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DINING OUT; DISHES THAT DAZZLED IN 1998.

Byline: Larry Lipson Daily News Restaurant Critic

Restaurants, as opposed to static art forms, may fluctuate wildly from one day to the next, indeed, from one table to the next.

On any given night, a restaurant kitchen may produce one dish deemed marvelous, another that's terrible.

In looking back over the year, my selection of the best dishes of 1998 (strictly from review visits) does not mean they were served at the best restaurants of the year. Or the worst.

They could be average restaurants. Or all-around wonderful.

But if they had one outstanding dish worth mentioning, and I'm talking about pure taste enjoyment and general satisfaction as much as aesthetics and creativity, you'll probably find it on this list.

And hopefully, it's still on the menu.

Arroyo Chop House

Address: 536 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena.

Phone: (626) 577-7463.

Cuisine: American.

Dish: Prime delmonico steak with caramelized onion sauce.

Bel-Air Bar & Grill

Address: 662 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Bel-Air.

Phone: (310) 440-5544.

Cuisine: New American.

Dish: Arugula and watercress salad in balsamic dressing with candied walnuts and Roquefort cheese.

Bouchon Bistro Lyonnais

Address: 7661 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood.

Phone: (323) 852-9400.

Cuisine: Bistro French.

Dish: Quenelles of pike with nantua sauce (finely minced fish cakes with lobster sauce).

Beach House

Address: 100 W. Channel Road, Santa Monica.

Phone: (310) 454-8299.

Cuisine: Rustic American.

Dish: Braised veal casserole with a side order of parsnip potato pancakes.

Caioti Pizza Cafe

Address: 4346 Tujunga Ave., Studio City.

Phone: (818) 761-3588.

Cuisine: Californian-Italian.

Dish: Pizza Rockefeller with oysters, shrimp, spinach, sweet roasted pepper, gruyere and mozzarella cheeses and bread crumbs.

Cicada

Address: 617 S. Olive St., Los Angeles.

Phone: (213) 655-5559.

Cuisine: Italian.

Dish: Lobster salad with black olives, baby scallions and a subdued citric dressing.

Denari

Address: 17239 Ventura Blvd., Encino.

Phone: (818) 907-8107.

Cuisine: Italian.

Dish: Penne with smoked Black Forest ham and sweet onions.

Don Men Tei

Address: 17302 Ventura Blvd., Encino.

Phone: (818) 784-2513.

Cuisine: Japanese ramen.

Dish: Spicy, soy-sauced ramen soup-noodle bowl with chicken, chives, onion, carrots and bean sprouts.

JJ Steak House

Address: 88 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena.

Phone: (626) 844-8889.

Cuisine: American-continental.

Dish: Veal T-bone chop with a cabernet reduction and porcini mushrooms.

Koko's

Address: 13661 Vanowen St., Van Nuys.

Phone: (818) 997-8152.

Cuisine: Armenian.

Dish: Seasoned, barbecued butterflied giant prawns.

La Paz

Address: 4505 Las Virgenes Road, Calabasas.

Phone: (818) 880-8076.

Cuisine: Mexican.

Dish: Chuletas Yucateca or Yucatan-style pork chops with anatto seeds and grilled red onions.

L'Arancino

Address: 8908 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood.

Phone: (310) 858-5777.

Cuisine: Sicilian.

Dish: Pasta 'ncaciata (timbale of tubed noodles with cheese and peas in a thin eggplant coating and a light meat sauce).

L.A. Seafood

Address: 16240 Ventura Blvd., Encino.

Phone: (818) 783-7213.

Cuisine: Chinese.

Dish: String beans with XO (rich, brown) sauce.

La Volpe

Address: 18621 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana.

Phone: (818) 881-6133.

Cuisine: Italian.

Dish: Capricciosa pizza (a thin-crust pizza with mushrooms and sausage).

Mandevilla

Address: 951 S. Westlake Blvd., Westlake Village.

Phone: (805) 497-8482.

Cuisine: Euro-Californian.

Dish: Filet mignon in Madeira sauce topped with crumbled Stilton cheese.

Nic's

Address: 453 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills.

Phone: (310) 550-5707.

Cuisine: Eclectic international.

Dish: Roasted monkfish on a corn and clam hash with a Thai chile dressing.

Nouveau Cafe Blanc

Address: 9777 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills.

Phone: (310) 888-0108.

Cuisine: Franco-Japanese.

Dish: Roasted rack of pork with Calvados sauce.

Padri

Address: 29002 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills.

Phone: (818) 865-3700.

Cuisine: Italian.

Dish: Grilled chicken and duck sausages with mashed potatoes and a mix of braised fennel and cabbage.

Pagani

Address: 8800 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood.

Phone: (310) 858-5801.

Cuisine: New American.

Dish: Grilled swordfish on a puree of parsnip with red wine sauce.

Paul's Cafe

Address: 13456 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks.

Phone: (818) 789-3575.

Cuisine: New American.

Dish: Garlic-rubbed lamb chops with mint au jus, spinach in browned butter and a pepper-flecked goat cheese and potato filo tart.

Perroche

Address: 11929 Ventura Blvd., Studio City.

Phone: (818) 766-1179.

Cuisine: Contemporary continental.

Dish: Roasted whole baby chicken in tarragon butter with golden beets.

Pho 999

Address: 6411 Sepulveda Blvd., Van Nuys.

Phone: (818) 782-1999.

Cuisine: Vietnamese.

Dish: Seven-course beef dinner (includes soup noodle bowl, raw beef that is cooked at your table and several different meatball dishes).

Restaurant 2117

Address: 2117 Sawtelle Blvd., West Los Angeles.

Phone: (310) 477-1617.

Cuisine: Franco-Japanese.

Dish: 2117's special version of lamb Wellington.

Tabu Bistro

Address: 18607 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana.

Phone: (818) 758-9368.

Cuisine: Californian-continental.

Dish: Potato-crusted whitefish.

Terrazza of Bel-Air

Address: 2960 Beverly Glen Circle, Bel-Air.

Phone: (310) 475-7404.

Cuisine: Italian.

Dish: Escarole and wild mushroom soup.

CAPTION(S):

Photo

PHOTO The spicy ramen noodle soup made by chef-owner Masami Watanabe of Encino's Don Men Tei is one of 1998's notable offerings at area restaurants.

Gene Blevins/Special to the Daily News
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:L.A. Life
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 1, 1999
Words:799
Previous Article:PUBLIC FORUM : CLINTON CRITIC'S ANALYSIS MISSED THE MARK.
Next Article:KIDS/SNEAK PEEK : START 1999 ON THE RIGHT FOOT WITH NATURE WALK.


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