Oscar’s Cerveteca, Venice Beach

Oscar's Cerveteca, Venice Beach

Oscar's Cerveteca, Venice Beach

Inspired by the flavorful blend of the city of Los Angeles is Oscar’s Cerveteca, Venice Beach. This is a tasty staple in this popular, and growing California neighborhood. Casual and inviting, the menu boasts dishes with latin flavors and many of the recipes from owner Oscar Hermosilo’s mother. You can find anything from gourmet burgers, to fish tacos, to an “LA street dogg” on this menu, and I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed by anything. The food here is gourmet, with a strong homestyle feel to it, making this restaurant perfect for any occasion.

The impressive and inventive menu at Oscar’s doesn’t stand alone however. An impressive selection of beers, wines, and cocktails are available ion this Venice Beach go-to. With over 100 beers to choose from, you’d think he’d stop there. However, the simple and well-curated wine list offers an even selection of whites, reds, and sparkling wines. The selection does vary across different wine regions, but offers a California produced Chardonnay among others, to keep the flavor of California in the entire Oscar’s Cerveteca, Venice Beach experience.

Oscar's Cerveteca, Venice Beach

Alinea, Chicago

Alinea, Chicago

Alinea, Chicago

With as many talented chefs, sommeliers, and restauranteurs as there are across the world, it’s impressive to see a restaurant that can maintain a spot on the list of world’s greatest restaurants, have head chefs that are leading voices in molecular gastronomy, garner its own Wikipedia page, and boast a three star Michelin rating in Chicago (an honor that is in fact only boasted by two restaurants). The restaurant that I am bragging so much about is in fact Grant Achatz’ Alinea, Chicago. Every bit as good on table as it is on paper, Alinea is a dining experience that truly defines and re-imagines the experience all together.

Alinea’s tagline is “Alinea is not a restaurant…at least, not in the conventional sense”. This allure of mystery and contradiction are definitely a draw for a restaurant that has been described as “emotional and provocative”. Achatz’ creative culinary coup is a deconstruction of classic flavors and preparations. Although recent seasonal menus have most of the drama happening in the kitchen, former menus have boasted plenty of table theater—or have you not heard of the edible helium balloon (made of dehydrated apple), or the edible kinetic sculptures suspended by wires, or dishes plated directly at your table. A staple dish is the “Hot Potato”, in which you are served a cold potato, pierced by a needle in a paraffin bowl with a bit of butter, and a slice of black truffle. When you pull the pin out, everything falls into a pool of warm, creamy soup. The avant-garde composition and presentation is what Achatz has built the Alinea legacy on, offering diners not just a meal full of flavor, but a private experience that is seductive and extravagantly sinful for all of your senses.

Like any fine dining establishment, a night spent here is not without a drink selection to compliment the chef’s vision and creations. Since the cuisine here is presented as a rotating (and unconventional) tasting menu, the sommeliers’ skills are to be tested, but the Alinea standard is always fulfilled with a wine list that appeals to wine enthusiasts and neophytes across the board. Though wine director Joe Catterson finds his strength with most Austrian, Mediterranean, and German wines, you can find yourself lost in a variety of popular wine countries including Napa Valley, Bordeaux, and Australia’s Henschke Hill. A night at Alinea will last you about three hours. An experience that has been described as transcendent, you can expect nothing but the unexpected when stepping foot into this innovative, progressive, and remarkable Chicago hotspot.

Alinea, Chicago

Alinea, Chicago

Nobu, Los Angeles

Nobu, Los Angeles

Nobu-Photo-1

Just one of the 28 different locations spanning the globe is Nobu, Los Angeles. For years, Nobu has held the standard for chic, innovative dining, and this location certainly holds that standard to the highest. Separated into three separate dining rooms, and one bar/lounge, this L.A. hotspot creates a distinct feel for each room to enhance and create your Californian night out. For a laid-back evening that doesn’t sacrifice aesthetic or culinary appeal, you can find a spot in the Nobu bar/lounge and enjoy a hand-crafted, high quality cocktail, or a few bites from the tapas menu that is available.

