What’s Haute: Los Angeles

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High-end dining and nightlife locales seem to spring up every day, but what’s haute one week can easily turn into old and neglected news. In such a city, it’s a constant struggle to master the game that the glamorous, social elite play: choosing the best dining and nightlife locales. Since our readership consists of those with the means to experience the hautest restaurants and lounges, we thought it apropos to put together an agenda filled with establishments worthy of your Black Cards.

As far as the Los Angeles dining scene goes, creativity is definitely key. STK has no qualms standing out in, quite literally, a row of restaurants—West Hollywood’s Restaurant Row. Traditional dining locales have been done a thousand times over, but STK offers a new kind of dining experience. Although it does honor its steakhouse roots, menu items such as the Foie Gras French Toast shows that this is no ordinary steakhouse. The banquet-style seating encourages a social environment, but if a more intimate setting is what you crave, STK’s Bistro Room can be closed off with either a separate sliding glass wall or a racy fringe curtain.

While creativity is a key to longevity, credibility is just as important. Chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon, which will soon open in Beverly Hills, has an impressive Bay Area-based pedigree. Keller’s restaurants, which include Per Se in New York and French Laundry in Yountville, have earned a beyond-impressive total of seven Michelin stars, and he is the only American-born chef to hold Michelin stars at multiple restaurants. There are already Bouchon locations in Napa Valley and Las Vegas, but the Beverly Hills installment will entail an impressive unique wine program. Vin de Carafe will offer selections from wine producers in Southern California. The wines will be blended specifically for the restaurant one barrel at a time, giving the winemaker a chance to flaunt the noticeable personality and flavors of each wine. The restaurant will encompass 11,000 square feet, with an upstairs bakery offering plenty of delicate and delectable treats that will send your taste buds into heaven.

History is also important in the competitive game of dining perfection and if there’s one thing Chateau Marmont has, it’s definitely history. The hotel has been the stomping ground for A-list celebrities since 1927. Known for its exclusivity and privacy, Chateau Marmont’s restaurant and bar has been a constant hideaway for industry elites (and anyone else who enjoys pretending they’re in the same top-notch class). If you want to attempt to catch a glimpse of any of the bold-faced names who grace tabloid pages, visit the main floor lounge or outdoor patio for a cocktail or two. The Chateau also serves comforting country food, made with ingredients from the local farmers market—nothing too over the top or frilly, but delicious and more than satisfying just the same.

Another celebrity favorite may be more of a newcomer, but it has garnered the attention of Hollywood notables and international press alike. The Bazaar at SLS Beverly Hills offers a key aspect when it comes to surviving in this fickle market: flexibility. Having just been honored as “Restaurant of the Year” by Esquire and awarded a rare four stars from the L.A. Times, the Spanish-themed Bazaar, headed by Chef Jose Andres, is always buzzing. It’s a redefinition of the hotel lobby concept, with multiple dining and drinking destinations everywhere you turn. At the center of The Bazaar, the aptly named Bar Centro offers unique libations, such as the Tableside “Nitro” Caipirinha, with cachaça that has been frozen by liquid nitrogen. The Rojo y Blanca tapas bar has a split personality, Rojo representing the traditional side of the menu and one-half of the restaurant adorned with blackboards and black and white pictures of matadors. “Blanca” features more contemporary cuisine amidst a setting filled with pristine plush armchairs and sofas in white. The Patisserie has dessert covered, while SAAM offers the intimate chef’s tasting room, a hidden space designed by Philippe Starck. From Thursday to Sunday only, SAAM features a $95 per person prix fix menu. And roving throughout the space is a unique adult-beverage cart, ensuring at The Bazaar, your glass is never half-empty.

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