NYC chowhound seeks help, please: we are looking for a very good (great is fine, but seems too demanding) dinner for 2 on a Sat. night in LA in about a month from now. Would we be misguided to choose Grace? For example, i've long read about Lucques and it seems pretty interesting and cool (from a food and philosophy perspective) and fun, but more recent info suggests that Grace may be offering better food and wine. (and we're only in town for 2 nights and going to Matsuhisa with friends the prior night).
if it helps: 1) location is not that relevant --we'll be in BH, but will have a car; although don't relish an hour plus drive unless its for a VERY GOOD reason; 2) prefer not to go classical french -- not that i don't love that, its just that France is close enough to home, and as some of you know from posts on the international board, i get to eat there more frequently than LA; so would prefer something more "only in LA"; 3)in general, always seek and prefer a place that is fanatical about the quality of its ingredients, with a strong preferrence for ones that are local and seasonal; 4) of the few places in LA where i've eaten before, I like Valentino and Matsuhisa, and wasn't at all impressed with Melisse; 5) places we like in other cities: SF: Gary Danko more than Fifth Floor (and Masa's not at all), Chez Panisse upstairs or downstairs more than those 2 put together; Zuni is good for lunch, but the wait staff needs to lighten up; Slanted Door, even in the new location, is a big favorite (esp the thought that goes into the wine list pairing with the food); NYC: Union Square Cafe more than Gotham; Esca and Babbo are really good(although in the latter, they need to remember more frequently that they are in the hospitality business); and Craft and Annisa may in many ways be our votes for the "best" restaurants in town as a food matter (and taking in account that the service is gracious and fun, if not,say, Chanterelle perfect).
I think i've said too much. Any help will be much appreciated.