Counter: Live fire and hot pots

February is almost over, somehow, and this year is a leap year, so consider this a reminder to head to Border Grill on Monday if you can. Every four years, on Feb. 29, that L.A. restaurant becomes, for a night, a reprise of City Restaurant, the place that launched chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger to fame a quarter of a century ago. What else is going on this weekend? The Oscars, of course, which means you may be staying home making snacks that pair well with, I don’t know, movies about bears and growing potatoes on Mars.

Or maybe you’re heading out while the rest of this town is home watching Chris Rock and people in gowns. In which case, it’s a good weekend to check out Charcoal Venice, Josiah Citrin’s newish Westside restaurant and the subject of Jonathan Gold’s latest review. Or go hot-potting, which is maybe a better communal dining experience than ordering pizzas for the Oscars. Deputy Food Editor Jenn Harris has six hot pot restaurants, in various genres, to help you out. So enjoy the weekend and, if you haven’t already, watch “Spotlight,” a great movie about newspapers.

Amy Scattergood

Charcoal Venice

Baked cabbage served at Charcoal Venice.

(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Playing with fire

This week, Jonathan heads to Venice, where he sits — metaphorically at least — by the fires of Josiah Citrin’s newish restaurant. The chef behind Mélisse, the Michelin-starred Santa Monica restaurant, has traded in his white tablecloths for lots of charcoal at Charcoal Venice, where the menu is devoted to live-fire cooking. Thus some pretty great rib-eye and duck, and arguably some even better vegetables.

Hot pot spots you can’t miss

Prime beef and vegetables are prepared at Seoul Garden in Koreatown, which specializes in Korean hot pot. 

(Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)



Hot pot restaurants have long been popular in neighborhoods in the San Gabriel Valley and Koreatown, among other places, and it seems they’re having a renaissance these days. Jenn considers six hot pot restaurants with various styles and backgrounds, including Japanese shabu shabu, and Chinese and Korean iterations, as well as others. This is communal dining at maybe its most fun.


The butternut squash with dukkah from Moruno at the Original Farmers Market. 

(Michelle Park)

Moruno is Spanish for snacks

Jenn also checks out Moruno, the new Spanish restaurant that took over the Short Order space at the Original Farmers Market. There she finds roasted butternut squash topped with dukkah and bread flown in from Spain, just to name a few highlights. Moruno is from chef Chris Feldmeier and David Rosoff, who worked together at Mozza and Campanile. And coming in April: Bar Moruno at Grand Central Market. More marinated anchovies for us all.

Banh xeo
The banh xeo from Banh Xeo Quan in Rosemead.
(Jonathan Gold / Los Angeles Times)

What we’re into

Every week lately, we’ve been spotlighting things we get obsessed with around town: a dish, a drink, a conceit. This week, Jonathan considers the joys of banh xeo, the Vietnamese turmeric-laced crepes he finds at Banh Xeo Quan in Rosemead. Amy checks out Republique’s seriously addictive rotisserie chicken, and Jenn enjoys some 14-year-old single malt from Glenfiddich. We know, we know, it can be a hard job.

Momofuku and Milk Bar

Momofuku and Milk Bar are opening at the Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas. Pictured are cookie mixes from Milk Bar. 

(Milk Bar)

More reasons to head to Vegas

Most of us on the West Coast have been conditioned to head to David Chang’s restaurants when we visit New York — or Canada or Australia — as there’s no outpost of Momofuku or Milk Bar out here. That’s about to change, as Chang and Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi are opening restaurants in Las Vegas, as part of the new projects going into the Cosmopolitan hotel on the Las Vegas Strip (see: Eggslut).

Jonathan Gold’s 101

Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants, the authoritative annual guide to local dining, is online for subscribers.

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