Monday, February 28, 2011

Satisfying but not soulful: SUGARFISH by Nozawa

SUGARFISH, the chainlet of sushi restaurants owned and created by Chef Nozawa, the infamous sushi nazi of Sushi Nozawa.  Nozawa is known for his warm rice style sushi, his fanatical following, as well as being well ahead of the curve on refusing substitutions and modifications.

Unlike his flagship on Ventura Blvd, the SUGARFISH chain, with outlets in Downtown LA, Marina Del Rey, Brentwood and Santa Monica, does not have a sushi bar.  All the preparation is done in the kitchen.  The menu is simple with three pre-set combinations accounting for most of the menu, which reads "Almost everyone orders one of the three Trust Me’s; however, you are welcome to order a la carte."  The three combinations are known as Trust Me, Trust Me Lite and The Nozawa, which are the medium, small and large of the menu.

I opted for the Trust Me, which included Edamame, Tuna Sashimi, Albacore & Salmon sushi, Yellowtail and Halibut sushi, Toro hand roll, Yellowtail hand roll (subbed for a crab hand roll).  The items came out in 5 courses, beginning with the edamame and the tuna sashimi (above).  The sashimi was in a sauce and was a nice start to the meal.

The nigiri portion of the meal began with the albacore and salmon sushi (above).  The albacore was sauced with ponzu and the salmon had sesame seeds on top.  The salmon was especially good.

The second nigiri course was yellowtail and halibut.  (above)  These like the previous fish were of good quality but did not elicit the joy of exceptional sushi.  The final courses were the toro roll and the yellowtail roll.  The waiter initially suggested forgoing the toro roll in favor of the yellowtail, but when I told him I couldn't eat the crab roll, I got to try both of the previously mentioned rolls and the toro was superior.

SUGARFISH is handy if you are looking for a quick meal or with indecisive people, as the menu makes most of the decisions for you.  They were flexible about my not eating shellfish, happily substituting the yellowtail roll for the crab hand roll.  They served the nigiri two orders at a time, so you could eat them while the rice was still warm, which I appreciated as so many restaurants serve the entire order of sushi at once to patrons seated at tables.  The pricing was fair for what was delivered, with the Trust Me priced at $28.50.

The drawback to SUGARFISH is that the fish is good but not exceptional.  There is also no opportunity for the interaction and subtle (or not so subtle) feedback with the sushi chef, so your meal can evolve to your taste.  It is impossible to build up a relationship with a sushi chef over several visits, as the sushi chefs are in the kitchen.  I enjoy seeing the fish in the case, seeing the chef make the sushi as well as getting to speak with the chef; at a sushi bar for me these are all essential parts of the experience.  There is something sanitized about the experience at SUGARFISH, which likely appeals to many, but not me.  This lack of soul doesn't make me want to go back and put it in my rotation.  If I am in the neighborhood and need a quick sushi fix, then I can see stopping in at SUGARFISH, but I would not go out of my way to return.

There is a mandatory 16% service charge, which is unusual in the US, except for large parties.  I am not sure why they do this; perhaps it is part of their drive to simplicity and removing yet another decision from the diners.  This is less than I normally tip, but if that is what they want, then so be it.  SUGARFISH is not the place for diners who wish to be in the driver's seat.

SUGARFISH: 1325 2nd Street, Santa Monica (& 3 other locations).  Phone: (310) 393-3338.  Website:

Sunday, February 27, 2011

First Impression: Son of a Gun

Son of a Gun, the second restaurant from Animal duo Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, opened tonight after much anticipation.  The opening date was only announced yesterday, via an article by Noah Galuten in LA Weekly, and the phone lines for reservations opened at 2 pm the same day.  Son of a Gun is a seafood focused restaurant, with decor to match, and unlike Animal has an ambitious cocktail program to match.  Lindsay Nader, formerly of PDT and the deputy editor of Food & Wine's Cocktails 2011 has curated a list of 35 cocktails, classics or modern classics.

I've been excited about the prospect of this restaurant ever since eating Jon & Vinny's fried chicken sandwiches at Cart for a Cause last April with Zach from Midtown Lunch LA.  Almost a year later the dream of having that sandwich on a menu in Los Angeles has been realized.  The $11 sandwich is described on the menu as "Fried Chicken Sandwich, Spicy B&B pickle slaw, rooster aioli" and has been described by the chefs as in the tradition of Bakesale Betty, in Oakland.  The bun is toasted and was able to withstand the crispy chicken, the pickles and the slaw.  The chicken was just flavorful and wonderfully crispy.  I thought I saw some patrons do a happy dance as they tasted this dish.

