Now that pretty much everyone who matters in New York agrees that Los Angeles is the best food city in America (hey, Lucky Peach; we see you, Esquire; holla, Danny Meyer’s right-hand man), let’s once again be thankful that L.A.’s no-rules dining scene is all kinds of glorious.
Here are six non-traditional ways to celebrate Thanksgiving at Los Angeles restaurants. And we even have a bonus Thanksgiving option if you happen to be one of those weird ex-New Yorkers who live in L.A. now and misses the food you used to eat.
Shanks for the Memories
Commissary at Koreatown’s Line hotel celebrates “the natives of this land” with its Native Spirit Feast of hearty vegetable and meat dishes. This is a Roy Choi restaurant, so of course there are multicultural riffs on comfort food. The wild mushroom carpaccio ($14) has a yuzu vinaigrette. There’s a Peking chicken mole ($38) with chiles, star anise and ginger. The lamb shank (market price) features kimchi, harissa stock, root vegetables and rice. And this being Thanksgiving, you can have pumpkin or pecan pie ($6) for dessert.
For a Vegan Thanksgiving
Chef Tal Ronnen’s Melrose Avenue vegan restaurant Crossroads is offering a plant-based $75-per-person Thanksgiving meal. Butternut squash bisque with nutmeg crème fraîche kicks off the hyper-seasonal, market-driven menu. There’s an autumn chop salad with kohlrabi, Granny Smith apples, persimmons, candied pecans and pomegranate vinaigrette. Sides include brussels sprouts with pine nuts, currants and maple mustard glaze; holiday spiced chickpea cake with cranberry cabernet sauce; mashed potatoes with porcini gravy; and sweet potato biscuits. And there’s gluten-free stuffing, of course. For dessert, take your pick of an apple-pear crumble or a pumpkin crème brûlée.
If you prefer to eat vegan at home, M Café is creating takeout feasts ($75 for two people, $135 for four, plus a la carte orders available). Options include a holiday seitan roast, a gluten-free tempeh loaf, spiced butternut squash bisque, vegan macaroni and cheese (with spinach and panko), and whipped potatoes and rutabaga. You can also add a vegan dessert like a chocolate fudge cake ($55), a pecan pie ($60) or a quince-and-blueberry tart ($55) . Orders must be placed today.
For Dim Sum and Then Some
Lunasia Dim Sum House in Pasadena is the spot for har gow, siu mai, Shanghai juicy pork dumplings, sticky rice, minced chicken buns, turnip cakes, tofu with abalone sauce and so much more. For a full-on holiday feast, there are also all kinds of fried rice and noodles, as well as baller plates of Peking duck, stir-fried filet mignon cubes and roast-pork knuckle.
For a Fine Dining Thanksgiving
If you’re going to spend the holiday at chef Josiah Citrin’s Santa Monica fine-dining palace Mélisse ($95 per person for the Thanksgiving menu, $42 for children 8 and under), you might as well shell out for the $65 white truffle supplement atop the Maine lobster ravioli appetizer. You can order turkey as your main course, but this turkey comes with chanterelle mushrooms, apple and brioche stuffing, and pomegranate gravy. Still, you might prefer entree choices like dry-aged prime rib with horseradish jus; crispy Eastern bass with melting fennel and a champagne-truffle reduction; and portobello mushroom, radicchio and burrata “steak”.
For California Cuisine on a Lovely Patio
L.A.’s always pleasant weather means that you can enjoy Thanksgiving on the beautiful patio of Westwood’s newly renovated Napa Valley Grille, where the Thanksgiving menu ($65 per person) includes your choice of appetizers like steamed clams with spinach, crispy shallots, oregano and white wine broth; a winter panzanella salad with baby kale and kabocha squash; cauliflower soup with California lobster; or a Caesar salad with butter lettuce and Tuscan kale. You can opt for roasted turkey breast as your main course, but we absolutely understand if you go for prime rib (with creamed potatoes), butterfish (with baby turnips and romesco) or truffle pappardelle (with roasted pearl onions, baby carrots and carrot pistou) instead. Desserts include a warm pecan tart with oatmeal rum-raisin ice cream.
For a French Twist
Chef Olivier Quignon’s Avec Nous at Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills is a splendid French restaurant that’s bringing out the escargot, foie gras, oysters, crab gratin and family-style cavatelli for its Thanksgiving extravaganza ($85 per person, $35 for children). For your main course, there’s the choice of sea bass, steak frites, roasted cauliflower or, if you insist, roasted turkey breast or a turkey burger. The show-stopping dessert trolley features macarons, brownie bites and chocolate-covered strawberries along with pumpkin and pecan pie.
For a True Taste of New York at Home in L.A.
OK, we get it, New York transplant. You really miss your neighborhood slice joint and Christina Tosi’s sweets and Black Seed Bagels and Papaya King and Katz’s and Zabar’s and Mile End. (Jesus, you New Yorkers eat a lot of fucking carbs.) So be thankful for Goldbely, the online food shop that lets you order bake-at-home pies from Village mainstay Joe’s Pizza, Momofuku Milk Bar birthday-cake truffles and crack pies, and carbs and proteins from everyone else we just mentioned. If you prefer to fire up the grill this holiday season, Esposito’s Sausage and Ottomanelli Bros. meats are available as well. And be thankful that you have proper outdoor space with a grill at your house, instead of the fire escape at your old walkup apartment. Welcome to L.A.!