(Editor's note: Charcoal is now closed.)
Finally you can do dinner and a movie at the ArcLight without having to park twice. Situated between Amoeba Records and the Dome, Charcoal is a welcoming space with surprisingly good new American specialties.
The interior is what you’d get if Frank Lloyd Wright designed a T.G.I. Friday’s. Dark woods and rock dominate the design (even the drape pattern evokes bark) though the atmosphere is welcoming rather than clubby, attracting locals as well as tourists. Horseshoe-shaped leather booths line the walls, while a wood-burning fireplace and chairs upholstered with the pelt of some mystery animal surround the bar.
The menu replicates Houston's successful formula: you just can’t go wrong. Safe but well-prepared fare includes excellent appetizers such as the tamale of the day and Tuna Tartare Duo. Ahi, crab and beef provide filling for tasty burgers.
Best of all, steaks are aimed to please all appetites. A stacked cold steak salad with tomato, red onion and bleu cheese is excellent for sharing, while a blackened ribeye courtesy of The Lodge reinforces steakhouse authenticity at well below steakhouse prices.
6372 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood (323) 465-8500
Price: 2 (out of 4) Noise: 2 (out of 4)
Scene: Young cinephiles and creative types. Some dates, some groups of buddies, some tourists.
Best Bets: Tuna Tartare Duo; Cajun ribeye; crab burger
Nearby: ArcLight; The Hungry Cat; Velvet Margarita Cantina
Insider Tip: Valet parking is available on Ivar, or self-park inside the ArcLight complex.