Lemon Butter: Best of L.A.'s Theatre Adjacent Restaurants and Bars - September Edition

Lemon Butter is a bi-monthly column featuring choice restaurants, lounges, Happy Hours, and other spots where hospitality is offered, that are convenient to theatre venues throughout Los Angeles. For distances and times given traffic and parking are not factored in. Where available, contact all hospitality venues for valet or parking information and/or reservations.

This month's Lemon Butter covers just a few restaurants and theatres on the Westside in Beverly Hills, Malibu, and Santa Monica!

CHEZ JAY

Photo by Monique A. LeBleu - The Jay Dog at Chez Jay The Backyard, Santa Monica, California, August 13, 2019.

Perfect for pre or after dinner theatre, and nearest the Santa Monica Playhouse and Morgan-Wixson Theatre is Chez Jay.

Owned by Michael Anderson and operated by his son General Manager Chris Anderson, the Historical Landmark in Santa Monica on Ocean Avenue recently opened The Backyard, featuring al fresco dining by the ocean and under the stars.

Designed by Chris Anderson and Nataly Lopez, The Backyard is a comfortable, open space–much like your own backyard–and features picnic tables, couches, Adirondack chairs, a fire pit, wine barrels, hanging vintage lanterns, string lights, and a protective canopy from the noon-day sun, and is fenced in where it abuts Santa Monica’s Tongva Park.

Chef "Memo" Guillermo De Arcos G, having been in the kitchen at Chez Jay, now a landmark restaurant in Santa Monica of over 27 years, recently introduced the new Good Eats menu at The Backyard with starters such as the Peppercorn Maple Bacon, Grilled Street Corn, Southwest Steak Nachos, Truffle Fries, Kimchi Guacamole, Rhode Island Calamari, Shrimp Ceviche Bites, and Baked Clams.

There are also salads, such as the Crispy Calamari Salad, prepared with fried calamari, frisée, romaine radicchio, tomatoes, pickled red onion, and French Dijon vinaigrette, The Cobb Salad served with grilled chicken, romaine, bacon, egg, blue cheese, tomato, avocado, and lemon honey vinaigrette, or the NY Steak Salad prepared with Angus New York Strip, arugula, mixed greens, blue cheese, cranberries, walnuts, pickled onions and balsamic vinaigrette.

The Mains features seafood selections such as the Mahi Mahi Sandwich of grilled filet of Mahi Mahi, lettuce, tomato, onion and tartar sauce on a toasted bun, or the Fish & Chips with Allagash beer-battered cod and french fries. There is also the Chez Burger of a ½ pound Angus beef, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion, served on a toasted bun. There is also the Steak Au Poivre Sandwich with a Peppered Angus NY Steak, cream of horseradish, picked cabbage, arugula on sourdough, Memo's amazing Jay Dog prepared with a grilled 10 inch Wagyu hot dog, tomato, pickles, onions, relish, peppers and mustard on split-top brioche, or the appropriately named Mike’s Melt, in honor of Michael Anderson, prepared with a pressed ½ pound Angus beef patty, melted cheddar, and caramelized onions on rye, and–a personal favorite–the Crispy Chicken Sandwich of fried chicken, house coleslaw, apple, frisée, chipotle aioli, and pickles on a toasted bun.

To finish, you can choose the ultimate comfort food! Chef Memo’s Fried Oreos are crisply fried with a batter, remaining soft and sweet inside. A most decadent dessert!

Cocktails are served at the bar, exclusive to Chez Jay's The Backyard, such as the  Hotel California of Bombay Sapphire, grapefruit, lemon and rosemary, the Chevy To The Levy comprised of mezcal, pineapple, Ramazzotti Rosato, lemon and sage, The Juan Margarita spicy margarita prepared with Casamigos Tequila, jalapeño, cucumber, cilantro and lime, a Pimm’s Cup made of Pimm’s, cucumber, mint, ginger, and lemon, the Dark & Stormy prepared with Gosling’s Rum, ginger beer, and lime, the Never Old Fashioned with Slow & Low Rock and Rye Whiskey, orange peel, Luxardo Maraschino Cherry and bitters, or the Tecate Michelada made with veteran Chez Jay Bartender Petter Wichman’s Wickie’s Bloody Good Mix, and lime with a Tajin rim. Wines by the glass are offered, including the Cupcake Prosecco, Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Ferrari Chardonnay, Bev Rose, Meiomi Pinot Noir, and the Josh Cabernet. Their beer selections are the Allagash White, Heineken, Santa Monica 310, or Angel City IPA, Palmia Light, Tecate, Angel City Pilsner, Golden Road Wolf Pup, Corona, Bud Light and Angry Orchard.

