Name of the restaurant: E.P. & L.P. Life Cultivated. It's a little confusing, until you learn that Axwell from Swedish House Mafia is an investor. In music lingo, E.P. stands for extended play, and L.P., long play.
Chef: Louis Tikaram, a 30-year-old from Australia, who started his career by making curry paste every day for a year from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Marty Boetz's Longrain in Sydney.
Concept: There's a main dining room (E.P.), where Tikaram is serving a mix of Fijian, Chinese, Indian and Thai flavors in his entrees and street food-style dishes. If you head upstairs (L.P.), there's a rooftop bar and private bar called Frankie's, where you can order cocktails, wine and snacks. And there's some language in the menu, in case you need further explaining: "If by the end of the night your guest or guests are still boring, we suggest that you ditch them and head upstairs to L.P and find some new friends." And while you're making new friends, you'll also find cassava chips with a coconut cream dip called "nachos."
What dish represents the restaurant and why: The Chiang Mai larb or the baby green lip abalone with fresh curry paste. Instead of featuring meat, the larb is made with small squares of barely cooked salmon. The fish is tossed in a deep red, fragrant, spicy sauce of chiles, kaffir lime, lemon grass and mint. The abalone is wood-grilled until tender, then served on top of Tikaram's fresh green curry paste on a beautiful, iridescent half shell. After you finish the fish, don't be ashamed to lick the shell.
Runner-up: Lou Dogg's crispy skin chicken. (Tikaram is Lou Dogg). The chicken is braised, then fried until the skin crackles. When it arrives at the table, the skin is so crisp it shatters, and there's a dipping sauce that tastes a bit like the Korean gochujang, but with a brighter chile flavor, vinegar and lemon.
Who's at the next table: Four publicists, dressed in '90s-style jeans, printed shirts and hats, sitting in a cloud of musky cologne, discussing their start in the industry at a high-profile hotel on Sunset Boulevard; two women with their hair and nails done, both wearing stilettos, sitting at the bar, actually eating carbohydrates with a bowl of vegetable green curry; and a table of eight, the women dressed in leather jackets, slip dresses and Philp Lim bags, and the men straight out of a J.Crew ad, all eating the fried chicken with their hands.
Appropriate for: Dinner with friends or family, late-night drinks and snacks, or a full-on private party upstairs on the rooftop at Frankie's.
Problematic: This place gets crowded, even early. Make a reservation.
Service: Friendly, attentive and willing to make suggestions.
What are you drinking: A playful cocktail by drink master Alex Straus called the Kriss Kross, sipped upstairs at L.P. on the rooftop. Taking a cue from the '90s music playing in the dining room, our party assumed the drink was named after the rap duo "Kriss Kross." The drink is a mix of vodka or gin, kaffir lime cordial, coconut water, fresh lime, cardamom bitters and house-made Indian tonic boba pearls. And like any boba drink, it's served in a sealed plastic cup, with a giant straw.
Info: 603 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 855-9955, www.eplosangeles.com.
I like to think I'm a good dinner date. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_