As much as we love some of LA’s glitzy and glamorous sushi restaurants, sometimes you just want to stop at that hole-in-the-wall, neighborhood restaurant where you can sit at the bar and have an excellent meal. The San Fernando Valley in particular is filled with them— some of them even inspire Westsiders and Eastsiders to actually make the “trek” (their words, never mine) to get their sushi fix. And the new Sushi Note in Sherman Oaks is definitely one of those trek-worthy restaurants, though I’d hesitate to call it a hole-in-the-wall sushi joint. Petite it may be, but the relaxed mid-century modern design lends it the impact of a much larger space, firmly cementing it as both a casual neighborhood restaurant and upscale spot where you can expect to find excellent food. The bar serves what, in LA, is a reasonably priced $80 omakase by Chef Kiminobu Saito, for which you will receive edamame, miso soup, an appetizer, ten pieces of sushi, and a hand roll. Additionally, Sushi Note boasts an impressive wine list, so come hungry and thirsty!Read More
The changes at Chef Phillip Frankland Lee's Encino destination, Scratch Bar (or now, Scratch Bar 2.0) may seem small to some, but they all add up an experience vastly different from the restaurant's previous iterations. If you've followed Scratch Bar's trajectory, you may know that it started out on La Cienega, moving to Encino as the Chef competed on Top Chef and opened up Woodley Proper and Frankland's Crab & Co. Well, the Crab & Co is no more, merging with Scratch Bar and forming a bar area that introduces service (more on that in a minute). Chef Phillip Frankland Lee has occasionally been a "controversial" figure in the LA culinary world, either lauded or criticized for "doing whatever he wants" without as much formal training as other chefs. The last iteration of Scratch Bar was able to garner a strong local customer base and consistently turned out good food, but sometimes I felt that it struggled with an identity crisis. Is it a fine dining experience? A tasting menu? Casual small plates? Small local gem or destination?
But by absorbing the Crab & Co, they actually separated the restaurant into two parts (one is the bar) and made the restaurant part smaller overall. Now, it's mostly bar seats with an open kitchen and a few tables, focusing service on a much more intimate, Chef's Table experience. Instead of an a la carte menu with a tasting option, there is now only a $145 tasting menu-- if that sounds steep, keep in mind that you're getting 20 courses. And each course is beautiful, well-composed, and delicious.Read More
We all know how hard it is to keep New Year's Resolutions. But ever since joining Classpass around two years ago (how time flies!), I've found that getting myself to fitness classes is easier than ever. In fact, I've found so many classes I actually like, and even *gasp* look forward to going to! The classes below are undoubtedly the ones I take most frequently.Read More
If you pay any attention at all to the goings-on of the San Fernando Valley, then you've likely noticed that Studio City has seriously upped its culinary game in recent years. With the addition of Joan's on Third, Alfred Coffee, and Salt & Straw Ice Cream (to name a few), it really is the go-to place for all things hip and trendy on that side of the hill. And though Firefly has been going strong as an upscale neighborhood restaurant for years now, their new addition of brunch has brought another luxe element to Studio City. Sure, you can get your avo toast and latte anywhere, but if you want a lobster scramble while sitting in an ivy-covered cabana on the patio, Firefly is the place for you. The restaurant is definitely known for it's beautiful design, with a greenhouse-meets Mediterranean castle-meets poolside cabana patio that makes a lovely setting for a romantic date, girl's night out, or group brunch. Their new brunch menu features plenty of fun cocktails, some rich takes on classic brunch dishes, and some hefty lunch options; click through to see what we ordered and our final thoughts!Read More
I was really surprised when I heard that CJ Jacobson, Top Chef-alum who helped catapult Studio City's Girasol to #35 on Jonathan Gold's famous 101 Best Restaurants list, was leaving his modernist California restaurant for the colder pastures of Chicago. The valley staple has become a go-to destination for upscale-yet-approaching cuisine, supporting local farmers with a seasonally inspired menu, attributes which have always been closely associated with Jacobson's name. But still, my interest was piqued when they unveiled a new chef and a new menu; as a proud supporter of Valley restaurants, I knew I had to check it out. The kitchen is now helmed by Executive Chef Justin Abram, who is bringing a slightly more avant-garde flare to the menu, while still grounding his food in familiar flavors and ingredients; considering how busy the restaurant was upon our arrival, the new dishes clearly haven't turned away the locals.Read More