A fairly high percentage of L.A.'s finer dining restaurants are closed on Mondays. Next Monday that's probably a good thing, as not a few of them will be at The Foundry on Melrose. Eric Greenspan, chef-owner of The Foundry, will be hosting The James Beard Foundation L.A. Chef Invitational, a 5-course dinner with passed hors d'oeuvres and specialty cocktails. Is it cheap? No. Is it worth it? Well, consider who's cooking: Walter Manzke (Church & State), Zoe Nathan (Rustic Canyon, Huckleberry), Jason Neroni and Doug Psaltis and of course Greenspan. And who's mixing your drinks: Eric Alperin (The Varnish), Dan Bayha (The Foundry), Michael Madrusan (NYC's Milk & Honey), Richard Boccato and Jeff Hollinger.

After the braised beef short rib with foie gras and black pepper sauce, paired with a 'Sideways in Reverse,' stay later, fork over another $50 and enjoy the After Dinner Cocktail Party. Maybe Alperin will mix you up a cocktail that doesn't take 15 minutes to make. But so what if it does. Listen to some jazz. Chat up the chefs. Maybe Greenspan will make you something with grasshoppers or Manzke will tell you which one is his favorite Joe Pytka commercial. Guess that depends on Alperin.

James Beard Foundation LA Chef Invitational at The Foundry on Melrose: 7465 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 651-0915. Monday, October 19th, 6:45 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. $125 per preson. For information and reservations, call (800) 626-8097.

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