Name of the restaurant: Spaghettini and the Dave Koz Lounge.
Concept: A Beverly Hills outlet of the famous Seal Beach spot, serving Italian-skewed California food, which translates to house-made pasta with seafood, tuna tartare, steaks and more by executive chef Scott Howard. Dinner is accompanied by live music after 10 p.m. and during brunch in the Dave Koz Lounge, also known as the stage area at the back of the dining room. The entire experience is meant to be a throwback to when people dressed up for dinner and a show.
Which dish represents the restaurant and why?: The spaghettini, of course. Firm and chewy, the pasta comes twirled in the center of a plate topped with a saffron sauce, shrimp, Dungeness crab and edible flowers. The restaurant is really into edible flowers. They come on everything, including cocktails, dessert and pasta.
What are you drinking? The Tune Up, made with Junipero gin, cucumber-basil agave syrup, lime and green chartreuse. It's garnished with a flower. The bartenders loudly shake their cocktails high above their heads, so those across the room can see and hear the drinks being made. It's hard to resist after hearing the sound of ice and liquor sloshing around in a shaker. Then a glass of wine recommended by the sommelier Jeffrey Blancq: a bright, minerally Italian Sauvignon Blanc to go with the salmon. He chose well.
Service: Really, really chatty and helpful. Around seven different people including bus boys, servers, runners, managers and more will touch your table to check on you before the food even arrives.
Crowd: Before 10 p.m., a group of 10 men dressed in suits sit at a table eating steaks, sipping martinis and red wine, talking business. A series of couples on dates sit along the perimeter of the dining room showing an appropriate amount of PDA and tables around the dining room pose for camera phone pictures. It's someone's birthday, it's someone's anniversary, and everyone is celebrating. After the music starts, the businessmen leave and the area in front of the stage turns into a dance floor. An older woman in black lace dances animatedly with a Kim Kardashian lookalike in a white jumpsuit.
Who's on stage: DW3, a nine-person band, performing its renditions of Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up" and Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk." Eric Benét happened to be in the crowd, so he grabbed the mike and performed Ja Rule's "Livin' It Up." After he was finished, he jumped on the dance floor and danced closely (think sixth graders at a school dance, swaying their hips and bending their knees toward one another) with that woman in the black lace.
Song you can't believe they played, but are glad they did: Before the band came out, a steady stream of the Black Eyed Peas and TLC dominated the stereo. "Don't go chasing waterfalls" brought out the karaoke singer in everyone, along with exaggerated hand movements, shoulder bounces and head turns.