Angelenos have always been suckers for programmatic architecture, eager to eat chili in a chili bowl or munch on doughnuts under a 40-foot cruller, drink beer inside a bucket or consume fried chicken inside an abstracted KFC container. The giant milk bottle on Slauson and the big thermometer in Baker remind us that we exist. Now comes the 20-foot illuminated flower outside the new cocktail-oriented restaurant Desert Rose, towering over the sprawling dining patio, casting a healthy pinkness over agave-nectar margaritas and ginger mojitos, chicken kebabs with hummus, sesame-crusted ahi tuna with wasabi and pineapple salsa, carpaccio drizzled with chile oil, and gooey crab cakes with tart avocado salad. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner; serves Italian pastas, pan-Asian dumplings and Middle Eastern grilled meats; and at least on opening week was populated by couples of every possible persuasion. In the 1930s, a Los Angeles architect would have found a way to fit the cocktail bar inside the giant, glowing rose. Seventy-five years later, we should be grateful, I suppose, to have a giant, glowing rose at all. 1700 N. Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz, (323) 666-1166.
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