Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse is your classic friendly neighborhood steakhouse. White tablecloths, plush booths, servers lad in chef whites and fancy dessert carts put Davio’s on somewhat of an endangered species list in this day and age of modern chic, but with 25+ years of history on the east coast, this place is making big bets on comfort, coziness and iconic charm. Those 25 years, however, were built up with steakhouse grade hormone-free cuts, homemade pastas and a menu that brings timeless and new age dishes together.
Davio’s 3,000-mile journey out west brought it to a business park in Irvine, where needless to say they’re killing it on power lunches and business dinners. But the experience goes much further, with corporate clientele coming back dressed down and with families in tow. The newest offering is Davio’s Sunday Brunch, which is picking up steam as a high-end weekend dining destination.
If you’re looking to make your Sunday afternoon fun and fancy, with a feeling of privacy and seclusion, plus the unbelievably rare opportunity to actually make a brunch reservation, you just got a solid go-to with Davio’s. Ridiculous beef tenderloin Benedict and a crab omelet with crab ‘impossibly everywhere’ are just a preview of how this steakhouse takes brunch to the next level, complemented beautifully with a bloody Mary cart complete with fresh bacon, jumbo prawns and virtually anything else you can put in a morning cocktail.
The full Italian steakhouse experience is readily available at brunch as well, with hand-rolled potato gnocchi, fresh lobster rolls and of course an array of classic steak and seafood options. And whatever you’re craving, you owe it to yourself to start with the spring rolls. Far from your typical Far East dish, these variations are stuffed with Philly cheesesteak, Reuben, chicken parmesan and east coast specialties that allow Davio’s to show off its historic roots.
Davio’s did adapt to SoCal quite well in its ambiance, finding a location with tons of natural light and an expansive patio. It makes it that much easier to enjoy another bloody Mary, glass of wine or craft cocktail. Then that dessert cart comes out and the hardest decision of the day is whether to go with the molten chocolate cake or the panna cotta. Make it easy on yourself and just get both.
Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse is located at 18420 Von Karman Ave, Irvine CA 92162. Open 11:30a – 10p Mon/Tue, 11:30a – 11p Wed – Fri, 5p – 12a Sat, 11a – 10p Sun. Avg. out-the-door price for split appetizer, entrée, split dessert and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$85/person. For more information and reservations call (949) 477-4810 or visit Davios.com/Irv.
Once Chef Brian Malarkey’s brain child and now owned by the ever-growing Hakkasan group, Searsucker melds sophisticated flavor profiles with a playful and energetic atmosphere. Chic lighting, chef-centric wall art, a spacious dining room and an upscale menu are certainly a big step up from Munchbar, the late night spot that used to occupy the space.
Even though Chef Malarkey is no longer at the helm, Searsucker continues to showcase a globally inspired menu of upscale renditions on comfort classics. Hovering somewhere in the ecosphere between high-end gastropub and modern steakhouse, Searsucker presents a concentrated yet diverse array of options to satisfy a broad spectrum of palates and budgets…by Vegas standards, at least.
Begin your outing with Searsucker’s award-winning bone marrow, with a buttery richness and bold, flavorful crust that sits perfectly atop the grilled crostinis served alongside. Also worth checking out is the calamari, where Searsucker goes in a great new direction with slices of calamari steak breaded just enough to add texture and drenched in a chili honey glaze.
A number of off-beat steaks (think flat iron) make up a fair portion of the entrees, as does some excellent seafood. The seared diver scallops are perfectly cooked and go very well with the meaty hen of the woods mushrooms served alongside. If you’re really in the mood to indulge, make your way to the ‘family’ section and spring for the 2-pound lobster, a succulent masterpiece in all its glory. Pair it, or anything on the menu for that matter, with the duck fat fries, a mountainous concoction chock full of garlic, parmesan and pancetta.
End your meal with the chocolate croissant bread pudding, or another cocktail from Searsucker’s inventive list. Watch the lines build up at Omnia nightclub right next door. You never know; your evening might just be getting started.
Searsucker is located at Caesar’s Palace, 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109. Open 5 – 11p Sun, Mon, Wed and Thu; 5p – midnight Tue, Fri, Sat. Average out-the-door price for appetizer, entrée, split side and 1-2 drinks is ~$145/person. For more information call (702) 866-1800 or visit SearSucker.com/Las-Vegas.
This place isn’t just a restaurant. It’s a show, an experience, an everlasting memory that shoots itself up into one’s shortlist of iconic meals they have had over the course of their lifetime. Describing Barton G in a nutshell is difficult, because there is literally nothing about this place that can be described without abstract comparisons and anecdotes that make your eyes close with nostalgia.
Put as simply as possible, Barton G turns childhood favorites into upscale delicacies, presented in such an extravagant way that the meal is as much a feast for the other four senses as it is for the palate.
Literally every dish comes out with its own jaw-dropping style. Liquid nitrogen popcorn is hand-mixed in a giant metal martini ‘glass’ with Parmesan and bacon. If that wasn’t enough popcorn, the popcorn shrimp is fried shrimp and popcorn served in an old-school popcorn machine. Deviled eggs are dyed red and served in a chicken coup that looks like it came out of a Tim Burton movie. Oyster shooters are encased in a champagne-gelatin bubble that defines molecular gastronomy. Steaks come with three-foot forks stabbed in a wood cutting board.
For some serious elegance, start with the lobster pop tarts that come in an oversized retro toaster. Move onto Lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, which sits under an oversized mousetrap. Then go with the roasted lobster apicius with squid ink orzo is served under a Trojan helmet. Wash it all down with a liquid nitrogen cotton candy cocktail.
Desserts are a mandatory group effort—six people might get through one dish. Take the chocolate treasure for example: literally a treasure chest filled with brownies, gold rice crispy nuggets and creme fraiche ice cream, complete with graham cracker sand, chocolate coins and a shovel just in case the spoon isn't enough to capture the excitement.
What seals the deal is that this food is seriously good. Chef de Cuisine Attila Bollok pays as much attention to detail to each dish as Founder Barton G. Weiss has paid to the restaurant’s immaculate decor. The portions here are real, designed for real people with real appetites. Leftovers-worthy, in fact…anyone who can finish the Marie Antoinette deserves to take home a serving prop of their choice. And the price point is unexpectedly fair, making you wander how they even do it.
Barton G is a foodie’s bliss and an Instagrammer’s dream. When it comes to fine dining in one of LA’s hottest areas, Barton G has one of the ‘hauttest’ approaches, hands-down.
Barton G LA is located at 861 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069. Open 6 – 10 p.m. Mon – Thurs, 6 – 11 p.m. Fri, 5:30 – 11 p.m. Sat/Sun. Average out-the-door price for shared appetizer, entrée, shared dessert and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$118/person. Barton G can be reached at (310) 388-1888 as well as online.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.