10 Best Dishes in L.A. for Homesick New Yorkers
There are endless versions of the Italian restaurant, from the red-tablecloth joints that dot Manhattan, through Chicago's deep-dish pizza infatuation and into Beverly Hills, where Spago helped to create a new wave of Italian dining. But this is not a quintessentially Italian town the way New York is. We don't even have a Little Italy, and plenty of places struggle to do a serviceable veal parmigiana. Thankfully, we do have Superba Snack Bar, the light and airy antidote to the saucy, red-tablecloth joints back east. Nostalgic New Yorkers can fill up here with porchetta di testa (a decadent, pig-face sandwich), or fight for the final bite of macaroni with chorizo and mussels, in a bright space that proudly serves the weekend surf crowd. On a perfectly breezy Venice Beach day, it's easy to forget the basement Italian spots that are always around the corner in New York. 533 Rose Ave., Los Angeles; 310-399-6400.
6. Sliders at BreadBar
Flickr/lifeontheedge White Castle Slider
Let's be clear: A slider does not mean the same thing in Los Angeles as it does in New York City. Or New Jersey, for that matter, where White Manna in Hackensack has been the model of steamed, onion-laden, mini-burger perfection. The West Coast never succumbed to the White Castle outbreak, and Kenny Shopsin of Shopsin's in Manhatten isn't moving to the beach with his recipe book anytime soon. What Los Angeles does have, however, are mini hamburgers. More robust than the thin slips of beef that typically denote a slider, these are fully formed burger patties, cooked and topped with tinier versions of the same lettuce, tomato, onions and cheese, all on a baked bun.
The simple sliders at BreadBar's BistroBar in Century City are the No. 1 example of expertly handled beef and bun done on a small scale. As expected, the unsteamed bread is still quite delicate and delicious, to say nothing of the quality beef and white cheddar slices. At Silo downtown, they take things a step further, with tender fried chicken, BBQ bison and pulled pork iterations. Sad New Yorkers looking for their slider fix don't have to unbox a package of frozen White Castle pucks, when there are so many great, small hamburgers around the city to enjoy. BistroBar, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Century City; 310-277-3770.
5. Cheesecake at Sweet Lady Jane:
Flickr/lwy Sweet Lady Jane Desserts
There are plenty of New York-style cheesecake slices to be had in this town, particularly at old-school joints like Musso & Frank in Hollywood. But why satisfy yourself with a regular slice when Sweet Lady Jane exists. The sweets store offers very un-classic iterations daily, from the Brownie Sundae to the White Chocolate. Perhaps it's time for New Yorkers to turn a corner on truly tasty cheesecake. 8360 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; 323-653-7145.
18450 Clark St., Tarzana, CA
Helms Ave., between Venice and Washington boulevards, Los Angeles, CA