Where to celebrate NYE 2014

clip_image002-1Now that Christmas is over, it’s time to plan what to do this New Year’s Eve.
Here are some great spots that offer scrumptious dining or packages to stay
safely overnight, so you don’t need to drive after the champagne toast.
2014 near Palm Springs
La Quinta Resort is offering a family New Year’s Eve for couples to bring their
Kids. While parents enjoy a romantic dinner, the kids will be at Kid’s Kamp
enjoying all of the festivities. The property has planned enough fun until 2 a.m. 
Make reservations at Morgan’s, Adobe or TWENTY6.
Call to RSVP: 760-564-4111 ext. 7258
Morgan’s in the desert’s New Year’s Eve Dinner
5 p.m. – midnight
RSVP:  760-564-7600
TWENTY6 New Year’s Eve Dinner
5 p.m. – midnight 
RSVP: +1 760-564-5720
or enjoy NYE at  Adobe with a New Year’s Eve Dinner from  5 p.m. – midnight 
RSVP: 760-564-5725 –  All events are subject to change or cancellation.
The resort is a member of Hilton Worldwide’s Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts.
For more information, call +1 760 564 4111 or visit http://www.laquintaresort.com.
Hyatt-Regency-Indian-Wells-Villa-PondHyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa invites locals, weekend getaway-seekers, and visitors from all over to get into the holiday spirit – desert-style – with special resort packages, sumptuous holiday dining experiences at Lantana Restaurant, and festive spa treatments at the award-winning Agua Serena Spa

 Holiday Breakfast Package

Enjoy a romantic desert escape for two this holiday season, including a gourmet breakfast from Lantana Restaurant to start the day off right.

Hyatt Regency Indian Wells’ Holiday Breakfast Package starts at $169 per night, and is available from November 25, 2013 – January 4, 2014.  The Holiday Breakfast Package includes:

·         Overnight accommodations

·         Daily breakfast for two at Lantana Restaurant

·         “Holiday Cheer” gift from the resort at check-in

Travel dates are until January 4, 2014. Reserve the Holiday Breakfast Package online at indianwells.hyatt.com or by calling the resort at 760.341.1000.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Hyatt Regency Indian Wells (December 31, 5:30-10 p.m.)Hyatt-Regency-Indian-Wells-Adult-Pool

Ring in 2014 at Hyatt Regency Indian Wells with dining offerings and festive celebrations throughout the evening:

·         Guests can enjoy a four-course, prix-fixe meal by Chef Geoff Bogorad at Lantana Restaurant, with highlights such as  Skuna Bay salmon, champagne lobster risotto, and yellow beet relishbraised Kobe short rib, truffle sunchoke puree and roasted turnips; and housemade pappardelle with Meyer lemon, butternut squash, chanterelle mushrooms, and crispy horseradish, along with a complimentary glass of champagne.

·         After dinner, revelers will take in live entertainment by John Stanley King from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., with party favors and a champagne toast provided when the ball drops at midnight.

Pricing: New Year’s Eve Dinner and Celebration at Hyatt Regency Indian Wells is $65/person, exclusive of tax and gratuity.Admission to entertainment at Agave Sunset is complimentary for resort guests and diners at Lantana Restaurant. All other admission to entertainment at Agave Sunset is $25/person. Advance reservations for New Year’s Eve at Hyatt Regency Indian Wells are encouraged, and can be made by calling 760.674.4165.

About Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa

Nestled among 45 acres of lush gardens, Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa, formerly Hyatt Grand Champions Resort, Villas and Spa, is a newly renovated destination resort located within the exclusive Indian Wells community. The resort offers unmatched hospitality and service, and easy access to a myriad of activities, inviting guests to Relax, Play and Indulge during their stay. Providing a cool oasis in an iconic desert setting, Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa offers the area’s only private one- and two-bedroom villas – 43 in total – with butler service. The spacious modern 530-guestroom resort provides the warm service Hyatt is known for, seamlessly integrating relaxation, indulgence and endless outdoor activities set against the natural beauty of the desert. Featuring the award-winning Agua Serena Spa and the Medical and Skin Spa, delectable dining options, seven pools, and more than 88,000 square-feet of flexible function space, the resort offers both leisure and business travelers the quintessential Palm Springs experience. Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa has received numerous, notable awards, including the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Award for 25 consecutive years, “Top 121 Golf Resorts in the U.S.” by Condé Nast Traveler readers and Leadership level in California Green Lodging Program in 2012. For more information, visit indianwells.hyatt.com.

Montage Beverly HillsMontage Beverly Hills

The elegant Marquesa Ballroom will be transformed for the New Year’s Eve Gala, recreating the film noir mystique of the decade. Enjoy live music, dance to the era’s big band sounds and indulge in hors d’oeuvres including truffled cheese puffs and caviar roasted potatoes.Beginning at 8 p.m., guests may enjoy an open bar, and at 9 p.m., a five-course dinner with wine pairings. Classic dishes from the 1940s will be served; Lobster Thermidor Prince de Monaco, Filet Oscar and the most sumptuous Banana Split. Of course, no New Year’s Eve past or present is complete without a Champagne toast at midnight. Special room packages are also available for the New Year’s Eve celebration. http://www.montagebeverlyhills.com/beverly-hills-packages.php.


Celebration Includes Dining, Dancing, Music 

With L’Auberge Del Mar’s À Votre Santé New Year’s package, guests begin the evening enjoying a four-course dinner for two in the hotel’s signature KITCHEN 1540 restaurant. Afterward, it is off to get their groove on at the hotel’s New Year’s Eve Bash with live music 5-9 p.m. followed by San Diego’s Best DJ, Gabe Vega, from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. When it’s time to retire, guests retreat to one of the hotel’s cozy guest rooms for a restful slumber to wake up refreshed and relaxed on the first day of the new year. The À Votre Santé package is available only on December 31, 2013. The package is based on double occupancy and some restrictions apply. Rates start at $629 and include tax, resort fee and $250 dinner credit valid on New Year’s Eve only. For reservations, visitwww.laubergedelmar.com.

New Year’s Day – Join the hotel’s 9 a.m. group hike to Torrey Pines Preserve, one of the wildest stretches of land on the Southern California coast with eight miles of stunning overlooks, peaceful trails and a beautiful clean environment. Guests preferring something a bit less strenuous can lounge by the pool or slip away to the ocean-inspired spa for a special price on a festive champagne facial or holiday de-stresser body treatment. Visit www.laubergedelmar.com.

About L’Auberge Del Mar
Located in the heart of Southern California’s most picturesque coastal village of Del Mar,L’Auberge Del Mar overlooks the Pacific Ocean and offers a resort experience reminiscent of a private, coastal estate. Managed by Destination Hotels & Resorts, this historic seaside hotel offers 120 guest rooms and suites, refreshing dining options, a cheerful and cozy spa, a private path to the beach and peaceful pool area. The award-winning, signature restaurant, KITCHEN 1540, blends energy and intrigue with a fresh, lively atmosphere. The restaurant’s extensive offerings meld the classic and the unexpected, making KITCHEN 1540 something one simply has to try when dining in Del Mar. For more information, please visit www.laubergedelmar.com orwww.destinationhotels.com.

Healthy Eating is a Breeze

DSC_0697After experiencing a Paleo dinner prepared by Chef Ali Parvinjah last Saturday night at Breeze Restaurant and Bar, I vowed to start my New Year’s resolution early, by eating like my ancient ancestors in the Paleolithic era.

Chef Ali at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza is an expert at Paleo cooking and inspired me to adjust my culinary lifestyle.

Born in Connecticut on the fourth of July, Chef Ali was overweight as a child and bullied. He went to the California Culinary Academy to become a chef, because he loved eating food. Later, he worked at Patina and helped Joachim Splichal open the downtown steakhouse, Nick and Stef’s.

