These places aren't exactly unknowns, but thought I'd quickly mention my recent experiences at each. As the title indicates, both provide something fairly rare in LA--a place to get a bite that's not only open late, but still bustling at 10:30 p.m.
I'd been wanting to try Beechwood ever since reading the LA Times review eons ago, but I'm rarely that far west later in the evening. Finally, an evening work meeting provided an opportunity (who whoulda thunk I'd meet with moderate Democratic Representative Jane Harman at the hippie coffee spot The Cow's End, but that's for another blog I guess). Anyway, liked the chaise lounge-y seating in Beechwood's bar, and loved the HUGE pulled pork sandwich with fried pickles even more--at $12 it was a steal. Unfortunately, the sweet potato fries weren't as revelatory--I think Bowery's are much better. Had a decent glass of red wine, couldn't tell ya what it was. J. had a steak (skirt, I believe?) that was nothing special. His regular fries were much better than my sweets. All in all, a nice joint if you're in the neighborhood, but not a destination.
The Hungry Cat has been a reliable favorite ever since it opened. We usually sit at the bar and get 2-3 items to share. On Monday night, we met to celebrate the end of my UCLA class, and celebrate we (at least I) did. Besides the fantastic seafood, the Cat has a creative drink menu, mostly fresh fruit juice and relatively unknown (at least to me), high-end liquor. I started with what their subtly tangy Sidecar (you'd be amazed at how many bartenders don't know how to make this--I've had it served in a wine glass with ice), followed by a gin and tonic, made with Raj Gin, and I think just a look at the tonic bottle. J. and I shared a fall salad (roasted squash, blue cheese, hazelnuts, dates, greens with a balsamic dressing) and a bowl of the special homemade papparedelle with lobster, in a lobster/beef stock. The Hungry Cat is not cheap, but it's an excellent value.