Monday, October 30, 2006

What's even newer? Norman's is closing.

We're sorry to report Norman's is closing on Nov. 11, although no one is really surprised. It's too bad that a restaurant with excellent food, a great sommelier and killer pig couldn't make it in L.A., but the Sunset Millenium complex has already killed several other restaurants like Central and Rika. It's really too bad that Norman's didn't decide to locate closer to central Beverly Hills, as the Sunset Strip location just didn't seem user-friendly. I also think it's possible that well-heeled Angelenos might have a certain aversion to Caribbean food, no matter how haute, associating it with calorie-packed, lard-laden peasant fare.

Authentic Cafe, which managed to hang on for around 20 years, has finally sputtered to a close. It's being reconfigured as Terroni and so far the same owner's name is on the license. Authentic seemed cool when it first opened, but it's a great reminder to restaurant owners everywhere to take a close look at your menu and decor every five years or so and make sure it meets the tastes of your customers and the quality of newer establishments. Well, unless you're Musso and Frank, then just leave it as is.

New York's BLT Steak is getting ready to move into the old Le Dome space...Lots of migration from New York lately, with Mario Batali, Craft and BLT all coming to L.A.

Downtown L.A. continues to sizzle, with J Restaurant the latest high-profile addition. Located near the Staples center, it has a chef who used to cook at L'Orangerie, a Mediterranean-influenced menu and a huge bar/club space upstair. Address: 1119 South Olive St.


Anonymous said...

I think you draw exactly wrong lesson from the demise of the Authentic. What doomed the place was that it tried to change with the times.

For many of us, the Authentic was a better-than-average, dependable neighborhood place. And really, Los Angeles doesn't have nearly enough of those places. Everyone felt welcome. They were happy to make scrambled eggs for your sister's kid, even if it was 6 o'clock in the afternoon.

Then about 3-4 years ago, they walled off the main room, attempted to create a hip lounge, got themselves a full liquor license and started catering to 25-year-olds -- just like a thousand other places in the neighborhood. And that was the beginning of the end. Families weren't really welcome anymore. Anyone over 30 started feeling out of place. And pretty soon the place was empty. Shame.

henrychan888 said...

pat, does j restaurant have a nice bar? is it also mediterranean influenced? I'm looking for some good koobideh:)


Miles said...

Authentic's bar was a joke, but it's true that the food hadn't actually changed ever...or so it seems. What was once fresh in 1994, was less so in 2006.

Kandice said...

When looking for Thai patio take out number- I spotted you. What a way to continuously enjoy dining out- i love it;) I should have thought of this! I have 2 more cool spots for you to try...You should check out Red Pearl on Melrose if you liked Thai's in the asian zone too(Chinese) and really fun and fresh. I created some art pieces for them that hang in the lounge and it turned out to be a cool spot! Also, my friend Jay opened a restaurant in the Larchmont haunts, one blk off larch on's called Larchmont Grill. ..yummy stuff.