From a fried chicken sandwich restaurant in downtown L.A. to a New York speak-easy in West Hollywood, here’s what’s happening in the food and drink world:
More fried chicken: It seems that almost every new restaurant has an #fcs (fried chicken sandwich) on the menu — a tower of crunchy fried chicken, some form of slaw and pickles on a brioche bun. At the new South City Fried Chicken, which opens in the Corporation Food Hall in downtown L.A. Thursday, there are no less than eight fried chicken sandwiches on the menu. Owners Joshua Kopel, Mark Egland and chef Samuel Monsour (the partners behind Preux & Proper) were inspired by their favorite Southern cities. The New Orleans, LA sandwich includes a Creole remoulade, Cajun spice, a fried egg, collard green kimchi and ginger-miso BBQ; the Chapel Hill, NC sandwich comes with slaw, country ham, pimento cheese and house pickles. Along with the sandwiches the restaurant will serve sides of fries, slaw and sodas. The first 50 sandwiches on Thursday will be free. 724 S. Spring St., Los Angeles.
New York state of mind: There’s no shortage of speak-easy bars in Los Angeles, and we’re about to get one more, by way of New York City. Midnight Hospitality Group’s Steven B. Weisburd and Tom Sopit will open a location of the Employees Only speak-easy bar and restaurant in Greenwich Village, in West Hollywood in the spring. Dushan Zaric, co-founder of the original Employees Only, which opened in 2004, is behind the bar program, while chef Sascha Lyon (who has worked at Balthazar, Daniel and Pastis, all in New York) will helm the kitchen. You can expect decor that references the Art Deco elements of the original location and, of course, a hidden entrance (the one in New York is behind a fortune teller’s lair). 7953 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood
Off to Rome: Casey Lane, the chef who made a name for himself at the Tasting Kitchen in Venice, has just opened a new West Hollywood Italian restaurant called Viale Dei Romani. The restaurant is inside the Kimpton La Peer Hotel. The name means “avenue of the Romans” in Italian. The concept was inspired by Lane’s trips to Mediterranean coasts, and the menu includes flavors from Italy, the South of France and North Africa. Lane is making pasta, pizza, seafood-focused dishes and chickpea crêpes. 627 N. La Peer Drive, West Hollywood, vialedeiromani.com
Global flavors: Rinjani, an Indonesian restaurant, has opened in Glendale. Co-owner Mira Setiabudhi was born in Bandung, West Java in Indonesia and moved to the United States when she was 23. Rinjani, her first restaurant, specializes in a modern take on Indonesian food, including mie goreng rendang (noodles with egg and shallots), siomay bandung (chicken and shrimp dumplings) and gulai ayam (chicken curry). 107 E. Broadway, Glendale, (818) 546-1273, www.rinjanila.com
Switching it up: Ración, the Old Pasadena Spanish restaurant that opened in 2012, will close Thursday and will reopen as Dérive. Owner Loretta Peng described the new restaurant as a “new American neighborhood restaurant supporting small organic farmers and wineries” in an email to The Times and on the restaurant’s website. Chef Shane Alvord will continue to helm the kitchen. Menu highlights include pig’s head toast; chicken liver mousse with fennel jam; and kelp-steamed potatoes with Meyer lemon cream. Dérive will be open for lunch and dinner daily, and eventually for breakfast. 119 W. Green St., Pasadena, (626) 460-8110, www.derivela.com
#brunch: Orsa and Winston, chef Josef Centeno’s Italian-Japanese fine dining restaurant in downtown L.A. (next to his Tex Mex spot Bar Amá and around the corner from his P.Y.T. and Bäco Mercat), has just launched brunch. The restaurant now serves pastries, donabe, house-cured meats and smoked fish from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekends. Highlights include grain pancakes; an omakase Japanese breakfast; and satsuki rice porridge with uni, abalone and scallop. Centeno also serves a special $45 prix-fixe dinner menu with three courses (regular price is $95 for six courses), available Tuesday through Thursday by request. 122 W. 4th St. Los Angeles, (213) 687-0300, www.orsaandwinston.com
Still hungry? Twohey’s Restaurant in Alhambra is moving to the former Carmine’s space on Fair Oaks Avenue in South Pasadena in the spring.