Dear Mr. Gold:

Dear Mr Gold:

When my parents say they want to take me out for a nice dinner for my birthday, I take their offer seriously. But I feel woefully unequipped for the task of choosing the restaurant. I do not want to go somewhere where the food is anything less than the main attraction (celeb sightings or perceived “hot spots” are not my thing), and I do want to try a place where a 20-something like me could not normally afford to go. Could you recommend a restaurant we will remember?

—Shay, Los Angeles

Dear Shay:

The new steak house Cut is extraordinary. If your parents are wealthy, you might suggest the sushi at Mori or even Urasawa. The $115 menu at Sona unfolds like a beautiful, gauzy dream. But at the moment, I would suggest Providence without hesitation. Michael Cimarusti is at the top of his game, both in sourcing seafood from all over the world and in cooking it exactly the way it demandsa to be cooked, innovative enough to captivate you through the course of a two-hour dinner but grounded enough in classical French cuisine that there is always a reference point. The wine list is varied and superb. And the new pastry chef, Adrian Vasquez, is rewriting the rules of dessert, unafraid to treat pineapple as a kind of foie gras, splash ras al hanout in ice cream or serve a flight of sugars. Get the tasting menu. 5855 Melrose Ave., L.A., (323) 460-4170.

LA Weekly