Seven years ago, Chef Ali was at his all time highest weight, 270 pounds. He was miserable and decided to do something about it. He met Roger Machado a professor of Brazilian jiu-jitsu who taught Chef Ali to become a vegetarian, while learning the martial arts-combat sport. While attending classes for two years, Chef Ali dropped down to 205 pounds. Feeling good about himself, he competed in Jiu-Jitsu tournaments and became lighter, faster and leaner. Chef Ali surrounded himself with people who ate a healthy Paleo eating plan, and dropped down to hisDSC_0689 current trim 185 pounds.

Meanwhile, Hyatt offered him a job to be a chef at various Hyatt Hotels. Chef Ali created a successful gourmet vegan menu for the Hyatt in London, and then came to the Century Plaza Hotel a little over two years ago.

Here he has created a Paleo menu to accompany the regular menu at Breeze Restaurant and Bar. Even the regular menu offers fairly healthy dishes that included vegan, gluten free, perfectly portioned dishes that are lighter and only 500 calories or less.

“Paleo is a modern nutritional plan based on a hunter-gatherer diet, also known as a caveman diet,” Chef Ali said. “The development of farming and grain-based diets that are reconstructed are the root to obesity.”

A Paleo diet consists of sustainable fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and nuts. It excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils. He believes our bodies can’t digest these foods properly and stores them as fat. “You take in the calories, yet don’t get much in nutrients,” he said.

IMG_5892You will not see any of these on Chef Ali’s Paleo menu, but what you will see is an appetizing array of dishes that you could easily eat daily.

“I go to the Farmers Market every Wednesday in Santa Monica to be inspired by the soil and what grows from it,” said Chef Ali. “Recently while choosing fresh vegetables and produce, I created my winter and holiday season Paleo menu.”

The Breeze Paleo Menu features appetizers titled “The Early Days of Man,” with two dishes that peeked our interest; a roasted butternut squash bisque and a pear and arugula salad. When our dishes arrived, I asked our attentive server, Robert, how this soup can be so creamy without any dairy. Robert has worked at the Century Plaza since 1995, and explained to us that Chef Ali adds coconut milk to the butternut squash, some onions and thyme, and then smooths it out with a Vitamix.

The salad had a natural sweetness and tartness to it with the sliced pears and honey, next to fresh cranberries filled with good antioxidants.

Our server Robert recommended a glass of Canvas Chardonnay made exclusively by Michael Mondavi for the Hyatt Hotels. It’s a clean tasting

food-friendly wine. Also, we had a glass of a more oaky and buttery Franciscan Chardonnay with our salad.

Inquiring about the wine list, I noticed there are 14 wines by the glass and various bottles that range from $52 to $235. What piqued my interestDSC_0690 was the Director’s Cut on the back page. Robert sent sommelier Nicholas Trznadel over to our table to explain these wines. Nicholas looks at his inventory of wines and chooses a variety of bottles to sell at discounted price to make room for new incoming wines. “It’s an added value to guests and keeps our wine list current and fresh,” said Nicholas. Every two to three weeks, he changes the wines offered on the Director’s Cut list.

Under the entrées is a char grilled New York steak topped with a grainy mustard sauce and served with sautéed winter greens, and an appealing sweet potato and leek gratin. Chef Ali’s mustard sauce is made with almond milk, honey, herbs and spices. There’s no butter

Nicolas brought out a bottle of a 2011 Justin – Justification that is made with 59 percent Cabernet Franc and 41 percent Merlot. The Merlot softens the blend. It paired nicely with the steak offering deep blackberry, blueberry and currant notes with soft spice and earth tones.

I ordered a moist and tender seared Patagonian tooth fish, also known as a seabass. It was served on a bed of cauliflower “rice” with roasted artichokes, sliced fennel, and colorful baby tomatoes next to robust olives decorating the plate.

