Larchmont Grill wants to be loved, really it does, a comfortable restaurant on the ground floor of an old transitional Victorian, with earnest postcollege waitresses, real iced tea and an affordable (main courses under $20) menu that is as worn in as your favorite pair of Chuck Taylors. Chef Mary Payne Moran’s cuisine is American home cooking dragged through Whole Foods, so expect to find Parmesan cheese, Yukon gold potatoes and kalamata olives in just about everything. The theme here, as announced on the menu, is “food from the neighborhoods of America’s great cities.” In practice, that means in addition to the mac ’n’ cheese, caesar salad and seared flat iron steak you’ve seen at two restaurants out of three that have opened in the past year, you will find a version of rigatoni Bolognese that owes more to South Jersey than to Marcella Hazan, steamed mussels with Iberian chorizo that would be at home in certain port towns in Massachusetts, and something called Mrs. Kim’s Korean-style short ribs that taste like one of the culinary touchstones of my own childhood, the sweet, sticky teriyaki sticks they used to sell underneath the Santa Monica Pier. 5750 Melrose Ave., L.A., (323) 464-4277.

—Jonathan Gold

LA Weekly