The Royal Treatment

A blast of Coltrane, a flagon of Fat Tire ale, a flatiron steak with roasted cauliflower and a Sichuan peppercorn sauce — Royal Claytons, a tavern just a whiskey bottle’s toss from the Los Angeles River, is home to all kinds of amenities not usually associated with the way-downtown fringes of the loft district, along with poured-concrete floors, high ceilings and cheese plates. Royal Claytons is one of those restaurants where it is always easier to flag down the DJ than an actual waitress, but in a way that resembles the artists’ hangouts that popped up in Soho and Williamsburg long before all the lofts were snapped up by developers but not before the artists in the neighborhood learned to appreciate steamed mussels with andouille and the more unassuming kinds of Bordeaux. And of course, spring rolls stuffed with the makings of a Philly cheesesteak, and pizzas, like every place in California circa 1985, topped with wild mushrooms and fontina or goat cheese and multicolored peppers. Sometimes there can be an upside to a little gentrification. 1855 Industrial St., dwntwn., (213) 622-0512 or

—Jonathan Gold


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