The dishes are presented to appeal to your eyes and tastebuds
The dishes are presented to appeal to your eyes and tastebuds

The “rice” is blanched cauliflower put into a Cuisinart to resemble Jasmine rice. It doesn’t taste like rice, yet is a much healthier option.

Nicholas offered a healthy pour of 2011 Chalk Hill Sonoma Chardonnay with just a wisp of green apple, pear, soft oak and elegant butter tones.

Desserts are under “The Sweeter Side of Man” and include a Mason jar pumpkin pie with coconut whipped topping. Our favorite was Chef Ali’s mint chip ice cream made without any dairy. It’s made with raw cashews, maple syrup, vanilla bean, fresh mint and raw cocoa nibs from the seeds of the cacao tree. The nibs give the frozen delight texture and a delicate crunch. Three tablespoons of cacao offer more antioxidants than a cup of blueberries. It also has the chemicals that produce one to feel blissful and euphoric.

So for my New Year’s resolution, I am going to try to change the way I look and the way I dine. I look forward to visiting Chef Ali again for inspiration, guidance and to enjoy his healthy,

It looks like ice cream, tastes like ice cream, yet has no dairy.
It looks like ice cream, tastes like ice cream, yet has no dairy.

seasonal fare.

If the Paleo menu does not appeal to you, a regular breakfast, lunch and dinner menu is offered.

For Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Chef Ali is preparing a maple yam bisque with fried leeks and lemon misto oil, herb cashew crusted prime rib with Yorkshire pudding. Finish with a raw pecan pie with coconut whipped cream or a chocolate Yule log. Dinner is from 5:30 to 10 p.m. for $50 per person. This celebratory dinner includes a glass of Canvas Chardonnay or Cabernet. On New Year’s Eve, Chef Ali is cooking up a special three course prix fixe dinner for $80 a couple.

Breeze is open for breakfast on Monday through Friday from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m.  On Saturday and Sunday breakfast is open until 11:30 a.m. Lunch is offered daily from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The sushi bar is open from Monday through Friday at 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner begins at 5:30 to 10:00 p.m. daily. $$ 2025 Avenue of the Stars (310) 551-3334.

Shhhhh! The Whisper Restaurant and Lounge is Terrific

General Manager Jonathan Strong

Stepping into the dark and cozy Whisper Restaurant and Lounge on a cold winter night, it took us about a minute for our eyes to adjust to our surroundings, as we sat down at a high back banquette table and were handed our menus. The restaurant’s interior is elegant with its tall ceilings, mood lighting and festive holiday decor. It reminded us of a romantic supper club or modern speakeasy with Big Band music playing in the background.

We started our evening with two specialty cocktails: a Fizz Krabappel made with Prosecco, Stoli apple and cider, and a rum and apple cider mixed drink.

While sipping our aperitifs and looking over the engaging menu, the General Manager, Jonathan Strong, greeted us. A few minutes later, to our surprise, he brought the owner of the restaurant and The Grove, Rick Caruso, over to meet us.

The Grove at Farmers Market is his most successful complex, attracting visitors from all over the world. He also created the Americana at Brand in Glendale, 8500, The Commons at Calabasas, The Promenade at Westlake, and the Marina Waterside.

When Caruso opened The Grove, he developed The Whisper Restaurant and Lounge as his restaurant. It’s located near the valet reception and next door to his corporate offices. I’ve been told Caruso stops into The Whisper Restaurant and Lounge weekly to greet guests and check in with the staff.

Executive Chef Anthony Jacquet

Caruso hired the accomplished Executive Chef Anthony Jacquet seven years ago to prepare award-winning dishes at Whisper Restaurant. Growing up in Los Angeles, Jacquet went to college in San Diego before enrolling in the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After graduating, he interned with a well-known tapas chef, Barney Brown and later Chef Jean Francois Meteigner at La Cachette. Before becoming the Executive chef at The Whisper Restaurant and Lounge, he was the Chef de Cuisine at the Getty Center Museum.