A spicy option to begin (or end) your meal are the Sardines Escabeche, with crispy parsnip and habanero chiles.  The sauce is redolent of citrus, the parsnips are extremely thin, light and crispy and then the kick of the habanero sets in and gives the strong flavor of the fish a suitably forward partner.

My second favorite dish of the evening was the Pink Grouper.  It was served with a "pho fumet, herbs, lime and bok choy."  There was lots of cilantro, crispy onions in a pho broth with bok choy, purple lettuce, serrano chillies, mint and concentrated fish stock.  The grouper is a meaty fish and the dish captured the flavors in a traditional pho, while putting its own spin on it.  This was not a soup, there was broth, but not too much; just enough to flavor the dish.  The crisp of the onions was a nice texture contrast to the rest of the dish.

Alligator Schnitzel is served with a salad of hearts of palm, onion, mint, serrano chillies, and citrus sections, as well as an orange honey.  Alligator is rare to see on Los Angeles menus and alligator schnitzel is not something I have ever seen before anywhere.  As both Shook and Dotolo are from Florida, this dish may be a nod in the direction of the land of their birth.  The schnitzel was crispy and crunch and was on the salty side.  The salad was a pleasant lighter contrast in between bites.  I didn't use much of the honey as it didn't need it and I am not a fan of sweet.

Bar manager Lindsay Nader was behind the stick and her list includes many traditional classics such as the Aviation, Negroni and Mint Mulep as well as modern classics such as the Little Italy.  Nader is also not afraid to use cocktail umbrellas, serving them with several of her tropical drinks.

The Little Italy (below) is made with Rittenhouse Rye, Cynar, and Sweet Vermouth.  Nader credited it to Saunders of the Pegu Club in New York City.  (Recipe here).  I have had this cocktail several times before and this was a very well made rendition.  Nader's drink list is if anything too long for a 50 person restaurant, but the drinks are all legit, no appletinis are on offer.

I also had an Aviation, which was well made:

It wouldn't be an opening night without Kevin of Kevin Eats in the house, along with several other industry people including Jeff from Thrillest, Chef Michael Voltaggio of Ink and Pastry Chef Waylynn Lucas of the SLS.

The overall vibe is mellow but with subtle ambition.  The well managed front of the house is currently under the capable direction of Animal vet Helen Johannesen, who also developed the wine list which focuses on champagnes.  Tonight the music included Bruce Springsteen's Thunder Road and an Iron Horse country style cover of Modest Mouse's Float On.  The aquarium on the bar (top photo) shows the sense of humor of the Son of A Gun team. They don't take themselves too seriously but they are also very particular about their vision.

Half of the seats in the restaurant are saved for walk-ins at the communal table or the bar, which offers customers flexibility in planning.  I'll be back soon to have another fried chicken sandwich and explore more of the menu. (Full menu below)

Son of A Gun: 8370 W. 3rd Street, near Orlando. Phone: (323) 782-9033. Website: Open: Sunday - Thursday 6pm - 11pm, Friday & Saturday 6pm - 1am

Friday, February 11, 2011

Object of Desire: Breadsticks at Vito's

Last month a friend and I caught up over some slices of pizza and an order of breadsticks for lunch at Vito's on La Cienega.  The pizza we had was mediocre.  Perhaps only ordering a whole pie fresh is the way to go?  In any case the saving grace of the meal was the order of breadsticks.  They were garlicy and had oil and parmesan on them.  The texture had a nice chew, not flimsy but not too heavy.  These were great.

The waitress warned us that there would be a wait for the breadsticks, and I am glad that we waited as they were the highlight of the meal.  They arrived after our pizza and were very much worth the wait.  At this point I'd go back to get the breadsticks and skip the pizza.

Vito's Pizza: 846 N. La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood.  Phone: (310) 652-6859  Website:

China Islamic: Knife Cut Noodles and Wait There's More!

I'd heard tales of the delicacy known as knife cut noodles from Ron of Sauce Supreme.  I had planned to meet a confederate at JTYH on Tuesday, only to be foiled by poor planning because that is the one day of the week the restaurant is closed.  However, all was not lost as we made an executive decision to instead go to the nearby China Islamic restaurant in Rosemead.

