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DineLA Restaurant Week kicks off Sunday

January 19, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
"L.A. Convention and Visitors Bureau created this program for two reasons, really: to promote L.A. as the incredible food city that it is, and also to drive awareness and traffic and business for the restaurants," said dineLA director Carrie Kommers. "People that are not existing customers, it really does introduce an entire new client base for us," said John Halter, co-owner of Taste on Melrose.

Halter sees a 20-percent increase in sales in an otherwise blue January. Eva's chef and owner, Mark Gold, participating in his third dineLA, sees value as well.

"It brings us a new clientele of people that would not normally visit Eva," said Gold.

Economically it appears to be a win-win.

"It really does trickle down. And when a restaurant is healthy and vibrant and doing well it has a big impact on the city also," said Kommers.

More than 290 restaurants offer lunch and/or dinner with three price tiers, as low as a $16 for a three-course lunch, to a $44 decadent dinner.

"You can sort by price tier, the part of town they're in, the cuisine they serve," said Kommers.

Diets can often go by the wayside during dineLA week, but they don't have to. Some of the restaurants are taking a good-for-your-waistline, good-for-your-wallet approach, so you can eat well and still keep that New Year's resolution.

Among Taste on Melrose's offerings is grilled salmon with sautéed spaghetti squash with a balsamic reduction and cucumber salad; Tuscan white bean kale soup; and blackberry cabernet sorbet.

At Eva, Gold offers a sashimi yellowtail with local radish; a sous-vide cooked striped bass with artichoke carbonara; and steamed lemon cake.

"We make like almost a meringue on top with a little bit of simple syrup and thyme," said Gold.

If you're stuck on how to get started, try this approach:

"Try a restaurant you've always wanted to try, try one you haven't been to in a while and try one you've never heard of," said Kommers.

DineLA Restaurant Week begins Sunday, Jan. 23 and runs through Fri., Jan 28, then starts again on Sunday, Jan. 30 through Fri., Feb. 4.