Every few months he redrafts the menu to reflect the season based on what he buys at the farmers market. Right now he is incorporating pumpkin, pears, cranberries, and pomegranates into many of his dishes. Jacquet cooks with confidence and attention to detail. We enjoyed the braised short-rib croquette with spicy brown mustard and thinly sliced red pepper amuse bouche he delivered to the table.

Jacquet’s parents are from Indonesia and the Netherlands. His upbringing is incorporated into his cooking. We were told these croquettes are very popular in the snack bars in Holland. They were a nice start to a delightful evening.

Next, we tried a flatbread with grilled broccoli and burrata that had some fire to it from diced garlic and calabrian chiles. These small, red and spicy Italian chiles pack a punch. Slices of Italian pork capicolla

Exquisite appetizers at Whisper Restaurant and Lounge
Exquisite appetizers at Whisper Restaurant and Lounge

intensify the appetizer.

Strong recommended a Spanish white wine from the Northwest part of Spain near Portugal, a 2011 Morgadío Albariño. It’s a smooth wine with great minerality and nice peach notes to accompany the heirloom beets and burrata salad with sliced pear, crunchy pecans and pomegranate dressed in a light vinaigrette. It also paired well with the tuna tartare with black and white sesame seeds and a citrus-ginger vinaigrette. I couldn’t get enough of the intricately laced flavors.

For our entrees, we chose the braised short ribs and scallops. The short ribs were served on a bed of brown butter mashed potatoes and wonderful glazed root vegetables of turnips, carrots, onion and celery with a braising jus. A fitting hearty dish for a cold night.

The hand-harvested Maine scallops were placed on a purée of pumpkin-banana squash and bed of delightful black quinoa. To boost this dish even more, Jacquet paired it with sautéed bacon with mustard greens.

Before dessert arrived, we sipped a delightful Neige apple ice wine from Quebec. It’s made from apples harvested in the fall and pressed at

Save room for the desserts. They are worth every calorie.
Save room for the desserts. They are worth every calorie.

Christmas time. Served chilled, the color was a golden yellow with an aroma of ripe apple notes and a crisp taste with a striking intensity on the palate, balancing the sugar and acidity.

Desserts at the Whisper Restaurant and Lounge range from a pumpkin brulée with candied pecans, a chocolate croissant bread pudding and apple fritters with an apple compote and cream cheese ice cream. We sampled all three and were overwhelmed with pleasure.

Enjoying the atmosphere, service and cuisine, I told my husband that I’d sign up for a permanent table if I could. I also commented that the Whisper Restaurant and Lounge should change its name to that of the insightful man who created the restaurant, Caruso.

Open for lunch and dinner, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs.,  and open until 12 a.m.  Friday and Saturday. 189 The Grove Dr. (323)931-0202.

 This article was published in the December 12, 2013 issues of the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News.

Elegant Dining before 2014

Elegant Dining at LA Prime
Elegant Dining at LA Prime

Soaring up the elevator to the 35th floor of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites was a thrilling start to an anticipated meal at the award-winning signature restaurant, LA Prime. As the doors opened, we marveled at the stunning views from the 1970s iconic post-modern design hotel.

Following the hostess to a cozy booth framed by privacy curtains, we admired the white linen tables set for two or more guests celebrating an evening out or special occasion in a relaxed atmosphere with refined service, and multi-million dollar views of downtown Los Angeles and beyond.

The Chef de Cuisine Jeffery Williams at LA Prime is known for his innovative and creative fare. Williams is a graduate of Baltimore International College and has worked in various restaurants in the hotel industry, including The Willard Intercontinental in Washington D.C., and the W in San Diego, where he redesigned the menus to have an Asian influence, while using classic French 
techniques. During his stint at the

Talented chef Jeffrey Williams
Talented chef Jeffrey Williams

W in San Diego, Williams was nominated for a James Beard award.