The specialty of the house at China Islamic is lamb and they are also one of the foremost spots to get knife cut noodles, so we got knife cut noodles with lamb, warm hot pot of lamb stew and an order of the sesame bread with green onion.  This was a lot of food for two people, but we were up to the challenge.  It was a pleasure to go to a Chinese restaurant and know I could eat almost anything on the menu, because due to Halal restrictions there is no pork in the menu at China Islamic.  A real treat for sure.

My favorite was the lamb stew hot pot.  It came in a strongly flavored herbal broth and included tofu and cabbage among other goodies.  The lamb was very tender and some of it was on the bone.  We enjoyed the stew both as a soup and then put some of the lamb into the green onion bread, creating sandwiches.

The green onion bread was coated in sesame seeds and was fluffy but very filling.  This element of the meal is the most dangerous as it would be all to easy to fill up on the freshly made warm bread and not have sufficient room for lamb, which would be tragic.  The inside of the bread is stuffed with green onions and the bread did make an excellent conduit for the lamb as well as just eating it by itself with hot sauce.

Finally the infamous knife cut noodles arrived with egg and lamb.  The noodles are heavier and weightier than standard noodles and have a real chew to them.  The lamb was a good partner to the noodles, which with the bean sprouts, eggs and sauce made a satisfying dish.

The lamb stew warm pot was the star of the show to me relegating the knife cut noodles to the side stage.  Perhaps it was the texture of the noodles that was less appealing or perhaps it was just the wonderful aroma of the broth with chunks of lamb meat in it that made the stew so irresistible.  You can't go wrong getting both, but if I could only get one, there would be no contest, the stew would win out every time.

I look forward to trying the knife cut noodles at JTYH another time, when it is not a Tuesday.  Remember, when life gives you lemons, made a lamb stew.

China Islamic: 7727 Garvey Avenue, Rosemead.  Phone: (626) 288-4246

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gui Rim AYCE Korean BBQ: Both Good & A Good Value

Normally I tend to avoid all you can eat restaurants as they favor quantity over quality, which is not a compromise worth making.  However Gui Rim in Koreatown is a rare establishment where you can have quality and quantity, all for a low price which equals an excellent value.  Gui Rim is an All-You-Can-Eat Korean BBQ restaurant that has three price levels, the middle one is $17.99 and includes 21 different meats customers can grill.

You choose three meats at a time, and when you finish one, you can replace it with more of the same or try something different.  Consider it like the Netflix 3 DVD plan of Korean BBQs.  Above are several of the raw meat options including the sliced brisket.  On a recent visit with Christine of Choisauce we sampled many of the different meats including brisket, bulgogi, beef short ribs, thin sliced tongue and ribeye steak among others.

The quality of the meat was high and when we had the ribeye towards the end of the meal, it was literally a large ribeye steak, which we grilled and somehow ate entirely in a few short minutes despite being full.  The beef short rib aka Galbi was my favorite of the meats we tried, but I was happy with everything I tried.  Christine tried the Mountain Chaintripe and that was the only one that was not a favorite.

In addition to the meats, expect a full assortment of panchan, my favorite of which was the kimchi, which was aggressively spiced.  They were prompt at refilling the panchan and the dduk (rice cake) wrappers that a certain member of the Los Angeles food community is known to enjoy. Also included in the price is a bowl of Den Jang soup AND a small bowl of neng myun (cold noodles)in either spicy or cold broth.

The service was good and our grill was changed several times.  There is a call button on the wall to summon a waiter if you prefer as well.  We ordered plate after plate of meat and they did not balk at bringing us enough korean bbq to fill our bellies.  There is a $29.99 option, but I see no need to order that when the $17.99 is so good.  It is less than $20 + tip, an excellent value, even in Koreatown, which is home to many great deals.  Note that there used to be a one size fits all price, but now they have the three tiered option.

Gui Rim accepts reservations, although they are not always necessary.

Gui Rim: 3977 West 6th Street (@ Western), Koreatown.  Phone: (213) 387-5459

Drago Centro wants to give you chocolate truffles

Did I just say that Drago Centro wants to give you chocolate truffles?  Yes, I did. And it is all thanks to their pastry chef Jashmine Corpuz (disclosure: a friend of mine), who has organized a contest in honor of Valentine's Day. Drago Centro is giving their Twitter followers a chance to tweet their love in truffle form during their Twitterpated Truffle Contest. Users should tweet @DragoCentro the truffle flavor that best represents their romantic relationship or tells a story about their story with their partner in crime (and dessert).

