Four Seasons Hotel

300 S. Doheny Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90048

310. 273-2222

“Cool – ina” is more like it! Everyone in Beverly Hills gets a little nip and tuck at one point in their lives, and this time the Four Seasons on Doheny went in for the whole face-lift.

With over thirty three million dollars in renovations and over five million just on the dining room, there’s a lot to review. The Dining Duo is going to concentrate on the restaurant in this piece, with a review of the entire premises coming sometime this summer.
Scott’s mom just loved the old dining room at the Four Seasons. So did some of the other older women we knew. Perhaps that’s why it wasn’t frequented by too many others, with the exception of Larry Flynt (making an odd combo: Larry and old ladies in the same room). That’s yesterday’s news, because in its stead is a dazzling incarnation that is part New York City chic and part L.A. hip nouveau. From the moment you walk through the doors, you know you’ve arrived somewhere special.
The restaurant is now a series of open rooms, one tumbling into another, eliminating the previously claustrophobic feel, and replacing it with myriad choices to dine, each with a different flavor. The bar is a completely happening scene, and with glowing white glass set against sparkling white carerra marble, the jam of people is offset by clean lines and the immediate need for carousing. The sleek Grappa Room is semi-private, and the perfect place to see, and be seen.

We prefer the area of the dining room that is directly under a mesmerizing chandelier of hundreds—maybe thousands—(actually three thousand) Czech crystal, hanging balls, try counting them and by the way, they took four days to install.
Surrounded by windows looking out to a fabulous patio scene (we can’t wait for warmer weather, but even then there are equally fabulous Italian crafted heaters with flames surrounded by glass),

back inside, the zigzag patterned wood floors offset the olive fabrics and tan leather booths. The booths are square and comfy, and all the tables are placed far enough apart that you can enjoy your dinner without also enjoying the conversation next to you.
We have always been great fans of Executive Chef Ashley James, and now Culina has married his talents with those of Chef de Cuisine Victor Casanova (who had previously worked at Il Terrazzo at the Phoenician in Scottsdale, Nero’s in Caesars Palace and Buca Giovanni in San Francisco.). Together, the menu has a hint of amore that makes the food so remarkable. The sommelier tells us that they have over 200 wines by the carafe, which is really exceptional for any restaurant. We start with his recommendation of a 2006 Luigi Righetti for $30 a carafe (or $60 a bottle), a Capitel De Roari Amarone that proves to be not syrupy like most Amarones, but instead maintains a structure and elegance that makes our start to the evening superb.

There are several items on the menu, which are a must. Check out the Crudo Bar, as you walk in and if you want a casual snack, sit there with a glass of wine and order away; try the Tonno at $10, some of the freshest ahi we’ve tasted anywhere. Back at our table, we started with the Panzanella, prepared tableside, loaded with heirloom tomatoes, watermelon and cucumber and ricotta.
The Dining Duo is trying to eat healthier (good luck, right?) these days and this ($28) is a great way to start, fresh and delicious. On the less healthy side, we loved the Arancini di Riso, which are risotto balls (and the Dining Duo does love their balls) with a truffle aioli dipping sauce ($12). They disappeared (in our mouths) before we could blink an eye.
As far as pastas go, we found the Papardelle braised with lamb ragu to be exceptional with a mélange of flavors and not to be missed (priced at $23).
If you have a big appetite, don’t overlook the Bistecca alla Fiorentina (per due, two) but Michael ate it all by himself when the dish arrived at the perfect medium rare that he had requested. The server carved it tableside. The best part is that all their beef is grass fed and organic, the steak comes with fries but we opted for fresh broccolini, which were plentiful enough to share with our whole table. The Bronzino was mouthwatering and delicate, and an absolute hit with both Scott and Michael.  Yum.

Don’t leave without trying something sweet. We loved both Culina’s Tiramisu with coconut snow or their incredible Torta Al Gianduja (Chocolate hazelnut cake with blood orange), moist, rich and scrumptious (both $8). But the real winner was the Affogato, a devilish blend of vanilla bean gelato, espresso (you can get it decaffeinated, but what fun is that?) and pignoli cookies. Yowza!

It’s hard to believe that the change that has occurred here has been so dramatic, but clearly the Cohen’s know how to adapt, and in doing so they’ve delivered to us what L.A. wants: elegance, comfort, great food creations and all at a very fair price for what you get. We can’t wait to come back, especially since it’s so central to everything, and well, because there are also a lot of hot looking guys and gals to gaze upon while we dine.

Culina's Panzanella Recipe

Recipe courtesy of Chef Victor Casanova just for The Dining Duo:

rustic country loaf, exterior removed then cut into1/2 inch dice

3 heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice

2 C fresh ripe watermelon, cut into 1/2 inch dice

1/2 red onion, julienne

1/2 bunch basil, torn into 1/2 inch pieces

1/2 english cucumber, cut into1/2 inch half-moons

4 oz. ricotta salata, coarsley grated

4 vine-ripened tomatoes, passed thru a food mill

4 oz. DaVero Champagne Vinegar

3 oz. DaVero Extra Virgin Olive Oil "Dry Creek Estate"

S&P, to taste

1. Toast bread in pre-heated oven at 375 degrees until well colored but not brown.

2. Reserve bread.

3. Take the 4 vine-ripened tomatoes and pass thru a food mill then combine in mixing bowl with vinegar and Oil.

4. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

5. Reserve vinaigrette.

6. In a large salad bowl combine all ingredients and toss well.

7. Season to taste.

8. Divide into 4 small salad bowls.

ENJOY, and see you there...we can't wait to go back!
The Dining Duo

Posted by The Dining Duo | 4:46 PM | , , , , , , | 0 comments »

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