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Small Bites: Primo knows no bounds, waiting for Saam, and DineLA starts next month

December 15, 2008 |  8:07 am


The Primo empire: Primo Cucina (rendered above) is slated to open in February at the Barker Block lofts downtown. It's one of the latest projects from the restaurateurs at Primo Hospitality Group (there's a Caffe Primo on the Sunset Strip and one at the Americana at Brand). Primo Cucina at Barker Block will include a gourmet marketplace, wine cellar, cheese and charcuterie bar, wood-burning pizza oven, gelato lab and coffee roasting plant, as well as indoor and outdoor cafe seating. Another Caffe Primo is set to open at the Pegasus Lofts in February. There's also Primo Bistro, scheduled to open next month on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, beneath the Ramada Plaza hotel (with a more expansive menu, waiter service and a full liquor license). Next on the project list is Tonys West Hollywood, the "casual Italian steakhouse" (nothing on the menu above $25) planned for a January opening in the former Crudo space on Sunset, designed by Chris Mercier of FER Studio (Father’s Office in Culver City). A second Tonys -- Tonys downtown -- is slated to open in the first half of 2009 across from the Biltmore hotel -- nearly 10,000 square feet with a "floating" wine room, piano lounge and an, er, showcase meat locker.

Saam "update": I took note when chef José Andrés recently said that Saam, the 36-seat fine-dining restaurant within the Bazaar at the SLS Hotel, would open next month and that "parties" (he made the quotes sign with his hands) already had been booked. Alas, a publicist says that it most likely will not open next month. The concept is "cuisine that documents gastronomic history" -- dishes such as from Escoffier, Julia Child and Fredy Girardet. Apples with red wine "Fredy Girardet" was on the menu at the Patisserie, but Andrés says henceforth it will be available only at Saam. There's at least one reason to beat a path to Saam's "secret entrance."

Two weeks of "restaurant week": DineLA Restaurant Week takes place Jan. 25 to 30 and Feb. 1 to 6. The list of participants so far includes 140 restaurants, with more to be added in the coming weeks. Prix fixe lunch will cost $16, $22 or $28 and dinner will cost $26, $34 or $44 (not including beverages, tax or gratuity). On Jan. 1, have American Express, will make reservations. Reservations for the general public begin Jan. 11, at dinela.com or directly at restaurants. Participants -- including Campanile, Comme Ça, the Bazaar and Gordon Ramsay -- are listed at the end of this article.   

Capcakepeninsula Cupcakes be damned: The Peninsula Beverly Hills is offering "cap cakes," small cakes shaped like the white satin pillbox caps worn by Peninsula Hotels pageboys since the 1920s. Served, complimentary, during afternoon tea, they are made with white sponge cake filled with passion fruit mousse, covered in white chocolate and decorated with gold-braided fondant. The Peninsula, 9882 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 551-2888, www.thepeninsula.com.

-- Betty Hallock

Rendering of Primo Cucina at Barker Block courtesy of Primo Hospitality Group; "Cap cake" by Max Wanger

3 on Fourth
Adoro Mexican Grille
Angeli Caffe
Asia de Cuba
BALEEN Los Angeles
Bashan Restaurant
BEACON an asian cafe
blue on blue @ The Avalon Hotel
Blue Velvet
Border Grill
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. - Hollywood
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. - Long Beach
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. - Santa Monica
BLVD 16 Restaurant.Lounge
Café Pacific at Trump National Golf Club
Cafe Pinot
Café Santorini
Carousel Restaurant
Catch - Restaurant & Sushi Bar
Cézanne at Le Merigot, a JW Marriott Beach Hotel & Spa
Chaya Brasserie
Chaya Venice
Chinois on Main
Ciao Trattoria
Comme Ça
Cube Marketplace & Café
Daily Grill - Brentwood
Daily Grill - Downtown LA
Daily Grill - Long Beach
Daily Grill - Santa Monica
Daily Grill - South Bay
Daily Grill - Studio City
Dal Rae
Dolce enoteca
Duke's Malibu
e3rd Steakhouse & Lounge
El Pollo Inka Peruvian Restaurant - Gardena
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar - El Segundo
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar - Los Angeles
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar - Woodland Hills
Ford's Filling Station
Gladstone's of Malibu
Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood
GRACE Restaurant
Green Street Restaurant
Gus's BBQ
Hornblower Dining Cruise
i Cugini
Il Moro Restaurant
Ivan Kane's Café Wa s
J Restaurant and Lounge
Johnny Rebs' Southern Roadhouse- Long Beach
Katsuya Brentwood
Katsuya Glendale
Katsuya Hollywood
Kendall's Brasserie & Bar
LA Prime A New York Style Steakhouse
La Vecchia Cucina
Lawry's The Prime Rib
Liberty Grill
Locanda del Lago
Luna Park
Madeleines Restaurant and Wine Bistro
Malibu Beach Inn Carbon Beach Club
Marin Steak & Spirits
Max Restaurant
Michael's on Naples Ristorante
Minx Restaurant & Velvet Lounge
Morton’s The Steakhouse - Beverly Hills
Nick & Stef's Steakhouse
NOE Restaurant & Bar
O Bar + Kitchen
O-BAR Restaurant
Ocean and Vine
Ocean Avenue Seafood
On Sunset @ Luxe Hotel Sunset Blvd
One Pico
One Sunset
Park Grill at The Intercontinental Los Angeles
Pentimento at LACMA
Pinot Bistro
Ports O' Call Restaurant
Prego Ristorante Italiano
Red Seven by Wolfgang Puck
Ristorante daVinci
Royal/T Café
Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine - Downtown
Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine - Woodland Hills
Ruth's Chris Steak House - Beverly Hills
Ruth's Chris Steak House - Pasadena
Ruth's Chris Steak House - Woodland Hills
Sai Sai Modern Asian Cuisine and Sushi Bar
Sashi Sushi & Sake Lounge
Simon L.A.
Smeraldi's Restaurant at The Millennium Biltmore Hotel
Sushi Roku - Pasadena
Takami Sushi & Robata Restaurant
Tam O'Shanter Inn
Taste on Melrose
Tengu - Westwood Village
The Bazaar by Jose Andres at The SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills
The Beachcomber Café
The Bungalow Club
The California's
The Dining Room at The Langham Hotel
The Foundry on Melrose
The Happy Ending Bar and Restaurant
The Lobster
The Roof Garden Restaurant at The Peninsula Hotel
The Sky Room
The Terrace Restaurant at The Langham Hotel
The Whale & Ale
Thousand Cranes Restaurant
Tiara Café
Twist Restaurant
Ugo - an Italian café
Upstairs 2
Vermont Restaurant & Bar
Warung Café
Water Grill
West Restaurant & Lounge
Wokcano - Downtown
Wokcano - Santa Monica
Woo Lae Oak
Xi'an Beverly Hills
Xiomara on Melrose
Zucca Ristorante