Sep 25, 2009
Food creator turns food critic: Neil Perry dines at the LA restaurants of four top US chefs.
First up was Wolfgang Puck’s modern steakhouse Cut in the Beverly Wilshire hotel. The mastermind of many American restaurants at every level – from Puck Express outlets in airports to his famous two Michelin-star restaurant, Spago – Puck opened Cut in 2006. The one Michelin-star restaurant features a sleek and sexy Richard Meier design that goes perfectly with the refined starters and great steaks and seafood dishes. We had a wonderful prime sirloin tartare, delicious sliders (baby burgers) and a bluefin tuna for starters. Then we moved on to a steak-tasting with a slice of American wagyu from Snake River Farms in Idaho; a prime Illinois, corn-fed, 21-day aged, bone-in rib-eye steak; and a 35-day dry-aged rib-eye from Nebraska. I loved the rib on the bone – it went well with the sauted mushrooms and my favourite side dish, brussels sprouts and bacon.
The wine advice from vivacious sommelier Dana Farner is an added treat. This is a new American classic and there’s a very cool bar – Sidebar – next to the restaurant.
Mario Batali, the “Cool Hand Luke” of New York Italian cooking, teamed up with LA supremo baker Nancy Silverton in 2006 to create Mozza. It comes in two flavours – a pizza joint and an osteria – sharing the corner of Highland and Melrose. I adore these restaurants for their no-nonsense cooking and perfect seasoning of beautiful ingredients, as you would expect from two produce-driven chefs with great style. At Osteria Mozza we started with woodfire-grilled peppers stuffed with tuna and mayonnaise. I loved the smoky creaminess of these little antipasti. The fried squash blossoms were another standout and the white bean crostini perfect.
Next door, at Pizzeria Mozza, we dived into the fennel sausage pizza and Nancy’s chopped salad, and a bottle of Bruno Rocca Barbersco.
Last, but certainly not least, was The Bazaar by Jos Andrs at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills. This restaurant is a trip. The Philippe Starck-designed interior offers new experiences at every turn and the place seems to go on forever: there are two tapas bars, a cocktail bar and a patisserie. At every table or bar, people are tucking into Andrs’ tapas offerings. The Spanish-born chef is creating cool and delicious food. The menu is split between old- and new-school tapas, and both sections yield fab dishes. His playful interpretations of classics such as caesar and caprese salads are winners; as is his potato cooked in seawater with green mojo sauce. It’s a fun experience, complemented by great Spanish wines, of which there are many, including a 2001 Conde de Valdemar Gran Reserva I’d heartily recommend.
Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel, 9500 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills.
+1 310 279 8500.
6602 Melrose Avenue.
+1 323 297 0100.
641 N Highland Avenue.
+1 323 297 0101.
SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, 465 S La Cienega Boulevard, Beverly Hills.
+1 310 246 5555.