The Kress
6608 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028
Phone: (323) 785-5000
Hours: Sun, Tues, Wed 5 - 10 pm, Thu-Sat 5 - 11 pm

The Dining Duo has never been much for old Hollywood. The traffic is bad, the streets are dirty and crowded, and the homeless and hucksters are plentiful; but every now and then we are proven wrong, and The Kress takes full credit for us eating our hats, seasoned and cooked to perfection, of course.

Like a mirage, the moment you open the door to this palace of a restaurant, it is clear that you’ve arrived into something special. The main dining room is cavernous (seating 175), yet richly warm, if not exotic. It is framed by a gigantic Asian-inspired chandelier that looks like an upside-down cake and seems to be back-lit by red neon. Our eyes took in the giant golden booths that afford a sense of privacy, as well as the comfy banquettes and tables. Above, the intricately wood carved ceilings were itself a thing of beauty and painstakingly restored to its 1930s splendor; and this was only the dining room. After spending nearly 30 million dollars on dolling up the old Kress department store (which was more recently, Fredericks of Hollywood), the San Diego based visionaries created a 38,000 square foot, 5 floor city exotica offering the beautiful people everything from affordable fabulous dining, to a giant curved sushi bar overlooking the main room, to hob-knobbing with the likes of LL Cool J, The Pussycat Dolls, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake, and more.

Now back to the food, and it was terrific. After being seated in one of those giant gold round booths by a gorgeous girl, the equally gorgeous Nate rushed us water, while the well-trained and informed (and cute) Mathew came right to our aid with food suggestions. Chef Travis Kamiyama has taken over the business and menu planning aspects, and after opening a host of restaurants since he was 14, it shows. Chef loves bringing people of all varieties together and bridging the gap through food, and he’s reduced the original prices to do so.

The Chef is Japanese born and American raised, and his food is Asian-inspired, reflecting elements of Korean, Chinese, Japanese and other Southeast Asian locales. The highlights are the sushi, wok items and the grill. He uses only the finest blue-finned tuna, the king of all tunas, selecting those nearly translucent fishes originating from Spain, Malta and Croatia. The Blue-eyed tuna is from Hawaii, and the meat of the fish we experienced was super red, not showing a lot of fat. The Lobster hails from the North Atlantic coast, and the Kompachi is from Japan. No scrimping here.

Reflecting an “Eo Mae” style from Tokyo, none of the dishes we tasted were overly sauced like many restaurants we’ve experienced as of late. Even the rice served is freshly milled right at the restaurant, ensuring freshness and quality of taste.

The standout were so many but don’t miss the Lamb Chops with some caramelized onions at $22, which Scott particularly enjoyed.
Michael loved the Kobe Beef (American, but tasted close to Japanese) at $39 in a red wine reduction sauce. The Crispy Spicy Tuna Roll gives Katsu ya and every other sushi restaurant in town a run for their money at $18, it was fresh and delicately prepared. The daily fish inspiration, sea bass, was indeed inspired in its ultimate freshness and its light flavor ($24).
We weren’t crazy about the chocolate dessert we tasted, but the plate of five Crème Brulees in sake cups
more than made up for it. Each one had its own unique flavors, ranging from vanilla to peanut butter, and it was out of this world. Hard to believe we had room after the eat-a-thon to devour desert, but it was well worth the calories and the price at $8. We’re anxious to go back and try their warm Banana Split ($23).

For something unique and European, as well as Eastern, this is the place. Come for the food, take in the fabulous décor, drool over the people and spend the night wandering the building—downstairs to the Kress basement nightclub, upstairs to the happening rooftop bar that’s bubbling with energy and raging hormones. Just don’t valet park your car, or it could set you back $20 bucks. Never mind, we parked on the street.

Posted by The Dining Duo | 7:31 PM | , , , , , | 0 comments »

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