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UCLA

Savoring Spring, Bruin-Style

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By Bekah Wright, Photos by Dave Lauridsen

Published Apr 1, 2012 8:00 AM


Innovative Dining Group: Steak, Sushi and George Clooney Movies


Spring's in swing at Station, the outdoor bar at the W in Hollywood. Photo courtesy of Innovative Dining Group.

Lee Maen '90, M.B.A. '96 was star struck. It was the spring semester at UCLA, and he was in a British film class. "Watching a movie like the original Casino Royale versus sitting in an econ class?" he remembers. "Yep, that was definitely one of my best spring memories from campus."

Nowadays, Maen is a partner in Innovative Dining Group, but as the high glam factor of his L.A. venues illustrates, the pull of Hollywood remains.

When asked which of his spots are prime spring destinations, Maen immediately answers, "Station, the W Hollywood's outdoor bar. Spring and summer months we host movie nights on Mondays." Maen likes Station's "backyardish" atmosphere, where you can kick your feet up on the teak tabletops and gleefully devour a Delphine cheeseburger topped by a fried egg and rosemary bacon, accompanied by truffle cheese fries. Providing entertainment—a 35-foot-wide HD screen where films like From Dusk Till Dawn keep attention riveted.

Another IDG spring spot is Katana in West Hollywood. Maen's advice: "Grab a table along the patio railing to get an incredible view of the action on the world-famous Sunset Strip." What he orders while people-watching: "Fresh sushi and sashimi to start, then robata skewers to finish."

Then there's BOA Steakhouse, also on the Sunset Strip. "The time to come is on weeknights, when all the power players come out," Maen says. "If you're lucky, you'll get a table outside by the fireplace." He orders a seafood platter or a signature dry-aged New York steak. What happens next is pure Hollywood. "When you're there, taking in the scene, you become a part of the energy," Maen concludes. "It's like living in a movie."

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