Dear Mr. Gold:

I'm going to the Oscars in March but not to the ball afterward. It's been difficult finding a nice restaurant that's open past 10pm on Sunday night. Where can a group of tuxedos and gowns make reservations for dinner not knowing when the show will actually end? Something within 20 minutes of the Kodak Theater is ideal. Have done STK, Mozza, and Wokano. I'm not in love with The Hungry Cat or Cafe Des Artistes, and In 'N Out is not what I have in mind, The Bazaar and Katsuya are a little pricier than I'd like. Do you have any suggestions for a meal that won't cost us a gold statue?

–Blue Pistachios

Dear Miss Pistachios:

Doesn't every evening end up at Pizzeria Mozza? Hollywood has its consolations. Anyway, as you know, there isn't a lot open late on Sunday night. And I can see why you wouldn't want to show up to Canter's or Ruen Pair in tuxedoes.

You should probably skip Wolfgang Puck's restaurants on Oscar night – their energy is understandably elsewhere. You're ruling out STK, but if steak is acceptable, Boa is certainly festive, has decent food, and open until midnight. If you don't want to go to Katsuya, you probably won't be hankering for Koi or even Shibucho, but those are possible. If you're not up for Cafe des Artistes, you're probably not up for the other velvet-rope places either. The fan system at Park's BBQ could ventilate the chrome off a trailer hitch, but this probably isn't the night you want to be tossing raw beef tripe onto a charcoal grill.

Which leaves us with the new Tar Pit, which is open late, has great drinks, and can be as dressy as you want it to be, and is open very late. Mark Peel's chopped and channeled take on '30s-era Hollywood cooking is swell. And as a bonus, the architecture of the dining room lends itself to sweeping grand entrances. Good luck – I hope you end the evening clutching gold.

Tar Pit: 609 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles: (323) 965-1300.

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