How will they judge these 140 character entries? The criteria are creativity, sentimentality, humor and originality. Yes, cynical Angelenos unfortunately they are actually using sentimentality as a criteria. What can you do? It is a Valentine's Day contest.  There will be a winner each day this week through Friday, so that still gives you three opportunities to be a winner. Each winner will be awarded a truffle tower which may include their custom truffle created by Chef Corpuz, and one grand-prize winner – to be chosen from all the sweet tweets throughout the week - will receive their truffles and a $100 gift certificate to Drago Centro, to be chosen on Friday, February 11th.

The only way to win one of Jashmine's treats is to start tweeting to @DragoCentro.  So make every one of those 140 characters count!

Drago Centro: 525 South Flower St. (Downtown LA). Phone: (213) 228-8998. Website:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Trade fruit for cocktails? You can in Healdsburg

A lot of restaurants speak about using local ingredients, but one restaurant and bar in Healdsburg is taking it to the next step by buying citrus fruit from its customers.  Spoonbar in the Sonoma town of Healdsburg will be running a one week long promotion titled "Give Us Your Fruit!" in which local residents can trade their citrus fruit for dining credit.

According to a blogpost by Scott Keneally on the Spoonbar website, they will be accepting clean, ripe and "ready to go" citrus fruits including lemons, orange and kumquats from local restaurants up to 100 pounds per person.  The local "farmers" will receive between $0.75 and $1.50 per pound if they bring in their fruit between February 16th and 23rd.  The citrus will be used in juices, savory and sweet dishes and in Scott Beattie's amazing cocktails.

I love the idea of trading fruit from my trees for credit towards cocktails.  This is a refreshing concept in every sense of the word.

Giselle Wellman shines at Petrossian

Giselle Wellman could have been intimidated when she took over as Executive Chef at Petrossian West Hollywood from Ben Bailly in December.  If she was, she didn't show it, launching a new menu in less than two weeks.  Bailly made quite an impact during his tenure and when he left to become executive chef at Fraiche in Culver City Petrossian hired Wellman, who was on the opening team at Bouchon Beverly Hills.  There were some big clogs to fill and she has filled them admirably, continuing to evolve the menu, while keeping some of the Petrossian classics.

I was invited to try her new dishes and Gourmet Pigs and I sampled many of Chef Wellman's new items on the menu during a recent dinner. The elusive duck confit salad remains untried, something to look forward to on my next visit.  The meal began with the classic Caviar and Blini.  The assortment included trout, salmon and Transmontanus roe on a bed of creme fraiche and blini.  The roe had a wonderful pop, that was accentuated by the bubbles in the prosecco.

In addition to the dishes we ordered, Chef Wellman sent out the Egg Royal, made with Scrambled Egg, Vodka Whipped Cream and more of the excellent Transmontanus roe.  I am a sucker for egg dishes and this one delivered.  While not as extraordinary as a similar dish by Chef Adam Horton at Saddle Peak Lodge that I had last month, this was a fun way to begin the meal.  The presentation in the egg shell was also reminiscent of a dish I have had at Jean Georges in New York, one of the many top notch restaurants that Chef Wellman has worked the kitchen of.  The whipped cream melded with the eggs and the roe on top added a salty pop to each spoonful.

We continued with Smoked Sturgeon Risotto with Pressed Caviar, Chive and Crème Fraîche.  This was a surprise hit.  Smoked sturgeon is not something that I can recall in any other composed dish I have tried.  I like that Wellman looked beyond caviar to the other quality ingredients, such as smoked fish, that Petrossian is known for, and used it in a novel way.  This was one of those dishes that was delicious, not just "interesting."  The crunch of the apples, the salty pop of the caviar, the smokiness of the sturgeon and the soft creaminess of the risotto all melded into a whole that was greater than the sum of its parts.

Our first main (shared as were all dished) was Striped Bass with Yukon Gold Potato Noodles, Vodka Crème Fraîche, Chive, Caviar.  The bass was well prepared with a crispy and flavorful skin but the noodles were a rare failure.  They were made in-house, which I respect, but were not tasty.

