Angelini Osteria. Angelini Osteria is a loud, reasonably priced Italian
café with reasonable versions of Roman trattoria classics. But man, can that kitchen
smoke a sea bass. The newer, more formal La Terza seems closer to chef Gino Angelini’s
sensibilities, but sometimes you crave the challenging textural complexities of
smoked sea bass smeared with bottarga, and sometimes you just want a quick plate
of spaghetti carbonara. 7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 297-0070. Beer
and wine. Valet parking. Lunch Tues.–Sat. noon–2:30 p.m., dinner Tues.–Sun. 5:30–11:30
p.m. AE, MC, V. Entrées $12–$30. Italian.
JG $$

John O’ Groats.
The restaurant is named after a town at the northernmost point
of Scotland, but give or take an order of fish ’n’ chips or two, the menu is pretty
much all-American. Try the smoked pork chops, they’re divine. And although there
seem to be no actual groats on the menu — which is kind of a relief, the steel-cut
Irish oatmeal satisfies just fine. 10516 W. Pico Blvd., West Los Angeles, (310)
204-0692. Breakfast and lunch daily 7 a.m.–3 p.m. Beer and wine. Street parking.
MC, V. Entrées $9–$14. American.
JG ¢

Kiriko. You may never have heard dog owners talk about their pets with
half the affection chef Ken Namba uses to describe his salmon, beautiful, shiny
fish whose flesh is so luxuriously heavy with oil that it tastes almost surreally
alive. Namba smokes his salmon over smoldering cherrywood, slices it thick and
wraps it around spears of ripe mango: The sashimi is soft and luscious, salty
and sweet, penetratingly smoky yet delicate — one of the most magnificent mouthfuls
of food imaginable. 11301 Olympic Blvd., No. 102, West Los Angeles, (310) 478-7769.
Lunch Tues.–Fri. noon–2:15 p.m. Dinner Tues.–Sun. 6–10 p.m. Japanese.
JG $$$

Lucky Dragon. Lucky Dragon practically specializes in extravagantly smoky
Chinese-bacon dishes, chewy, pungent and deeply salty. You can have this bacon
steamed in a bowl with vegetables or fried with hot chiles, sautéed with green
garlic, or tossed with dried, pickled string beans. The powerful, haunting aroma
will stay in your memory, and possibly under your fingernails, for days. 321
W. Garvey Ave., Monterey Park, (626) 573-5060. Open daily 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Lunch
or dinner for two, food only, $16–$28. Beer and wine. Takeout. Street parking.
MC, V. Chinese.
JG $

Mimosa. Where’s the smoke? The Alsatian-style tarte flambée, a thin, crisp
pizza crusted with an eggy cheese custard and a few slivers of smoked ham: sensational.
Mimosa resembles an ordinary restaurant in almost every way except one: The food
is really good. 8009 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 655-8895. Dinner Tues.–Sat.
6–10:30 p.m. Beer and wine. Valet and street parking. AE, D, MC, V. Reservations
recommended on weekends. Entrées $11–$26. French Bistro.
JG $$$

Orris. Hideo Yamashiro’s Orris is sometimes described as an Asian “tapas
bar,” but it’s closer to a Mediterranean take on a Japanese pub than to anything
you might ever come across in Spain — sweet shisito peppers sprinkled with shaved
Parmesan cheese and crunchy bits of fried prosciutto; deliriously smoked scallops
garnished with fat salmon eggs. This is food to wash down with sake, not with
a glass of sherry. 2006 Sawtelle Blvd., West Los Angeles, (310) 268-2212. Lunch
Mon.–Fri. 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m.; dinner Mon.–Thurs. 6–10 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 5:30–10:30
p.m. AE, MC, V. Beer, wine and sake. Limited lot parking in rear. Small plates
$6.50–$14. Japanese.
JG $$

Stevie’s on the Strip. Sure there’s the gumbo, the best in town. But Stevie’s
is also known for what the restaurant straightforwardly calls Smoky Fried Chicken,
crisp, peppery stuff that is run through a smoker before it is battered and fried.
Stevie’s smoked chicken is a staple at half the house parties in the Crenshaw
district. 3403 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 734-6975. Lunch and dinner
daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m. No alcohol. Takeout. Lot parking. Cash only. Lunch for two,
food only, $7; dinner for two, food only, $18–$20. Creole.
JG $

LA Weekly