The different menus at Nobu have been curated and crafted by co-founder and celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa, who’s stylish japanese fusion food has influenced generations of young chefs across the country. Matsuhisa has ensured that his restaurants carry his signature dishes as well as a number of specials, unique to each Nobu location. In this Los Angeles location, one can choose a specialty dish such as: Wagyu Tacos, Seabass Jalapeño Miso, or Kanpachi Sashimi with Baby Artichoke and Yuzu Dressing. Each Nobu dish takes a traditional, and somewhat simple way of preparing ingredients and shapes it into something unique and flavorful.

And like any true dining experience, your evening at Nobu won’t be just about the food. Each restaurant also has a distinct and well curated wine and sake selection. All of the drinks offered are complimentary to the variation of Nobu flavors. The Nobu dining experience is one not to be missed. From the California wines to the California culinary fusion, Nobu brings a taste of Japanese culture to a Los Angeles palette.

Nobu-Photo-2

Nobu-Photo-3

Colicchio and Sons, New York

Colicchio and Sons, New York

Colicchio and Sons, New York

Located in the former home of Craftsteak, Colicchio and Sons, New York offers top-of-the-line American cuisine served in a comfortable and chic contemporary space in New York City. There are two menus at Colicchio & Sons, one in the casual Tap Room (located up front) and another in the proper dining room. Both menus were crafted by the restaurant’s founder Tom Colicchio, a well seasoned chef with a distinct level of prestige and notoriety in the culinary world.

Colicchio and Sons’ menus offer a unique taste and perspective to even the most adventurous of diners. There are elements of French technique to the cooking here, as well as an appreciable Italian dedication to ingredients. There are Indian flavors, and central European ones; there are nods also to Spain, to the Greenmarket, and to North Africa. The result (surprisingly) is a menu with an aesthetic that is entirely American, and entirely modern. At Colicchio and Sons you can lose yourself in the tasting menu, or the Chef’s Seasonal Menu that offers a variety of exotic and exclusive dishes. Or, if you’re not up for indulging you can have anything from escargot to a bacon, potato & chive crème fraîche pizza in the tap room. And if you’re still scratching your head you can distract yourself with plenty of wine, along with artisanal cheeses and exotic teas imported from far-off places like Armenia and Taiwan.

Colicchio owns and operates numerous restaurants that span the country, including Craft, Mr. Colicchio’s flagship restaurant (also located in NYC). At this sister restaurant there is no caramelized yogurt, no grape-pumpkin marmalade- the composed plates do not exhibit the sophistication currently on offer at Colicchio & Sons. When dining at Colicchio and Sons, one can expect the unexpected- a unique perspective on food, with an incomparable taste to boot.

Colicchio and Sons, New York

Colicchio and Sons, New York

Black Hogg, Los Angeles

Black Hogg, Los Angeles

Black Hogg, Los Angeles

Nestled in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake community is a small yet bold American gastropub with a unique and flavorful menu that has put it’s stamp on the Silver Lake scene. After opening in 2012, Black Hogg, Los Angeles quickly established itself as a tasty go-to and a neighborhood staple. With head chef Eric Park at the helm, this California kitchen produces what has been called “rustic-urban cooking” and maintains a very “meat-centric” menu. Park, an alumnus of the French Culinary Institute in New York is no stranger to the kitchen, having worked in some of New York’s top restaurants including Spotted Pig and Eleven Madison Park.

Park’s menu offers staples like a buttery lamb burger, or a roast marrow bone with cilantro radish salad and corn tortillas. You can pair your meal with either a wine or beer from their small but well curated selection which offers locally produced wines from Sonoma, St. Lucia, and Napa Valley.

Black Hogg is a contemporary treat brought to life by Eric Park’s inventive menu and big, bold flavors in a tiny space. Black Hogg continues with the daring profiles that have made it a comforting mainstay for the culinary adventurous Los Angeles diner, as well as a trusted neighborhood cornerstone. Black Hogg is an ideal spot for any wine lover, foodie, or L.A. locals looking for a dynamic new spot to dine.

Black Hogg, Los Angeles