Eating at 4 quality restaurants this past week is a bittersweet consolation for what happened to my football team. But enough about non-chicharon pigskin.
Casablanca (Venice): What a welcome change of pace from all the taco/burrito/chile colorado/chile verde mexican joints. The flour tortillas brought in lieu of chips are addictive. We tried three or four types of calamar (tequila, garlic and butter, etc.) -- all good.
Pizzicotto (Brentwood): Nice neighborhood Italian -- kinda cramped but competant, friendly service. Lobster Ravioli was very good -- plump little pillows of crustaceanic bliss, I could actually taste the lobster. Good portion size.
Katsu-Ya (Encino): The Red Book recommended reservations, which were crucial. Ordered the Kaiseki Zen -- what a feast! For 16 bucks I was served salad, soup, rice, black cod, a stuffed mussel, crab-cakes (?), mixed tempura, tuna/whitefish/salmon sashimi, and sunomono salad with crab and shrimp. Also ordered freshwater eel, albacore, and spanish mackeral nigiri (not out of hunger). Not a weak link in the bunch. I don't get what all the complaints surround, especially at that price point.
Outback Steakhouse (Burbank): Definitely not Mastro's, in a good way. My med-rare filet was red at the center (success!) and service was great. N.B. NO CORKAGE FEE!