To folks that eat simply to sate hunger -- and do not take pleasure from gastro-intake -- you will not understand the high-priced dishes to follow. But if you are the type to relish every morsel of something so delicious that its legality is questioned, then you are likely the kind of eater to "ignore" the price of such a dish all for an hour or so of belly bliss. The following LA meals would like to meet your mouth -- and your wallet.
"Croque Madame" At Hatfield's: The $18 appetizer at Hatfield's hardly amounts to a bite and a half, but Lord, look at the ingredients: careful slices of yellowtail sashimi and prosciutto atop a medallion of grilled brioche and garnished with a perfect sunny-side-up quail egg. And for $18, no, you don't get any cheese on this Croque.
Hatfield's, 6703 Melrose Avenue, at North Citrus Avenue (323-935-2977 or hatfieldsrestaurant.com)
Spaghetti At Scarpetta: The gall of chef Scott Conant to serve us "Lady and the Tramp" food at $24 a plate. And it really is just spaghetti -- noodles, tomato sauce and a little bit of cheese. Of course, Scarpetta's noodles are hand-made, and of course, the tomato sauce is a gentle puree of fresh tomatoes (no matter if it's tomato season or not -- how does he do that?), and somehow, you get a whiff of basil in every bite. And for $24, no, you don't get any meatballs.
Scarpetta, 224 North Canon Drive, at Clifton Way, Beverly Hills (310-860-7970 or montagebeverlyhills.com/beverly-hills-restaurants)
Cabeza de Oro At Rivera: For a slab of foie gras topped with bits of lobster, scallop, truffle, jamon Iberico and caviar (and foam! And edible gold leaf!), $34 almost seems reasonable. Especially, if it's all sitting atop a golden bust of somebody's head, no? If you can manage sneaking the perfect bite of this grinning cabeza, you'll garner at least a few bites of this starter item, available off the Playa Room menu at Rivera.
Rivera, 1050 South Flower Street #102, at West 11th Street (213-749-1460 or riverarestaurant.com)
Shark’s Fin and Crab Meat Soup At Newport Seafood: At San Gabriel Valley's Newport Seafood, almost every Chinese family is sharing an $85 bowl of shark's fin and crab meat soup. Despite the "endangered" status of said sharks, it's an everyday thing -- at traditional Chinese weddings, for example -- to spin the lazy Susan your way, and ladle up a second serving for yourself. Stringy texture and controversy aside, it soothes with every slurp.
Newport Seafood, 518 West Las Tunas Drive, at Rosemont Boulevard, San Gabriel (626-289-5998 or newportseafood.com)
Wagyu Rib Eye At Cut: Wolfgang Puck's steakhouse inside the Beverly Wilshire Hotel boasts the most expensive cuts of beef in the city. But at $130, the New Zealand Wagyu Beef, a six-ounce New York Steak, might be the best meat to meet your mouth. Blogger KevinEats, who famously indulges in high-priced meals all over LA, claims it was arguably the best steak he's ever had -- "though it was almost too rich to consume alone." Which means, yes, you should chase it with a bone marrow dumpling.
CUT, 9500 Wilshire Boulevard, at Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills (310-276-8500 or wolfgangpuck.com)
Kaluga Caviar At Petrossian: Caviar cravers, if you can justify spending $457 on just 50 grams of caviar, Petrossian is happy to serve you Huso Dauricus sturgeon. West Hollywood's authority on caviar promises that the medium-to-dark-gray Kaluga offers "mellow, rich, buttery notes and a spectacular bead size." You'll have to order the caviar martini separately.
Petrossian, 321 North Robertson Boulevard, at Rosewood Avenue, West Hollywood (310-271-6300 or petrossian.com)