The Nice Guy

Restaurants, Contemporary American La Cienega
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 (Photograph: Courtesy The Nice Guy)
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Photograph: Courtesy The Nice Guy

The Nice Guy.

 (Photograph: Courtesy The Nice Guy)
2/4
Photograph: Courtesy The Nice Guy

The Nice Guy.

 (Photograph: Courtesy The Nice Guy)
3/4
Photograph: Courtesy The Nice Guy

The Nice Guy.

 (Photograph: Courtesy The Nice Guy)
4/4
Photograph: Courtesy The Nice Guy

The Nice Guy.

The Nice Guy, a new Italian restaurant and '50s-inspired lounge from the h.wood group (Bootsy Bellows, Hooray Henry's, Shorebar), is that kind of place—you know, the one where you have to know someone to even think about making a reservation. Make it past the doors, however, and all pretension fades away into a homey, "just how grandma likes it" kind of place, where sofas and chairs are upholstered in loud fabric, and a stage in the corner boasts a vintage microphone and piano. A beautiful bar curves throughout one side of the room, offering up cocktails that range from h.wood standards like The JoJo, featuring vodka, St. Germaine, strawberries and prosecco, to The Spicy Siena, a fiery mix of Reposado, blackberries, honey, Campari and fresno chili peppers.

This is the h.wood group's first restaurant, and while chef John-Carlos Kuramoto puts the focus on Italian comfort food—meatballs, egg parm and crab arancini all make an appearance—a variety of options span the menu. The veggies are plentiful, with a crisp kale salad ($14) that's peppered with pomegranate seeds and pepitas, and roasted Brussel sprouts ($14) that are nothing short of addictive. Since its opening, the duck banh mi pizza ($19) has been getting a lot of fanfare, but don't bypass the fig and caramelized onion pie ($17)—the balsamic glaze drizzled on top is killer.

You know what's also killer? The desserts. And we mean, it's worth coming here just for the fresh baked chocolate chip cookies ($4) dipped in a side of Molinari's spiked milk. A heavenly affogato ($9) is made by pouring a small saucer of espresso over salted vanilla ice cream and brown butter breadcrumbs, and the donuts ($9) are piping hot and perfect when dipped in a chocolate and hazelnut glaze.

So how do you get in? Well, at the moment you seriously have to know someone, and even then can only get in if you make a reservation. That may change down the line, but for now, dust of your networking skills and keep your eyes on those chocolate chip cookies.

By: Erin Kuschner

Posted:

Venue name: The Nice Guy
Contact:
Address: 401 N La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles
90048
Opening hours: Reservations start at 7pm, daily
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