Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Cheese Balls

The Liberty Grill smells like money, or at least as much like money as you can expect from a restaurant that serves deep-fried mac-’n’-cheese balls. The bronze plaques boasting a roster of investors in the renovated building are a surer sign of the downtown elite than anything published by a magazine, and the patriotic gewgaws on the walls would make a senator proud. This is probably the last place you’d expect from wacky avant-gardist Fred Eric, who put the place together (Twain Schreiber is the chef of record), and Eric’s skill at putting together a menu is more in evidence here than his love for bizarre details. The wine list is thick with expensive California Cabernets; the chili is thick and chunky; the almond-smoked rib-eye steak is thick and rare. When basketball season starts again, you can expect that a table at the Staples-adjacent restaurant will be only slightly easier to obtain than courtside seats at a Lakers game. 1037 S. Flower St., L.A., (213) 746-3400.

—Jonathan Gold

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