225 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310. 860-7800

Elegance, Grace and Style

Walk the halls of the new Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, and you’ll think it’s been there since someone planted the palm trees on Beverly Drive. Climb the stairs to what The Dining Duo believes to be L.A.’s only 4 star, white glove restaurant, and you’ll find an evening of incomparable proportions. This is not your typical hotel restaurant.

Upstairs from the lively lounge, this private and clubby room is complete with ornate low-coffered wood ceilings, rich dark mahogany wood paneling, and picturesque bottles of wine. A few tasteful oil paintings offset the crisp linen clothed tables, each set with a solitary red rose for a dash of vibrant color. With no more than 44 seats, Muse is intimate and personal; a quiet haven in busy Beverly Hills where one can enjoy elegant food and impeccable, unpretentious, friendly, flawless service.

The best bet here is to ask John Cuevas, the well-seasoned chef (formerly of the fabulous Loft and Studio Restaurant, at the Montage Laguna Beach), to create a multi-course meal for you and be surprised by his creativity and arrangements. Multiple runners deliver each course to your table at exactly the same moment so no one at the table ever waits a single second to be served. The handsome sommelier Mark Hefter, is beyond knowledgeable for his 31 years, about food, wine and all things having to do with dining (he cut his teeth at Le Cirque, amongst other top notchers). So ask him to pair tasty wine selections with your courses. One of our favorites, the Catena Malbec is THE Argentinean wine that is full bodied with a hint of spice to match the dish with which it was served ($42 bottle). We loved it so much we thought about pairing it with the entire meal.

You’ll start with a selection of several piping hot breads, including the winner of the triad and our favorite, the miche bread with caramelized onions and pecorino cheese; but be careful, there is a lot to eat here, so don’t fill up on bread. We loved the Ahi tuna tartar, which particularly pleased our palettes ($22). It was served in a “banana boat” on the end of chopsticks for easy access to our mouths and proved to be a tremendous burst of flavor. For a twist on Foie Gras, Chef’s take is never sweet, and there is no rich extracted sauce. It was a particularly scrumptious, creamy dish that was served with an unusual presentation of dipping sauce. Mark paired this savory dish with The Dolce sauterne-style wine from Napa ($35 per glass); the combo drove us wild for more.

Of particular notice, the lamb ($40) is simply superb and proved to be the best dish on the menu; if not perhaps the best lamb preparation we’ve ever experienced.
It is served medium rare with a topping of feta. The highest quality of the meat melted in our mouths. This is the stand up dish on the menu and after several visits, consistently proves to enliven our taste buds. So did Luke, the big, handsome, hunky Manager who makes eating the tablecloth seem worthwhile.

Even the purses are treated well here. The thoughtful hostess provided a small bench for our mother’s purse, so she didn’t have to put it on what one might think is “the dirty floor” (although, I can assure this place is so neat and clean, we probably could have eaten off the carpet). Nice, elegant touch. Equally elegant is not to be “nickel an dimed” by silly charges for water; either flat or sparkling water is served at no charge, and the sparkling water is interestingly called Antipodes. Not to be overlooked, Pastry Chef, Maren Henderson (formerly of Charlie Palmer and Montage) always delivers dessert creations that make us scrape the bottom of the plate.

For urban folks on the run and into a “scene”, the pacing of the meal may at first seem slow, however, for folks like the Dining Duo and Scott’s mom, they adored it and call it “Dining”. Bravo!  A sad post script: The day we published our piece on Muse at the Montge, they closed their doors as a restaurant. They will still service private parties, but sadly the economy has taken it's toll on such a fine and elegant venue.

We've been told that Parq downstairs now has the same wonderful Chef and fine food, but we'll have to check it out and report to you if this is indeed the case.

--The Dining Duo

Posted by The Dining Duo | 8:37 PM | , , , , , | 0 comments »

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