You might think of Sunset Strip as a place that’s outlived its prime – its music and movie heydays are now decades in the past – but think again. The truth is Sunset Boulevard has started dusting off its cobwebs and is quietly becoming a mecca of culinary inspiration and swanky cocktail lounges. Check out these joints for a night on the Sunset Strip worth bragging about.
Night + Market
Arrive at Night + Market with a big group or be prepared to quickly make new friends at the long communal tables hugged by invitingly warm orange walls. The restaurant within a restaurant (enter Night + Market through the curtains near the bar in Talésai) is small, loud, and a riotous good time. Chef Kris Yenbamroong has been making culinary waves since he opened his doors, aiming to introduce Angelenos to the tantalizing tastes of Thai street food. Embrace the community spirit of the joint and order spicy, share-able dishes – think Thai-style tapas – like deep-fried pig tails served with a sticky sweet-and-sour sauce, or nam khao tod, deep-fried rice with peanuts served as a zesty salad.
The Church Key
“American dim sum” is not a phrase you hear often, but it is definitely one you will never forget after a visit to The Church Key. The stripped-down, high-ceiling dining hall, bathed in twinkling chandelier lighting and booming with chatter, looks like the artsy loft set of a sitcom. You’ll be surprised to find it’s really the home of an eclectic dining experience unlike any other. The dim sum offerings — like pig ear Cheetos and falafel croquettes — brought around on rolling carts are definitely the highlight, but don’t miss the sweetly glazed crispy pork belly or the creamy potato pierogies from the kitchen menu. Make sure you save room for the cocktail popsicles, concocted tableside using liquid nitrogen on a vintage Pan Am drink cart.
Current “it chef” Akira Back has brought his Las Vegas-strip brand of Asian fusion to the Sunset Strip at the newly opened Yellowtail. Exotic Japanese masterpieces – with Korean flair – decorate the walls and stand out amid the minimalist, gold-hued décor. Ask for a table on the balcony so you can enjoy the glittering L.A. lights as you indulge your taste buds. There is so much to try here that it’s best to order several dishes to share. Start with a plate of the tuna pizza — delicately sliced tuna nestled on a thin crust of crispy rice — before digging into their specialty sushi rolls. Not to be missed is the creamy, melt-in-your-mouth rock shrimp hand rolls and the popping spicy crab, which literally crackles on your tongue thanks to a sprinkling of Pop Rocks.
Rock and Reilly’s
Yes, there are flatscreens and buffalo wings at Rock and Reilly’s, but this is no bland sports-bar hangout: This Irish bar has soul. Much like the rough-and-tumble speakeasy legend the bar is named for, this pub packs a rocking punch. The dark wood, exposed brick, and brocade couches will make you feel like you’ve stepped back to simpler days — days, in this case, that end with a glass of whiskey. Order a plate of Irish nachos — homemade kettle chips dripping with cheddar and peppered bacon — and the short rib sliders, swimming in a tangy whiskey barbecue sauce. If the food isn’t enough to get you inside the door, Rock and Reilly’s hosts at least one charitable event per month, making the world a better place one cocktail at a time.