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Jingo and Trinity: Trendy, Yes, but They Need Some Work

The first thing you notice about L.A.'s newest hip restaurants, Jingo and Trinity, is that there’s not much to notice at all. Trinity, in what was once the ‘70s-ish hangout Fellini’s, has no sign marking its existence, only a blank canopy, a valet parker, and often a guy standing out front to make sure you can’t get into the place without a dinner reservation or a beautiful pout.

Jingo is less standoffish. Its canopy includes the restaurant’s name, though printed in discreet, thin lettering.

Jingo occupies the former Studio Grill, but inside it looks like a garage that a music video art-director converted into a party pad. The walls are dark, the lighting is so dim it’s almost nonexistent (though there’s a lighted-by credit at the bottom of the menu) and in one room, thrift-shop-chic sofas provide a velvety rest stop between the bar and the dining room. On the menu are pastas (penne with smoked chicken and roasted peppers, for example), fish (salmon comes with chipotle mayonnaise and jicama-zucchini relish), a New York steak with sauteed spinach, a ricotta quesadilla. The attitude here is actually very friendly and well-meaning; the only disconcerting thing is the food--much of which is kind of odd, and often haphazardly prepared.

There’s a similar problem at Trinity, where the food is mostly something to keep you busy between rounds of pool and/or martinis. The he-man menu is fairly promising--chicken pot pie, duck confit, a veal T-bone--and given time the food may become as delicious as it sounds. In the meantime, order a Caesar and a tomato-garlic-basil pizza. And check out the scene in the bar--you might see both Kiefer Sutherland and a lot of people who look like Kiefer Sutherland.

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* Trinity, 6810 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 857-1417. Entrees $9-$19. * Jingo, 7321 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, (213) 850-1448. Entrees $9-$17.


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