All posts by Kat Odell


Foreword by Stan Lerner: You might notice that downtownster writers, including yours’ truly, write about or mention Varnish often — this is what happens when a place is this cool. And since I tell my writers to go with their gut when it comes to blogs I’ll never say no to a story about a place even if every downtownster writer feels a need to write about it. I’m thinking about doing a piece on the ice cubes at Varnish, next. 

I’ve been a fan of Sasha Petraske since my first drink at Milk & Honey in NYC not too long ago. Subsequently, I’ve consumed a beverage at every one of his other locations in New York including, Little Branch, East Side Company Bar, and his newest absinthe bar that opened last summer, White Star.

With regard to Sasha’s cocktail coverage in Los Angeles, he first started by consulting with the bar at Comme Ca, and he has finally opened his own West Coast spot called The Varnish with Cedd Moses and Eric Alperin inside Cole’s French Dip in downtown LA. I was so excited when I read about this place opening up, Continue reading Varnish

Church and State

I’ve lived in France twice, once at age 18 when my parents deported me for the summer (long story) to Royan, and the second time when I was in college I (sort of) opted to take a term abroad in Rennes. Fond memories include eating crêpes with nutella and banana on the beach, and my 5-year-old French “brother” Etienne downing cidre with lunch (a traditional alcoholic apple cider popular in Brittany). From living and traveling though parts of France, and many great NYC French restaurants (like Bouley), I’ve developed an affinity for French fare. I don’t discriminate, give me bistro or haute cuisine, I am in.

And then I moved to LA. The French food scene is dismal at best, and I don’t appreciate overpriced bills on average food at places like Anisette, or just all around bad food at La Cachette. And then came Church & State. I checked out the menu online and it seemed pretty standard with dishes like steak frites, croque monsieur, les huitres (oysters), soupe à l’oignon…you get the idea. However, unlike most LA French spots, all the food on this menu was very reasonably priced with most entrees under $20 and appetizers in the $10 range. At that point I would say that I was interested Continue reading Church and State

Blue Velvet

I’ve been to Blue Velvet twice in the past two years, and each time I’ve had a solid dining experience. And to clarify, solid, in my book, is positive. I liked the market driven menu, fun cocktails, and an alleged rooftop veggie and herb garden. I went back to BV the other night with a friend and we both had this totally weird dining experience.

 We entered the somewhat out of the way restaurant and stood for a minute or so by the host stand- there was no host. The sole waiter in the restaurant apparently served as the host as well and he sat us at a two top. The restaurant was empty save for 3 other tables. Next, we approached the menu, but before I could even read what was printed, I noticed the cheap blue paper (probably from Staples) on which it was printed. Continue reading Blue Velvet

Nick and Stef’s Steakhouse

After living in LA for almost three years now (I moved from NYC), it’s quite odd that, in the hundreds of dinners I’ve eaten out, I’ve somehow never eaten at a Patina Group restaurant. I have, however, grabbed many a milkshake at Milk, which is owned by a former Patina chef, however I’ve managed to miss all such restaurants that fall within the actual Patina organization.

Trying to evaluate logically how such an oversight could have occurred in my restaurant repertoire (or lack there of), I blame it on the overpopulation of Los Angeles. There are too many cars on the road at any given time, and since LA is relatively spaced out, trekking from the West Side to Downtown can be like commuting to another country, especially between the hours of 4 pm to 7 pm. Yuck.

I guess not alllll Patina restaurants are downtown, but the most notable are including Patina, Pinot Bistro, Zucca Ristorante, Kendall’s Brasserie and Bar, and Nick and Stef’s Steakhouse, the latter of which I recently visited. Continue reading Nick and Stef’s Steakhouse