The wondrous flavors of New Orleans have assimilated with the Angelino palate through Preux & Proper, bringing a quaint-yet-stylish, casual-yet-classy taste to on one of DTLA’s busy thoroughfares. ‘Colonel’ Josh Kopel and Executive Chef Sammy Monsour have created a masterful experience with Cajun-inspired dishes and elegant SoCal panache, striking patrons with a cultural intrigue that gets this place popping night after night.
The humble entrance off Spring Street transports you straight to NoLa, frozen drink machines and all. Walk up the stairs to enter Proper Dining Hall, where everything on a plate sticks to its Cajun roots while the bustling bar, lounge and dining area screams hip LA. Craft cocktails go far beyond NoLa’s hurricanes [the drink, to avoid any confusion here], such as the rising sun, with Japanese whisky, egg white and yuzu; the voodoo queen, with Jamaican rum and jerk bitters; and the mezcalarita del diablo, with ancho syrup and chipotle. Step onto the restaurant’s small balcony after a few of these and you may see someone down below asking for beads.
Preux & Proper dishes out sizeable portions, with featured shared plates like the grilled yellow street corn, a take on Mexican elote, as well as a chicken liver pate that spreads beautifully over grilled baguette. The southern fried section, however, really takes it home. The fried whole game hen, essentially a high-end version of chicken and biscuits, is a meal to remember, with a sweet, crunchy coating, fluffy biscuits and a honey finish that makes it all come together. For an additional splurge, go for the 36-hour prime boneless beef rib, a melt-in-your-mouth indulgence complemented beautifully with mashed yams and crispy parsnip chips.
Preux & Proper is located at 840 S. Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014. Open 4 – 10p Mon – Wed, 4p – midnight Thu, 4 – 11p Fri/Sat and noon – 9p Sun. Avg. out-the-door cost for split appetizer, split charcuterie, entrée, split dessert and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$105/person. For more information call (213) 896-0090 or visit PreuxAndProper.com
A bit of Texas. A bit of Carolina. A bit of Kansas City. Virgil’s Barbecue combines them all and many more styles under one roof along the LINQ Promenade. Getting its original footing in New York, the Las Vegas location is the restaurant’s first expansion, and has been well-received by many a patron looking for hearty taste in this bustling thoroughfare.
Virgil’s Barbecue is about the closest you can get to a Southern backyard summertime gathering on Las Vegas Boulevard. Casual tables, dish rag napkins and oversized silverware, as well as an indoor performance stage and an outdoor patio make you feel right at home and ready for whatever fun the day throws at you.
The menu focuses on pit master classics, and does them well. The dry-rubbed pork ribs, smoked for hours on end, are packed with flavor and that hearty, feel-good quality you look for in American comfort food. The beef brisket boasts many of the same qualities, as do all of the classic sides—mashed potatoes and gravy, mac and cheese, cheesy grits and so on. Also factor in the Texas barbecue nachos, where tortilla chips are simply a vehicle to house as much pulled pork and barbecue sauce as humanly possible.
A fun-filled drink list brings together country flavor and Vegas pizzazz. The bloody Mary is exceptional, with just a hint of barbecue sauce to make it something new and different, garnished with a piece of homemade secret recipe beef jerky. Just about every part of the drink program is homemade for that matter, with fresh-squeezed juices and house made mixes, making each order rise above the norm. Another star player is the electric lemonade, which packs a much stronger punch than the taste gives off.
A few more fun gimmicks add to the dining experience. For one, most orders are served in either cast iron skillets or, more likely, on metal trays. And, while it’s not often that a bathroom feature makes a restaurant story, every guy who’s used the facilities will attest that urinals made out of retrofitted kegs are simply hilarious.
Virgil’s Barbecue is located at 3545 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109. Open 10a – 11p Sun – Thu, 10a – midnight Fri - Sat. Average out-the-door price for split appetizer, entree, split dessert and 1-2 drinks is ~$72/person. For more information call (702) 389-7400 or visit VirgilsBBQ.com.
Brewery Draconum has found itself right at home in downtown Newhall. It brings with it the exact kind of authentic, small-town character you’d hope to find in this historic wild west district, and at the same time a level of sophistication in its menu and ambiance that reminds you that you’re still in LA.
And the beer? Unquestionably killer, crafted through decades of experience under owner Ben Law and his humble yet visionary team.
A true brewpub, Brewery Draconum brews a wide variety of beers in-house, turning out new types so often that they can’t print new menus fast enough. The beer room is visible from the other side of the bar, rows of stainless steel vats a beautiful site for patrons seeking beer straight from the source. Their gutterhead red ale is a house favorite, with excellent Saison, melonkolschy [kolsch] and ABVAF [golden Belgian strong] as additional contemporary highlights. You’ll also find additional craft brews from SoCal icons such as Stone Brewing and Mother Earth.
Brewery Draconum’s meticulous attention to detail carries through to its food menu, which of course incorporates into recipes whenever possible. They make nearly everything from scratch, all the way down to their potato and tortilla chips. Enjoy them with some impressive spinach dip, then move onto a fresh, colorful beet salad finished with creamy burrata.
Mains go for an unbelievably reasonable price point, from $10 perfectly fried fish tacos and customizable burgers that start at $12. And hallelujah, those burgers include fries! If you’re seeking something more elevated, try the rack of lamb with Irish mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. Unsurprisingly, everything pairs quite fittingly with the beer menu, including dessert—how about a nitro beer float?
Out back is the beer garden, where communal picnic tables and lawn games allow you to make the most of your afternoon or evening.
Brewery Draconum is located at 24407 Main St, Santa Clarita, CA 91321. Open Tue and Thu 12 – 10 p.m., Fri – Sat 12 – midnight, Sun 12 – 9 p.m. Closed Tue and Wed for brewing. Avg. out-the-door price for split appetizer, entrée and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$41/person. For more information call (661) 568-9160 or visit Brewery Draconum’s Facebook page.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.