11 Super Secret Off-Menu Items Worth Trying in Los Angeles
There’s no more delicious pat on the back than ordering an off-menu item in LA. It’s partly because of the nod of respect the waiter gives you after ordering the secret dish, but mainly because what comes out of the kitchen is some of the chef’s best work. Usually it’s a signature dish that the restaurant reserves for its knowing regulars, but sometimes its customizable options that make a dish your own.Some secret items have received so much praise over the years that much of the allure has faded, notably the fried chicken sandwich at Night + Market, which is available on the menu at several services at both locations, or the burger at Jitlada, which has made appearances on the small screen. Still, they are worth mentioning alongside newer secret options at places like Pono and Catch.
Here now, 11 secret menu items to try in Los Angeles.
1 Fried Chicken Sandwich at Night + Market Song
Does a ranch dressing and papaya salad-topped fried chicken sandwich sound insanely delicious to you? It should, and Night + Market Song is the place to get it. Kris Yenbamroong fries Chieng Rai-style skin-on fried chicken thighs until deeply crisped, tops it with som tum papaya slaw, tomato, jalapenos, cilantro, and a carefully crafted house-made ranch dressing. The sandwich is offered at lunch and as an off-menu item at dinner at Song, and for dinner only at the West Hollywood location.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
2 Jade Noodle Soup at Sapp Coffee Shop
Sapp’s jade noodles are not only the most iconic dish in Thai Town, but also rank up there with iconic dishes in all of Los Angeles. But what only true noodle connoisseurs know is that the typically dry noodle dish can be ordered as a soup with pork broth as a nice way to warm up as the weather cools down.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
3 Jazz Burger at Jitlada
Less a secret now that the likes of Jonathan Gold and Adam Richman has extolled its virtues, The Jazz burger is a protein-style concoction originally developed for owner Jazz Singsanong’s family that is served with raw onion, tomato slices, and plenty of fresh chilies.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
4 Spicy Tuna Cones at Spago
One of Wolfgang Puck’s most iconic dishes, the spicy tuna cones made with a sesame miso crisp that is filled with spicy tuna tartare and garnished with daikon sprouts, bonito flakes, and masago roe is available at Spago for diners in the know. A favorite dish of the Oscars Governors Ball, it’s the perfect opportunity to dine like a celeb.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
5 Burgers at Pono Burger
All three locations of Pono (Venice, Santa Monica, West Hollywood) offer a wealth of secret menu options. Raise your pinkie with a Posh Burger, a luxurious (but affordable at $13) concoction of Costello Danish blue cheese, crimini mushrooms, arugula, truffle oil, and housemade truffle aioli, or get down with the ‘Oli’Oli Burger made with raclette, Niman Ranch pastrami, sauerkraut, and kosher pickle spears.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
6 Pearl Menu at Herringbone
Ask for the secret Pearl Menu for a selection of grilled seafood items available only at the raw bar. These items aren’t available on the regular dinner menu, with seasonal highlights like hiramasa with paddlefish roe, yuzu koshu, white soy, micro shiso, and avocado, and whole Spanish mackerel with chimichurri, grilled lime, and black garlic.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
7 Puffy Taco at Bar Amá
Josef Centeno managed to find a way to make tacos even more magical with his puffy varieties. The chef deep fries tortillas so they puff up into delicious clouds that are then filled with a choice of chicken, picadillo, potato, lengua, chorizo, or shrimp.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
8 Boner Burger at Animal
A popular item on Animal’s brunch menu is the Boner Burger, an obscenely delicious patty topped with jack cheese, caramelized onion, poblano chili, and 420 sauce on marble rye from Diamond Bakery just up the street. After ordering it once, it becomes easy to understand why it is a popular off-menu mainstay.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
9 Tuna Melt at The Apple Pan
While it is difficult not to order the much heralded Hickory Burger at The Apple Pan, the off-menu tuna melt has also made its way into the hearts of devoted regulars. The straightforward sandwich comes with cheddar or Swiss, tuna salad, and the option of grilled onions between a selection of bread.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
10 The Poseidon at Mariscos Jalisco
There’s a lot to love at beloved food truck Marisco Jalisco, chief among them is the crispy shrimp tacos. Be sure to also order the Poseidon, a crispy corn tortilla topped with shrimp ceviche, aguachile, red onion, cucumber, avocado, and a blazing hot salsa. No wonder its named after the god of the sea.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
11 Wagyu Beef on the Rock at Catch
LA’s hottest new restaurant rewards its NY fans with its insider-only dish, the wagyu beef on the rock. Slices of marinated wagyu are served raw alongside a sizzling rock. After searing for just a few seconds, the entire restaurant is perfumed with the scent of the delicious meat that is reminiscent of the fanciest Korean barbecue you’ve ever had.
Los Angeles, CA 90069