Scanning the cocktail and wine menu, we noticed an impressive array of martinis and specialty drinks. We selected two appetizers – the baked Bluepoint oysters Rockefeller and a bowl of warm winter squash bisque with roasted chestnuts crumbled on top.

The half-shell oysters were topped with a luscious butter sauce, herbs and a sprinkling of breadcrumbs before being baked golden brown. They were rich and had an essence of the sea flavor.

A bread basket was delivered with a varied selection of baked items that included sweet fruit and nut sliced bread, cheese, pretzel and ciabatta bread and crisp lavash. It was served with a tapenade of chopped olives, red peppers, olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar.

Chef Williams visited our table with a decadent amuse bouche of King crab with Yuzu broth and tiny red and yellow heirloom tomatoes topped with extra virgin olive oil.

Our very professional and friendly server Vicky recommended we try at least one of the Chicago Stockyard steaks. The restaurant’s signature is the 22 oz. Delmonico bone-in Rib Eye. It’s the most flavorful due to its fat and marbling. The restaurant also uses Brandt beef, a ranch located in Southern California. Brandt’s cattle are raised without hormones and are fed a vegetarian corn-based diet for more than 300 days without the use of antibiotics.

An array of grass fed beef is offered on the LA Prime menu
An array of grass fed beef is offered on the LA Prime menu

My husband also inquired about the 14 oz. New York, and center cut petite filet. Each steak entrée is served with a variety of housemade sauces: au poivre, creamy horseradish, béarnaise, chimichurri sauce, and L.A Prime aromatic sauce made of vinegar and Worcester sauce.

You may enhance your steak with black summer truffles, jumbo Maryland crab cakes, a cold-water Australian lobster tail or four pieces of brown butter shrimp scampi. The guests near us topped their steak Oscar style with Maryland lump crab, asparagus and hollandaise. These extras are for an additional cost between $14 to $32.

In addition to beef, LA Prime offers beautiful lamb and veal chops, chicken, risotto, fresh fish and shellfish.

My husband ordered the rib eye and I decided to have one of the newest additions to the menu, Chilean sea bass with lime scented shallot, confit toast, and foam of ginger carrot with a splash of chili oil. The flesh of the bass was delicate and offered a light zing from the chili oil. Chef Williams makes the foam by reducing fresh carrot juice and mixed with ginger, butter and cream. He doesn’t use any additive or fillers, just a Co2 canister.

The General Manager Duke Newtran recommended a bottle of Hartford Court 2011 Pinot Noir from the Russian River to pair with both of our dishes. It offered a bite of spice with an earthy, yet peppery flavor, and light tannin for an easy and smooth finish.

For dessert we couldn’t decide if we wanted the cheesecake in a jar, deconstructed s’mores or a sour cream cake. We ordered one of the latter and

Not a meat eater? There are fish, pasta, chicken and other entrees
Not a meat eater? There are fish, pasta, chicken and other entrees

enjoyed the tender and moist cream laden cake.

As we rode the elevator down to the parking garage, we marveled at the view and remarked that although LA Prime would be the ideal spot for a marriage proposal, job promotion or special birthday, we enjoyed it as a enchanting destination for a Friday night date.

LA Prime is offering a special Christmas Day menu that includes a four-course meal from 2 to 9 p.m. at $65 per person. The bakery basket includes pumpkin Madeleines, walnut raisin bread, cheese sage biscuit, orange butter and brandied house made eggnog. An individual relish trio offers house toasted smoked almonds, dried autumn fruits, and Mediterranean olive tapenade. Guests choose from either blue crab bisque or sweet pea soup, crème fraiche with micro mint. For those who prefer a salad there are three varieties. Entrées for this festive meal include a grilled double bone in pork chop; seared John Dory with potato confit;
roasted Muscovy duck breast; or Colorado rack of lamb wrapped in apple wood bacon. Finish with a dessert of a miniature Yule of Valhrona chocolate mousse, grand Marnier cake, peppermint eggnog crème anglaise hazelnut crème brulée, gingerbread tuille and cinnamon cream.