After the previous low note of house-made pasta, Wellman redeemed herself and then some with a stunner of a dish: Truffle Fontina Agnolotti with Asparagus, Mushrooms, Parmesan, and Prosciutto.  (Note that the dish below lacks the ribbons of prosciutto found on Gourmet Pig's writeup as they did a non-pork version of this dish for me.)  This was also my favorite dish as the packets of ravioli were cooked al dente, the cheese inside had a great flavor and texture and the vegetables on top were seasonal and provided the "meat" component of the dish.  You can't go wrong ordering this dish and they are happy to leave off the proscuitto or bring it on the side if there are pork-less members of your party.

The other main dish we tried was Roasted Jidori Chicken with Butternet Squash Ravioli, Lemon Confit, Truffle Crème Fraîche, Arugula.  The chicken was nicely seasoned but did not pack the wow of the Agnolotti.

My favorite of the desserts and the only one I had more than a bite of was the Lemon Tart.  This dish did not shy away from the tart and sour side of lemons and consequently was of more interest to me.  The tart is a great way to end a rich meal by having a light and citrus flavor in your mouth as you end the meal.  Sorbets were enjoyed by my dining companions but I stuck to the tart.

Overall the transition to the new chef has gone seamlessly.  The menu maintains the favorite "old friends" while inviting new friends to the party who will likely join their fellow revelers as classics at Petrossian.  The front of the house could be a bit smoother.  At this level of cuisine and price, Chef Wellman's cooking deserves service to match.  I am glad to be able to report that Petrossian continues to deliver ambitious and delicious food and look forward to trying more of the menu as it evolves.  Los Angeles is lucky to have both Wellman and Bailly running kitchens right now.

Relating to service: A note to all restaurants participating in Dine LA Restaurant Week - please provide both the regular and Dine LA menus to all tables without prompting.  You do not need to ask people which menu they want.  You will figure it out when they tell you what they are ordering.  Doing otherwise is simply not gracious.

Petrossian: 321 N. Robertson (1 block North of Beverly Blvd), West Hollywood. Phone: (310) 271-0576.  Website:

Note: We were hosted by the restaurant; the meal was provided at no charge.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winter Cocktails Come Ashore at Cana Rum Bar

Winter has arrived with a fierce gale at Cana Rum Bar.  General Manager Allan Katz has launched a new winter cocktail menu with beverages so tasty, pirates have been known to fight over them.  Here is a map to the treasure:

One of my favorites is the Camelot, made with Anejo rum, Amaro Montenegro, lime juice, poached pear syrup and white pepper.  This is a dagger and the winter version of Cana's classic JKO, except with poached pear instead of poached plum to better represent the season.  It is still a classy tribute to Jackie O.  It is easy drinking, delicious and not overly pear flavored.

Among the Cannons, the Red Eye to Rio is a standout.  It is a tribute to the classic Trader Vic Night Flight cocktail.  This is a potent cocktail and includes Stroh, a 160 proof Austrian spiced rum.  The other ingredients are cachaça, lime juice and maple syrup.  I will confess that I am not generally a fan of cachaça, so Katz impressed me by creating the first cachaça drink I can recommend.

The London Cut may be a Cannon but it stands in a class all by itself on the Cana menu.  It is a take on the Gordon's Cup made with Anaheim and Serrano pepper-infused Bols Genever and El Dorado rum, cucumber, lime, smoked salt and pepper.  This delicious concoction is peppery, spicy, salty and overall wonderful and is my favorite of the new list.  The previous list included the similar Stepping Razor, but switching to Bols and El Dorado from Demerara has upped the balance of this beauty who won't hesitate to slice you.

If your taste veers towards the spicy, the Deer Hunter may be the Cannon for you.  Made with Serrano-infused Heering, Anejo tequila, Old Overholt Rye and garnished with a lemon peel, it has a pleasant kick perfect for these chilly winter evenings.

Sometimes a little bit of citrus is just what the doctor ordered, and for nights such as those, the Crimean Collins makes house calls.  It includes cognac, two types of Jamaican rum, lemon, orgeat and champagne and is garnished with mint.  This Pistol has the power of lemon to perk up your palate and prepare you to walk the plank, if need be.

