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Downtown LA's Proper Hotel has opened with a James Beard award-winning team that includes chef Suzanne Goin and restaurateur Caroline Styne of local fine dining institutions Lucques and AOC. Pair Portuguese-inspired dishes like piri piri chicken and patatas bravas with free-spirited drinks like the cucumber tarragon spritz or the verjus fizz with vergus, pomegranate, black tea, and orange.
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The gist: Gracing the lobby floor of the newly opened Downtown L.A. Proper Hotel, Caldo Verde offers a reprieve from the bustle of Broadway, with a colorful, avian-inspired mural and stained glass installation that welcomes diners before they’re met with a chic yet comfortable dining room featuring warm, neutral tones and checkered tiles on the walls.
The food: James Beard award winners chef Suzanne Goin and restaurateur Caroline Styne joined forces on a vibrant menu that fuses Portuguese and Spanish flavors with a California approach, including boutique wines and an extensive craft cocktail program. In typical Mediterranean fashion, plates are meant to be shared, with standouts that include a sampling of “salty things” (well-sourced charcuterie meats, cheeses, and anchovies); tender beef cheeks perched on a bed of creamy avocado and topped with green chile, crema, and radish; and the eponymous caldo verde, a hearty seafood stew with local rock crab, grilled linguiça sausage, kale, mussels, and potato. Small producers from Spain, Portugal, and California dominate the wine list—save room for a glass of port or madeira alongside dessert—and the cocktail program manages to add creativity and flair without compromising the spirit of the drinks. The passion fruit caipirinha with mezcal, cachaca, passion fruit, and citrus offers a complex sip that hits smoky, sweet, and sour notes.
Cost: Starters are $16–24, salads are $14–18, vegetable sides are $14–20, small plates are $26–34, large plates are $42 for piri piri chicken up to $110 for a 32-ounce bone-in ribeye. Desserts are $13–24, sweet wines and ports are $12–21 by the glass, cocktails are $14–19, non-alcoholic drinks are $10–12, and a three-ounce pour of sherry runs $13–36.