Best Restaurant Re-Invention - 2007
After a dozen years, owner David Gingrass decided it was time for a change at his restaurant Hawthorne Lane, a big glitzy place where the well-heeled enjoyed multicourse, extravagant California-Asian fusion meals. The name TWO references (again) the address, as well as the fact that it's the second concept: funkier and less expensive. The big plush booths have been replaced with smaller tables, many set at a long banquette opposite an equally long bar, in a casual yet stylish and somewhat retro woody setting. (Actually, the original restaurant has been cut in two that name again! and there's a big back room, boasting the original H.L. d?cor, rentable for private parties.) We're taken with the new American/International menu, which features temptations from all over the map: chicken liver dumplings in bouillon, slow-roasted marrow bones, fried Hama Hama oysters, duck liver and apple p?t?, homemade lamb pastrami sandwich, pizzas with toppings ranging from olives and goat cheese to duck confit, braised lamb cheeks, and a 16-oz. New York strip steak. Without using the phrase "small plates," many dishes are suitable for sharing and grazing.