*Originally published on Pasadena Magazine
York Boulevard in Highland Park is quickly becoming a haven for serious dining in Northeast Los Angeles. Walk into the newest addition, Sonny’s Hideaway, and see for yourself. From the outside, it’s just another virtually signless establishment along the strip, but the inside is an elegant surprise. Dimly lit vintage chandeliers reflect golden light off the small dining room’s crimson leather booths and dark wood-paneled walls, setting a mood that’s appropriate for the place’s offerings. The menu takes a slightly Mediterranean approach to dishes that are deeper than they seem.
The chef is Jimmy Everett, an unassuming 28-year-old veteran of the New York fine dining scene. He’s worked in some of America’s most respected restaurants, including wd-50, Eleven Madison Park and Marea. What this means is that your platter of Manila clams will be sustainable and steamed with smoked grape broth instead of white wine, and a seemingly simple dish of ricotta dumpling pasta just might make you a regular. And thanks to the Highland Park rent, no dish will be over $20.
There’s more: Your cocktail will be just as carefully tended to as the food, with libations such as bar manager J. Kelly O’Hare’s overproof punch, made with East India Sherry, cognac and freshly grated nutmeg. For dessert, there will be spiced pear cobbler with buttermilk ice cream and bourbon caramel, or orange custard with dark chocolate sorbet and cocoa soil. The restaurant is a joint project by Derek Lyons and his partner Ryan Ballinger, the owner of the successful York bar, just down the street, so expect to be dining side-by-side with cool locals. This neighborhood wouldn’t have it any other way.