The Backyard at Chez Jay is open every Wednesday and Thursday from 4pm to 10pm, every Friday from 4pm to 11pm, and every Saturday from 12 noon to 11pm, and every Sunday from 12 noon to 8pm.

The Good Eats menu at The Backyard ranges from $6 to $16, with beer, wine and custom cocktails from $7 - $14. Happy Hour specials at Chez Jay are every Monday through Friday from 4-6:30pm., with dinner starting at 5:30 pm.

CHEZ JAY - 1657 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401 - 310.395.1741

Distance to the Santa Monica Playhouse  - (0.9 miles, 5 min. drive)

Shows to look for at the Santa Monica Playhouse on Better Lemons' Calendar:

(IM)Perfect
Absolutely Halloween
Binge Free Festival
Binge Fringe Free Festival
Love in Bloom
Magic Monday

Distance to the Morgan-Wixson Theatre   - (2.3 miles, 7 min. drive)

 


DUKE'S MALIBU

Nearest to Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum and the Malibu Playhouse is Dukes's Malibu.

Photo by Monique A. LeBleu - The Crab Cakes at Duke's Malibu by the beach, Malibu, California, August 17, 2019

Named after Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, Hawaii's Olympic Gold Medalist in surfing, Duke's Malibu is a Hawaiian themed restaurant situated on the Pacific Coast Highway with pristine and open views of the Pacific Ocean. The expansive restaurant features a central bar and the Barefoot Bar, which also includes seating at an outside patio.

Inside, through picture windows, the booths overlook the pristine and open views of the Pacific Ocean. On weekends, Happy Hour is in the central and Barefoot bar for those who are awaiting the dinner seating crossover, which begins at 4pm.

To start, there's Crab Cakes of lump crab, old bay seasoning, preserved lemon, Meyer lemon remoulade, or Korean sticky ribs, a Lobster Mac 'n Cheese with creamy white cheddar and ditalini pasta, Crab Wontons with crab meat, cream cheese, macadamia nuts, mustard plum sauce, or the Crispy Coconut Shrimp with Lilikoi chili water for dipping. For salads, there is the Rocket with arugula, Maui onion, bacon, roasted beets, goat cheese, and white balsamic vinaigrette and the Maui Farm Salad of local greens, marinated hearts of palm, pickled mango, Pohole fern, Maui onions, and miso lime dressing.

For the main course, there's the Seafood Hot Pot filled with lobster, shrimp, mussels, fresh fish, coconut cilantro broth, oyster mushrooms, peanuts, served with Jasmine rice, the Furikake Ahi Steak with fire-grilled sashimi-grade ahi, chili oil, truffle unagi glaze, shiitake mushroom, black bean-peanut charred bok choy, served with coconut bamboo rice. The Fish Tacos are with grilled fish, corn tortillas from La Chapalita, tomatillo sauce, cabbage, pico de gallo, queso fresco, and chips, and the Roasted Tristan da Cunha Lobster Tails, which are the “world’s only sustainable lobster tail”, are served with herbed Jasmine farro rice, roasted asparagus, and drawn butter. The Steamed Alaskan King Crab Legs are available in two sizes, served with herbed Jasmine farro rice, broccolini, and drawn butter, and in addition to all this, there are daily fish specials.