The winter list also includes:

Royal Oil: St. James Royal Ambre rum, Black Strap rum, lime and falernum.
Misti Dawn Sqizzle: Roiboos-infused Plymouth Gin, passionfruit juice, lime juice, Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur, Angostura bitters and Elemakule bitters.
Texas Early: Old Overhold Rye, Don's Miz, blackberries and lemon juice
Palmetto: El Dorado 12 Year Demerara, Carpano Antico Vermouth, orange bitters
Twist on a Twist: Overproof Rum, Amaro Cio Ciaro, Sangue Morlacco, lime juice, Angostura bitters
The Good Word: Reposado Mezcal, Yellow Chartreuse, maraschino, lime juice
Putnam's Point: Rye, Dos Maderas, Amaro Lucano, ginger, lemon, J.T. recipe bitters

Note: I was invited to sample these beverages by Cana Rum Bar at no cost.

Cana Rum Bar: 714 West Olympic Blvd (@Flower), DTLA. Phone: (213) 817-5321.  Website:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gourmet burgers for only $5 at Rockenwagner's 3 Square Cafe

For the months of Feburary and March, Hans Rockenwagner's 3 Square Cafe and Bakery on Abbot Kinney in Venice is serving 3 types of burgers for only $5 each during a special "Burger Time" happy hour from 5 - 8 pm daily.  The gourmet burgers include the Pretzel Burger, with one of Rockenwagner's famous pretzel rolls as the bun, and a Lamb Burger.

Pretzel Burger: with caramelized onions and swiss cheese
Berliner Fricadelle: with pickles and onion rings
Lamb Burger: with eggplant caviar and peppers

This is a great deal, especially for quality food from a name brand chef on an otherwise spendy street.  At these prices, try them all!  But only until March 31st.

3 Square: 1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice.  Phone: (310)  399-6504 Website:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Drago Centro Winter Cockail Menu

Celestino Drago with cocktail in hand

Drago Centro launched a new Winter Cocktail Menu with eleven drinks including eight new ones and three holdovers from the fall menu.  I was recently invited to sample the creations of Beverage Director Michael Shearin and Head Bartender Jaymee Mandeville. The list is eclectic with options for many palates, including sweet, tart, herbal and smoky.

My favorite (and the pick of the my fellow boozehounds) was the January Jones.  This was a hot drink, a take on a hot buttered rum.  It was creamy and spicy and all around delicious.  The ingredients are Appleton VX Rum, Demerara syrup, cinnamon tincture, butter, clove, star anise and hot water.  The studded lemon peel garnish completes the effect.  I must confess I am not usually a fan of hot alcoholic beverages, excepting cider, but the January Jones converted me.  It was a chilly night and this drink warmed me up.  This cocktail lived up to the attractiveness of its namesake Mad Men actress.

My other "best of tasting" was Unbridled, a take on a classic mint julep.  This beauty includes Laird's Applejack, Green Chartreuse, fresh mint and lime juice.  It had a nice crispness and tartness to it.  Very solid.

The Cusco's Crown is a tart cocktail made with Encanto pisco, pear puree, angostura bitters and lemon juice.  I am a fan of Encanto, and the other ingredients melded well with it, but be prepared for the tartness.

For those that enjoy getting their daily serving of vegetables in their cocktails may have found their drink of choice in the Morning Courage.  It is made with Bols Genever, serrano tincture, celery bitters, beet, lemon and hawaiian red sea salt.  The beet flavor was very strong and the cocktail is quite dramatic in appearance.

Watcher in the Woods is extremely herbal and is made with Death's Door Gin, Clear Creek Douglas Fir, Nocello, lavender and mint bitters.  This is not a drink I could finish as the douglas fir and the lavender made it too herbal and perfume like.  This drink is an acquired taste that I have yet to acquire.

The other new drinks are:

Greco Roman: Lustau Amontillado Sherry, Luxardo Morlacco, Fee Brothers rhubarb bitters and orange essence
Puro Sangre: Karlsson's Vodka, solerno blood orange, honey, blood orange "caviar"
Smitten With Britain: Tanqueray Gin, chives, lime juice, Fever Tree tonic
Smoke on the Horizon: Zaya Rum, Drambuie, Carpano sweet vermouth, atomized sombra mezcal, mole bitters
Smokehouse: Laphroaig 10 yr Scotch, clear creek cranberry, Berentzen Apfelkorn, apple, Fee Brothers whiskey barrel bitters, candied bacon (garnish)
Violette Femme: Real Blanco Tequila, Luxardo Maraschino, Creme de Violette, Ventura Limoncello, Yuzu

All signature seasonal cocktails are $12.  Don't forget that Drago Centro has the best value bar bites menu in the city.

Drago Centro: 525 South Flower St. (Downtown LA). Phone: (213) 228-8998. Website: