly Hills, (323) 655-6566
Suzanne Tracht and Mark Peel, chefs extraordinaire of Jar, opening at the site formerly occupied by Indochine, have chosen to remain mysterious about the origins of their new restaurant’s name. What we do know is that Jar will be a modern twist on the classic steakhouse. The decor will be a modern twist on Art Deco. The steak, a modern twist on, well, steak. Tracht and Peel are serving oysters and other seafoods as a first course. A la carte dishes will come with ”interesting sides.“ Tracht, formerly at Jozu, and Peel, late of Campanile, plan a bright, open space, a complete reworking of Indochine‘s darker motif. Can we expect the same of the steak? We’ll just have to wait until the end of September, when the mystery of Jar is unveiled. Until then, we cling to Tracht and Peel‘s motto: It’s ”not just a steakhouse.“
Red Pearl Kitchen
412 Walnut St., Huntington Beach. For information, call (310) 273-4936.
Chinese lanterns of raw silk. Wooden screens. Black lacquered bamboo caning and opalescent tile. The fragrant scents of jasmine rice, curry and green papaya. Welcome to Red Pearl, chefs Liza and Tim Goodell‘s homage to 1940s Shanghai. Diners can linger at communal tables by front windows, sharing family-style dishes of oven-smoked sablefish with ginger-cucumber namasu, black-pepper jumbo prawns, or Korean charbroiled pork. Two-person booths are perfect for cozying up with bowls of country-style miso soup with oishi vegetables, wakame and tofu, or small plates of chicken satay. And better still, menu prices range from $5 to $19. It’s casual glam with a fine-dining sensibility, due to open in late October.
6703 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. For information, call (310) 273-4936.
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Chef Alex Scrimgeour, formerly of the Saddle Peak Lodge in Calabasas, takes up the old Citrus location for his newest fine-dining venture. The cuisine scene at Alex is contemporary European -- definitely no Asian influences, says Scrimgeour -- with prix-fixe dinners ($48 for three courses, $58 for four) as well as a seasonal tasting menu. Is Los Angeles ready for the strong flavors of game fare, which Scrimgeour featured to wide acclaim at Saddle Peak? Elk, venison and grouse rub haunches with squab and pheasant on the menu. The British chef, who matriculated from Cordon Bleu, assures a wide menu selection -- elk is optional. The dining-room decor consists of thick wooden beams, a glass ceiling and hardwood floors -- quite a departure from Citrus‘ white-enamel-on-white-gravel layout. Alex is set to open in October.
8475 Melrose Place, West Hollywood, (310) 392-9571
Bastide, modeled on ownerchef Alain Giraud’s dream home in the South of France, offers simple, light, Provence-style fare using California ingredients. Bastide, Giraud explains, is ”dedicated to the pleasures of life.“ With over half of the seating space arranged within an open-air patio, two ”tasting menus“ -- one featuring seasonal special ingredients -- and an extensive wine list (”the best of the small- and big-flavored wines“), the dining experience at Giraud‘s ”home away from home“ looks to be open before the end of the year. Appetizers range from $12 to $18, entrees $24 to $32.#