Seeing Stars: Where the Stars Dine..  



730 N. La Cienega Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA. / (310) 358-8585




Alas, in the first week of November 1998, Drai's closed its doors for good; the restaurant was bought by a trio of alumni from Pinot and Patina, who opened a new restaurant in the space called "Cienega" in 1999. It didn't last.
Chef Claude Segal went to work at the new restaurant Pagani.

The building on La Cienega now houses a new restaurant named "Koi", specializing in sushi and other Pan-Asian seafood dishes.
(The phone number is (310) 659-9449.)

Koi attracts celebs, too, including Jennifer Love Hewitt, Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Lindsay Lohan, Ozzy Osbourne, Owen Wilson, Paris Hilton, Fred Durst, John Mellencamp, Regis Philbin, Paul Walker... It was here that Sharon Osbourne and a talent agent got into a spat that brought in the police.

I'll leave this page up for anyone who is interested in reading about the old Drai's, but bear in mind that the restaurant is now closed, and this article was written back when the restaurant first opened.


Drai's (pronounced "Drays") is the hot, new French restaurant on L.A.'s Restaurant Row. It replaced the classic L'Ermitage (which had always been a favorite of the Gucci set), and once again there is a long line of Rolls Royces lining up here on La Cienega.

Some critics find the place pretentious, remarking on the abundance of European accents, the mix of old money and hip new faces. Certainly table-hopping is at an all-time high here, as players in the Hollywood power game try to see and be seen by the right people. But Zagat calls it "the best star-gazing in town".

Drai's is fast becoming a celebrity Mecca. Regulars at Drai's include Kevin Costner, Mickey Rourke, Sharon Stone, Barbra Streisand, Quincy Jones, Anne Archer, and a host of producers and agents. The L.A. Times reports that on one evening alone, superstar Sylvester Stallone, producer Alan Ladd Jr., former "Charlie's Angel" Jacqueline Bisset, actor Ron Perlman (of "Beauty and the Beast" fame), and the legendary director Billy Wilder ("Some Like It Hot"), were all spotted at Drai's at the same time, talking to ex-Spago chef, Bernard Epicum, who was making the rounds. That was something Drai's owner, Victor, didn't appreciate - he banned Bernard from his restaurant. (Victor Drai, incidentally, is the producer responsible for the "Weekend at Bernie's" films. He was formely married to Kelly LeBrock, who's now married to Steven Seagal.)

"Psycho" stars
Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche (with Ellen DeGeneres, naturally) were seen dining at Drai's in July with director Gus Van Sant. Recently, a post-premiere party for "Great Expectations" brought out Gwyneth Paltrow, Ethan Hawke, Anne Bancroft & Mel Brooks to Drai's.

On one day in May, Army Archard reports spotting Alec Baldwin, Jon Voight, Hugh Hefner, Penny Marshal and James Brooks at Drai's. Hefner had showed up earlier that month with five gorgeous girls. Later, Jerry Seinfeld was spotted dining here with Garry Shandling.

A crowd of paparazzi outside the restaurant door is standard.

Don't be surprised if reservations are hard to come by. Shortly after its opening, Drai's turned down billionaire Marvin Davis and fellow restaurateur Jimmy Murphy (of Jimmy's), when they called for a table at the last minute.

Drai obviously has hopes of re-establishing the old Mai Maison tradition of the Friday lunch. He has begun opening Drai's for lunch, but only on Fridays. He has hired Mai Maison's old chef, Claude Segal (the man who replaced Wolfgang Puck when Puck left Mai Maison to open Spago), and now even has Mai Maison's venerable Patrick Terrail working the room, luring back celebs like Jackie Collins, who used to call Mai Maison home.

     

On Academy Awards Night, Drai's hosts a pretty good post-Oscar party (sponsored by Columbia/TriStar Studios). The party has attracted the likes of John Travolta, Brad Pitt, Nicolas Cage, Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Tom Hanks, and Emma Thompson.

Despite all the celebrity fuss, this white linen bistro offers reasonably good food. Dinner is served nightly, but like Morton's, the big celebrity night is Monday when the restaurant is always packed. Lunch is currently served only on Fridays.

For a rich man's restaurant, the prices here aren't as high as you might expect. Dinner for two should cost you less than $90 (plus wine), or as little as $60, if you choose your menu items carefully.

The problem may be one of attitude. Some say that if you're not a celebrity, you get treated rudely here. (If you get in, try to sit in the main room. The best spot is the first table as you come in through the door.)


Getting there: Located on the east side of La Cienega Blvd., just north of Melrose, on the L.A./Beverly Hills border.


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Copyright  2014-Gary Wayne
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