Delicious Local Dining Spots
Left: Scallops, fennel and sambuca antipasto. Right:The bar at Culina, Modern Italian.
CULINA, MODERN ITALIAN
Perhaps more Hollywood handshake deals have been made at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills than in studio execs’ offices, but the iconic hotel was less known as a dinner destination until the recent arrival of the Italian restaurant Culina—from the Latin word for “kitchen.” Start with chef Victor Casanova’s tartufo pizza with fontina, black truffle and besciamella sauce or some yellowtail crudo and follow it with the bisteccca alla Fiorentina, the 28-ounce prime porterhouse, and sides of broccoli rabe or polenta with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Choose from the more than 200-label wine list or one of the many wines that come by the carafe. The restaurant’s décor fuses oldworld charm with modern sophistication: Communal tables in the bar area are made of 200-year-old magnolia, and a wine room can be peered into through windows etched with Italian recipes. But the pièce de résistance is a 25-foot chandelier featuring 3,000 hand-blown glass balls that took three days to assemble. And one can’t help but be drawn to the spacious heated patio that almost calls out to you to sit and enjoy a glass of Pinot Grigio during a warm LA evening. Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, 300 S. Doheny Dr., Los Angeles; culinarestaurant.com
After months of chasing down the Kogi trucks for the famed Korean tacos, fans of chef Roy Choi can now catch their breath at his first stationary venture, Chego! Behind the walls of this simple location, Choi sets the bar high yet again with his affordable Korean-inspired menu. Dig into signature dishes such as charred asparagus with garlic, chilies and blueberry jalapeño salsa or the prime-rib rice bowl with fried egg, water spinach and horseradish. As to how Choi plans to split his time between the trucks and restaurant, he says simply, “How do you divide time between your kids?”
LOS ANGELES CONFIDENTIAL:
What does “chego” mean?
ROY CHOI: Chego is a variation on a term in Korean that means “excellent, great, delicious.”
Do you have a favorite item on the menu?
I don’t play the favorites game. But our lacquered pork belly keeps wanting all the attention.
Is there a Chego! truck in the future?
If the food is tasty enough and people love it, anything is possible.
3300 Overland Ave., Los Angeles; eatchego.com
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ERIC J. SHIN (CHEGO); JESSICA BOONE (SLAW DOGS)
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.