The Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Lounge
9641 Sunset Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

The Scene: Beverly Hills chic and more chic
Cuisine: Traditional and Updated Nouvelle
Must-try: Tasting Menu
Star rating: 3.75 out of 4
Average cost: Entrées range from $28 - $45

In a city where restaurants come and go as fast as we change our Calvins, it’s heart warming to come home to the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Built in 1912, this Grande Dame at the pulsing heart of L.A. has never really changed; but thankfully the food creations most definitely have. You don’t need a special occasion to visit the Polo Lounge, but a special occasion like Thanksgiving is a perfect reason to go.

Just beyond a booming bar scene of Hollywood wannabes, producers, and hotel guests, lies the intimate dining room bathed in green and white stripes. Six tablecloth-laden booths affords beautiful views of the tree-studded patio. Sounds of live music waft throughout the room, as the din of laughter creates a festive party scene that immediately put The Dining Duo in a festive mood.

Executive chef Robert Allen (of Four Seasons Chicago & Ritz in Paris fame) came to the Beverly Hills Hotel and knocked its mediocre menu on its butt. The worlds’ great restaurants are run by chefs, primarily the vision of one person. When Mr. Allen started in July of 2005, and later became the Food and Beverage Director as well, he set a precedent at this hotel for having the wherewithal to exercise his greatness and bring devastatingly delightful creations directly to our table; along with the help of our handsome and built (and gay) hockey-playing waiter, Douglas, who hovered with unrelenting attention.

Master Chef Allen has created a tasting menu extraordinaire that changes every Tuesday, displaying the city’s best produce. The menu is changed with seasonality of the ingredients, constantly evolving into a new tasting menu including both classic Beverly Hills Polo Lounge fare, such as the tortilla soup ($12), and the McCarthy salad ($23). Amongst so many highlights is the wild Norwegian “balik” salmon, line-caught, sent to Switzerland to be smoked and cured, then the mouth-watering delicacy is flown to your plate. ($24). Don’t miss the two fall-inspired appetizers: Ox-tail tortelloni; and pumpkin soup and foie gras crème fraiche, a combination of spiced pumpkin soup, cranberries, and a delectable morsel of foie gras ($23).

The cumin-roasted Colorado lamb loin, consisting of stewed, fresh black-eyed peas and heirloom tomatoes, curried cauliflower, and minted lamb jus, was mouth-watering ($39); pair it with a Cabernet Sauvignon Joseph Phelps 2003, ($21.75 a glass). Chef prepares the braised European sea bass ($39) with clam and artichoke barigoule and garnished with a plum tomato confit and a sweet lemon preserve. The tasting menu affords a novel variety of creations for $85 a person, and for $40, all five courses are paired with truly fabulous wines.

The Polo Lounge has an exciting Thanksgiving menu from 11:00 in the morning to 10:00 at night. A fixed $85 lets you start with a choice of the chicken tortilla soup or their traditional lobster bisque, followed by several wonderful choices, including Dungeness crab cake, sliced duck prosciutto, or an organic baby beet salad. Served all day is their McCarthy salad and rack of pork with crackling, roasted Tom turkey, which includes chestnut and brioche stuffing, buttermilk-whipped potatoes, glazed yams, buttered carrots, giblet gravy, and cranberry marmalade. The desserts at the Polo Lounge are all superb, and at Thanksgiving they offer the classic pumpkin pie with ginger-infused crème Chantilly.

Posted by The Dining Duo | 2:56 PM | , , , | 0 comments »

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