One of my favorite things about living in LA is the vibrant and varied restaurant scene.  (Duh–I’ve been a restaurant critic for two decades now–of course I love that!)  I’m always happy to welcome new entries into the mix.

To that end, I attended two really different openings recently, each with its own unique crowd and vibe, but both packed to the rafters.

I’ll try my best to make some time in my crazy busy schedule to go back and do a full review of each in the near future, but for now, a look into their openings will have to suffice.

The models waiting to walk the "runway." Photo by Karen Salkin.

The models waiting to walk the “runway.” Photo by Karen Salkin.


And spicy the evening was.  This was the kind of fete that I would have felt terrible to be on the outside looking in on. I loved that every single guest dressed up for it, even though it didn’t say to do that on the invitation.  We all just knew.

There was an all-evening-long fashion show, with gorgeous Indian-influenced gowns by Fashion By Rohini, in their massive party room, that’s adjacent to the actual restaurant.  Half the guests stayed out there all night, while the other half sat in the beautiful dining room.  (Guess which one I chose?) Delicious tidbits from the regular menu were passed non-stop, in both areas.

Spicy samosas. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Spicy samosas. Photo by Karen Salkin.

My favorites were two kinds of chicken bites, and little flat pancakes made from spinach, potato, and peanuts.  Yum-my!  Despite the crazy clamoring for food from the dressed-up guests, the pro staff managed to keep their wits about them, and tried to give everyone a fair chance to try all the fair.  Diana was especially kind, and I hope we get here when we have dinner there.

I can’t wait to wait to go back to this upscale Beverly Hills eatery, and try everything they have to offer.


The owners of the nearby Tipple and Brine in Sherman Oaks turned their former Murph’s bar space into the new Downtown Johnny’s.  It has the same dark, bar-esque atmosphere, but a new chef and menu.

The cheese and charcuterie buffet. Photo by Karen Salkin.

The cheese and charcuterie buffet. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Even though they were passing some tasty-looking appetizers, including mini sliders, my friend Alice and I had gorged on the cheese and salami bar, so we really didn’t try anything else.

Since this place is mainly a bar, they were featuring several of the special cocktails from their fun drink menu, which the assemblage seemed to appreciate. Since I don’t imbibe, this part was left up to Alice. Even though she was happy to see her favorite Moscow Mule on there, she decided to go with the flow, and chose a tequila-based “Lady Sage,” which also contained sage, agave, lime, and grapefruit bitters. She deemed it a “smooth, delicious and refreshing drink.”

I’ll let you know more about both of these eateries as time goes on. And, of course, it you have any thoughts on these newbies, please let us know in the Comments below.


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