For land lovers, there's a Prime Sirloin from the Double R Signature Ranch, with miso brown butter, mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, and broccolini, the Roasted Huli Chicken –an all natural half chicken seasoned with a garlic shoyu marinade and served with horseradish mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, snap peas & summer squash, and the Chef's Cheeseburger of 1/2 lb Angus chuck, brisket & hanger grind, white aged cheddar, bacon dijon aioli, Maui onion jam, heirloom tomato, mixed greens, brioche bun, and served with fries. They also have a vegan option, which is the Lilikoi Glazed Tofu with charred bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, sesame grilled asparagus, served with jasmine rice.

Happy "Aloha" Hour provides items that range from $6 to $15 in the Barefoot Bar, with lunch in the main dining from $8 to $19, and for dinner, from $8 - $18 for starters and $16 to $51 for entrees.

DUKE'S MALIBU - 21150 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265 - 310.317.0777

Distance to Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum - (9.7 miles, 15 minute drive)

Distance to the Malibu Playhouse - (11.6 miles, 15 minute drive)


Photo by Monique A. LeBleu - Vinoteca Wine Bar at the Four Season Beverly Hills, California, August 23, 2019.

VINOTECA

Nearest to The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and the Beverly Hills Playhouse is Vinoteca.

Adjacent to the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Vinoteca is a standalone dining and drinking destination and great for Happy Hour.

Vinoteca's bar and outdoor patio accommodate hotel guests, locals, and movers and shakers of the entertainment world, featuring all of the hospitality and amenities that you would expect from a Four Seasons Hotel.

Chef de Cuisine Luca Moriconi’s menu at Vinoteca provides easily shareable bar bites, crisp pizza breads, hot wings, fried stuffed olives, oysters on the half shell, and a variety of wines, beers, and cocktails.

Happy Hour at Vinoteca features a special food item and specialty drink, and are offered for every day of the workweek.

Mondays start with $1 Oysters and $10 rosé. Tuesdays they have $1 Spicy Chicken Wings and $5 bottled beer. The market oysters are often Pacific or Pacific Northwest, which couple well with the rosé or a nice brut. Served with a creamy Gorgonzola dipping sauce, the Spicy Chicken Wings are a beautiful sweet-spicy mix that pair well with a cool, crisp beer.

On Wednesdays they offer 50% off of Wine Bottles selected by Sommelier David Gary which is served with a complimentary Cheese Plate for each bottle ordered. On Thursdays, Chef Moriconi features selected Pasta and a glass of Prosecco for $7 each, and on Friday's they offer M&M – a crisp Pizzetta Margherita and a Margarita each for $7.

Should you choose to expand on your meal, either before or after the theatre, there is also the fine dining option of the adjacent Culina.

Outside of the Happy Hour specials at Vinoteca, bar bites, pastas, pizza, and panini's range from $9 to $24.

VINOTECA - 300 South Doheny Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90048 - 310.860.4000

Distance to The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts - (0.7 miles, 4 min. drive)

Shows to look for at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on Better Lemons' Calendar:

LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE

Distance to the Beverly Hills Playhouse  (1 mile, 6 min. drive)



Lemon Butter: The Third Annual Oscar® Film Week Returns to 'Culina' at 'The Four Seasons' to Benefit the 'Lollipop Theater Network'

Culina at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills will once again feature a Dinner and a Movie or a Pronto Market Lunch and Matinee of the eight 2019 “Best Picture” Oscar®-nominated films in their Third Annual Oscar® Film Week,  from Tuesday, February 19, 2019, through Saturday, February 23, 2019.

Photo by Monique A. LeBleu
The 3rd Annual Oscar Film Week at Culina at the Four Seasons, Beverly Hills, California, Saturday, February 9, 2019.

The package includes a very special Culina Three-Course Prix-Fixe Dinner by Chef de Cuisine Luca Moriconi, or the Culina Pronto Market Lunch and matinee, leading up to this year's 91st Academy Awards. Dinner is served in their dining room, where an adjacent private off-patio screening room awaits for the day's scheduled Oscar®-nominated film screening.

The 3rd Annual Oscar Film Week at Culina at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills will partially benefit the Lollipop Theater Network, a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to bringing the magic of movies to children confined to hospitals nationwide due to chronic or life-threatening illnesses.

