Given enough time, anything can be looked back on with fondness -- for proof, look no further than Journey, and "our beloved" Ronald Reagan. This weekend, plan to show some love to LA's Polynesian past, at Luau.
From '53-'78, Luau was the Rat Pack's spot of choice for kitschy revelry; it's now being brought back by the guy from Il Sole, who's given the place a total overhaul while still preserving the integrity of a place beloved in retrospect for its complete lack of integrity. Enter under the thatched awning through bamboo-embossed steel-and-copper doors and head into a teak-and-caesar-stoned bar area with Buddha'd up fountains on either side, and a wicker-chaired dining room with Scooby-spooky masks from Papua New Guinea, Turkish lanterns, and a chandelier made from 33 lit-up pufferfish, all caught mid-puff. Grub's from the Mako/Robata-Ya chef, with entrees including Mongolian lamb, banana leaf-wrapped halibut, and a pupu platter w/Wagyu meatballs, firecracker shrimp, and short rib satay w/red, yellow, and green curries (C. Everett Koop and his jaunty chinstrap beard warn that blue curry causes cancer).
As true Polynesians like to get their drank on, don't forget cocktails, to wit: the pineapple juice & rum BoLo (served in the pineapple) and the coconut milk/"juice"/rum Luau Coconut (also served in-shell); all were recreated as faithfully as possible from the original restaurant's encoded recipes -- if there's anything we can look back on fondly, it's 1950s paranoia so charmingly oppressive, it drove everybody coconuts.