LA Prime has all that downtown Los Angeles offers in an elegant culinary experience. Open for dinner from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. On Friday and Saturday evenings the restaurant stays open until 11 p.m. $$$ 404 South Figueroa St., (213)624-1000.

This article was published in the Beverly Press and Park La Brea newspapers on December 5, 2013.

CHAYA is Full of Delightful Surprises

IMG_5511My daughter came home from college for the weekend and craved sushi for dinner. We came up with a list of restaurants in Los Angeles to take her on a Saturday night. Since she has never been to Chaya downtown, we made a reservation.

As I walked up to the hostess stand, I admired the colorful chandelier. From a distance, it looks like an elegant glass light fixture, however up close, I was surprised when I noticed it’s made from plastic toys and everyday items.

The dining room manager Mike Javaherpour noticed my facial expression as I pointed to a plastic hairbrush, scissors, hair clips, sunglasses, medicine bottles and a champagne glass hanging upside down.

“The designer found many of the items and asked his friends to contribute to this work of art,” he said.

The artist, Stuart Haygarth, is a Berlin based artist and lighting designer who works with everyday objects to create beautiful art pieces.IMG_5504

Chaya is an elegant restaurant filled with many surprises. Hints of Asian décor fill the smaller 12-seat sushi bar with two sushi chefs working in full view. There are a few Japanese themed art pieces, yet the bar area offers an art-deco flair with its elegant etched mirrors. The polished concrete floor and white linen tables give the room an elegant European feel.

Chaya is one of the few Japanese restaurants I know of that serves crusty French bread with butter and a dish of olive oil. We nibbled on the bread as we ordered an Acai mojito and a nice glass of white Argentina wine.

Executive Chefs Atsushi Kenjo and Shigfumi Tachibe have created a menu highlighting fresh farmers market ingredients with persimmons enhancing many dishes for the Fall and winter months.

We ordered the six-item bento box served in a traditional red and black lacquered case. The first area had a salad of roasted organic beets with persimmon, hoshi-gaki goat cheese and aged sherry vinaigrette. Next to the salad was a Korean style surf n’ turf tartare. Maine lobster and Wagyu tri tip were blended with a spicy Yukhoe bean paste, scallions, julienne apple, cucumber, and a quail egg. Chopped finely, it was served with crispy wonton crisps.

IMG_5515There were three pieces of sushi and a sashimi piece along with a serving of pan roasted wild Canadian King salmon with Belgian lentils, sweet chestnuts, chanterelle mushrooms, leeks, wilted kale with bacon. We opted for a second serving of salmon, rather than the lamb chops that come in the box.

My daughter ordered a  sushi platter with a variety of rolls consisting of a spicy tuna with eel and avocado and two sushi pieces each of tuna, salmon, shrimp, albacore and yellowtail. The dish thoroughly satisfied her craving.

I had a taste of both the box and platter before settling into my caramelized onion and mushroom soup with crispy croutons.

On Sundays they serve a four-course tasting dinner for $27 and 50 percent off wine bottles.

During the afternoon they offer a mid-afternoon sushi special from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. where many of their rolls are under $10. Before 6:30 p.m. the restaurant is filled with patrons enjoying a four-item pre-theatre bento box for $29. It’s only available on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. If you arrive after 6:30 p.m. you can still take advantage of the all night long six-item Bento redux box for $39. This is offered from Monday through Saturday.

Valet and self-parking available at the City National Bank Plaza underground parking garage- LEVEL A.

Complimentary shuttle service is available to the Staples Center, Nokia Theater, and Music Center. $$-$$$ 525 S Flower St, (213)236-9577.

This article was published in the Beverly Press on 11/28/13