"Working with leading motion picture studios, the Lollipop Theater Network delivers the season's biggest blockbusters while they are still in theaters directly to those children and their families at the hospital, bringing the joy, magic, and momentary escape of the movies to those who need it most."

Photo by Monique A. LeBleu
The Polpo Grigliato of tender charred octopus, smoked potatoes, green beans, watercress, and cauliflower purée frisée Culina at the Four Seasons, Beverly Hills, California, Saturday, February 9, 2019.

With thirty-seven-seats, the unique dining and intimate movie experience combine the luxury of fully reclining leather chairs with a side table for cocktails and snacks, a plush blanket, and old-time fresh machine-popped complimentary popcorn which guests can customize with specialty seasonings. Themed cocktails and wine by the glass or bottle can be ordered from the bar service and movie theater boxed candy is also available for purchase.

The adjacent cozy cocktail patio just outside the theater and dining room, surrounded by lush greens, water wall fountain and warm lamps, or the cocktail bar and lounge of warm woods, red lounge chairs, and gold appointments and wine cellar, make for perfect après film conversation.

Chef Moriconi has created a three-course prix-fixe menu that includes a chose of an Antipasti, such as the Burrata Invernale prepared with beets, mustard greens, red wine vinegar, and duck prosciutto, the Zuppa Ribollita made of Tuscan vegetables, Borlotti beans, garlic, and roasted ciabatta, or the Polpo Grigliato of tender charred octopus, smoked potatoes, green beans, watercress, and cauliflower purée frisée. There is the Secondi course as well, which includes three choices starting with the Nastri al Cinghiale, a rich dish featuring handmade pappardelle, braised wild boar sugo, and pecorino, the Pollo al Marsala accompanied by white asparagus, celery root, potato purée, and marsala jus, or the Branzino Alla Matin-Ara with roasted branzino, fingerling potatoes, artichoke Taggiasca olives, cherry tomatoes, and asparagus. For Dolci, a choice of the Crème Caramel served with citrus lemon sorbet and coconut meringue or the Tiramisu prepared with espresso meringue and chocolate crisp.  The three-course prix-fixe menu is $59 per person, which includes the screening.

Photo by Monique A. LeBleu
The Nastri al Cinghiale, of handmade pappardelle, braised wild boar sugo, and pecorino at Culina at the Four Seasons, Beverly Hills, California, Saturday, February 9, 2019.

Guests attending either of the Saturday Matinee Screenings will enjoy the Culina Pronto Market Lunch which is a specially curated Farmers Market inspired buffet including a selection of salads, cheese, and charcuterie with a choice of protein, along with specialty desserts, fresh fruit and other delectable treats.  The Culina Pronto Market Lunch is $35 per person, which includes the screening.

Notable highlights from the dinner menu, off-prix-fixe, menu items is the Pappardelle Ripiene. Chef Moriconi's own creation of Pappardelle pasta–wide, flat pasta filled with Tuscan Kale and ricotta encased ravioli-style–then tossed in fresh sage butter and topped with a saffron sauce, Parmigiano Reggiano, and crispy Tuscan Kale. The Risotto is served table-side, hot from a cheese wheel with scrapes of cheese from within the wheel. Two of the dishes–the Tortelli Lucchesi of roasted beef with prosciutto stuffed pasta, thyme, braised beef sugo, and the Nastri al Cinghiale, featuring handmade pappardelle, braised wild boar sugo, and Pecorino cheese (the latter included as part of prix-fixe)–are both dishes close to Chef Moriconi's heart and home based on local and family dishes from his native Tuscany. Both of the meat dishes paired beautifully with the 2015 Tenuta di Valgiano Palistorti Colline Lucchesi, Tuscany, suggested.

A crowd-pleaser with its toasted meringue and popular for special occasions for Dolci is the Mango Vanilla Baked Alaska with Grand Marnier Flambé which bursts with the fruit and richness of the liquor. But the "Cococado," with its creamy, light avocado ice cream, vegan brownie, and chocolate avocado mousse, is a star! For the chocolate avocado mousse, bananas are added to create a smooth, truffle-like texture combined with avocado. This vibrantly decorated "Cococado" boasts a mere 295 calories for the entire shareable dessert! Both desserts are also off-prix-fixe menu and on the standard dessert menu.

