The first customer who came in raved about the fabulous sculptures that dominate the front of the restaurant, towering above the bar from their own glassed-in room. They are pretty fantastic--three huge orange vats in which an aqua liquid circles in a perpetual whirlpool. But these sculptures are functional; they are the tanks in which the beer at Eureka, 1845 S. Bundy Drive, Los Angeles, (213) 207-1000, is brewed.
But then, everything at Wolfgang Puck's latest place is on a grand scale. Designer Barbara Lazaroff has thought big, creating an atmosphere that is somehow beautiful, macho and comfortable all at the same time. The wine list is huge (but the prices aren't). And what look like dozens of chefs scamper about the open kitchen.
The menu's large too; there seems to be something for every taste. Sausage-lovers will find an immense array--including Chinese almond duck sausage with Sichuan blood orange salad or Viennese bratwurst with warm apple cabbage salad. The Pacific shellfish chowder is tasty and intense. There are pizzas and salads and various pasta dishes. There is steak. Spicy potstickers come filled with lobster and red chili. Golden oysters with two tartars are a candidate for prettiest plate of the year award. The doughnuts are amazing. Best of all, prices are reasonable; if you eat very carefully you can be out the door for $20-$25 a person.