Puck to open WP24 at the Ritz-Carlton downtown; the Lab's new cocktail menu; Urban Noodle replaces Warung Cafe
Emperor Wolfgang: The empire of Wolfgang Puck is expanding so rapidly that the Spago founder seems to have run out of restaurant names. The latest is WP24, an Asian-inspired restaurant set to open in April on the 24th floor of the Ritz-Carlton downtown. Puck and chef-partner Lee Hefter created the menu and have named Spago veteran David McIntyre as executive chef.
Scientific cocktails: The Lab, the gastropub on USC's "restaurant row" that serves its beer in beakers, has a new drinks menu of specialty cocktails ($8) and martinis (starting at $9): The Platinum is a classic martini; the Hydrogen, a mojito; and the Mad Scientist, a mai tai. The Algae? It's a vodka-based blueberry lemonade. 3500 Figueroa Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 743-1843, www.thelab.usc.edu.
Downtown noodling: Noodle shop Urban Noodle has opened on 4th Street in the former Warung Cafe spot. Lunchers already have discovered its menu of pan-Asian "soup noodles" (for example, spicy beef stew noodle and curry seafood flat rice noodle) and "soupless noodles" (Singapore rice noodle, pork cucumber noodle, beef chow fun, etc.). Appetizers include tsukemono (pickled cabbage) and pepper-and-salt chicken wings, but what is vegetable cream cheese wonton? 118 W. 4th St., Los Angeles, (213) 626-2893.
-- Betty Hallock
Photo: Ritz-Carlton downtown. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times