The 3rd Annual Four Seasons Culina Oscar Film Week Schedule:

Tuesday, February 19, 2019: “A STAR IS BORN

Dinner at 6:00 pm followed by Movie at 8:00 pm

"In “A Star Is Born,” Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga fuse their considerable talents to depict the raw and passionate tale of Jack and Ally, two artistic souls coming together, on stage and in life. Theirs is a complex journey through the beauty and the heartbreak of a relationship struggling to survive." - A Star is Born

Wednesday, February 20, 2019: “THE FAVOURITE

Dinner at 6:00 pm followed by Movie at 8:00 pm

"Early 18th century England is at war with the French.  Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving.  A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne's ill health and mercurial temper.  When a new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.  Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at return to her aristocratic roots.  As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen's companion.  Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way. " - The Favourite

Thursday, February 21, 2019: “VICE

Dinner at 6:00 pm followed by Movie at 8:00 pm

"The story of Dick Cheney (Christian Bale), the most powerful Vice President in history, and how his policies changed the world as we know it. VICE explores the epic story about how a bureaucratic Washington insider quietly became the most powerful man in the world as Vice-President to George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell), reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today."  - Vice

Friday, February 22, 2019: “BLACKKKLANSMAN

Movie at 5:30 pm followed by Dinner at 8:00 pm

"It's the early 1970s, a time of great social upheaval as the struggle for civil rights rages on. Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) becomes the first African-American detective on the Colorado Springs Police Department, but his arrival is greeted with skepticism and open hostility by the department's rank and file. Undaunted, Stallworth resolves to make a name for himself and a difference in his community. He bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. Posing as a racist extremist, Stallworth contacts the group and soon finds himself invited into its inner circle...cultivates a relationship with the Klan's Grand Wizard, David Duke (Topher Grace) embarking on an "undercover investigation growing ever more complex." - BlacKkKlansman

Friday, February 22, 2019: “BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

Dinner at 6:30 pm followed by Movie at 8:30 pm

"Bohemian Rhapsody is an enthralling celebration of Queen, their music, and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), who defied stereotypes and convention to become one of history's most beloved entertainers. Following Queen's meteoric rise, their revolutionary sound and Freddie's solo career, the film also chronicles the band's reunion, and one of the greatest performances in rock history." - Bohemian Rhapsody

Saturday Matinee, February 23, 2019: “BLACK PANTHER

Lunch at 10:30 am followed by Movie at 12:00 noon

"Marvel Studios' “Black Panther” follows T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda (T'Chaka; John Kani) returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T'Challa's mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life." - Black Panther

Saturday Matinee, February 23, 2019: “ROMA

Lunch at 1:30 pm followed by Movie at 3:00 pm

"The most personal project to date from Academy Award®-winning director and writer Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien), ROMA follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) a young domestic worker for a family in the middle-class neighborhood of Roma in Mexico City. Cuarón draws on his own childhood to create a vivid and emotional portrait of domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst political turmoil of the 1970s." - Roma

Saturday, February 23, 2019: “GREEN BOOK

Dinner at 6:00 pm followed by Movie at 8:00 pm

"When Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on “The Green Book” to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Confronted with racism, danger as well as unexpected humanity and humor—they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime. " - Green Book

The 3rd Annual Oscar Film Week at Culina at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills is February 19, 2019, through Sunday, February 23, 2019. The 3rd Annual Oscar Film Week Dinner and a Movie is $59 per person and The 3rd Annual Oscar Film Week Pronto Market Lunch and Matinee Movie is $35 per person. For more information and to make reservations, please call Culina at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills directly at 310-860-4000.

Featured photo by Monique A. LeBleu
The "Cococado" with chocolate avocado mousse, vegan brownie, and avocado ice cream at Culina at the Four Seasons, Beverly Hills, California, Saturday, February 9, 2019.