The Tower Bar
(In the Sunset Tower Hotel)
8358 Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood, California
323. 654-7100

Everything begins and ends with Dimitri Dimitrov, the consummate maitre d’hotel, formerly of L’Ermitage and Bel Age fame. When Tom Ford of Gucci glitterati introduced him to Jeff Klein, the owner of both the Tower Bar and Sunset Tower Hotel, the dining room immediately took its place amongst the “who’s who” of Hollywood. Dimitri remembers every face, treating each patron as if they were Madonna—who The Dining Duo noted recently munching on a Tuna and Monk Fish Burger with her Guy, Guy on one Sunday burgers only night. The guest list at the Tower is like the who’s who of Hollywood, with Brian Lourd and Uma Thurman sending drinks to Clive Davis at the other end of the bar, while Marilyn Manson and his gorgeous ex-playmate wife, Dita Von Teese, conspicuously snuggle in the corner. There’s so much celebrity and pretty people watching you probably won’t notice the food.

If you haven’t guessed by now, it’s not necessarily about the food at the Tower; the food is just fine, but not memorable. What is memorable is the handsomely designed and furnished club atmosphere and listening to the famous Page Cavanaugh, the 84 year old Jazz pianist (who is an old family friend of Michael and has performed at our home). With enough wood on the walls to deplete a Brazilian rain forest, the crackling fire sets a romantic glow upon the myriad gorgeous old Hollywood photographs. Comfortable silk-laden chairs and even more cozy booths create a mood of being in a rich friend’s family room. So who needs spectacular food? And with enough stars in the room to generate a glare, you may not notice the rather ambitious price tag either.

After a beautiful glass of Moet Rose for $20, we were served a cold dish of crudités accompanied with a mint yogurt dipping sauce as well as a dish of extra virgin olive oil. Scott feasted on the appetizer special, the Hudson Valley Foie Gras, his favorite, delicious, prepared with caramelized shallots and a port wine reduction sauce at $23. We’re sorry to report that it was downhill from there. The Vichyssoise ($12) was thick and creamy (who doesn’t like thick and creamy?), but it was a bit limp and should have been served colder.

This being our requisite third visit, we decided to try yet again different dishes. This time, Michael requested the Tower Burger, served with well prepared thin fries and a tangy dipping sauce. The burger was unmemorable, but the price wasn’t forgettable at $21. With so many sensational burger choices in this town, we were disappointed, especially when there was more uneventful bun than burger.

Scott ordered the Rack of Colorado Lamb, at a pricey $38 and was found it to be both tough and gamey tasting. It was piled on top of something non-descript, which was overly burdened with a much-too heavy sauce disguised as a Bordelaise. On another visit, we sampled the Salmon, which to their own admission is prepared “simply” and garnished only with dispassionate baby spinach ($29), and although we again applaud the Tower for serving up the wild version, it too was uneventful and unremarkable. Upon further inquiry, we learned that Chef Piero Morovich had hailed from Italy and first cut his teeth at Los Angeles’s Ammo, but in our opinion he hasn’t fine-tuned his cuisine to compete with the restaurants of this caliber, and this price range.

If there was a pastry chef, he/she should be taken out back and shot. The deserts were far below standard and we would have preferred Sarah Lee at Pavillions. The Chocolate flourless cake ($12) was nearly inedible, tasted dry, devoid of taste and was probably not made that day. The other deserts were not worthy of mention either. With one hot tea, our bill for two always went north of $200. Add another $6 (plus tip) for the valet, which is nearly mandatory on sunset, and you end up with an average dining experience in an above average people-watching, foot-tapping watering hole for the elite.

The service was always top notch, and the handsome Tom-of-Finland security guard Paul who is as big as a door and twice as nice, made us want to come back when the food’s improved.

Posted by The Dining Duo | 3:16 PM | , , , | 0 comments »

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