Saturday


GOOD NEWS!
£10 at the Montage  - We scored entrance to this private phone numbered club
Open Tuesday – Saturday: 5 PM – 1 AM
225 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

It’s true, the Dining Duo does love all things Montage; so we’re biased when they invent something new for its visitors (just opened June 25, 2011), but even with our bias, we were all about £10.  

 
The name comes from the Scottish Ten Pound note, which features a rendering of the Macallan (started in 1824) distillery’s beautiful copper stills.  Nestled inside the Montage Beverly Hills Hotel, this intimate venue that seats only 35 guests caters to Scotch lovers and VIP clientele (but really, it’s much more than a “bar”) is tucked away in a private setting within the elegant confines of Scarpetta restaurant. 
Comprised of beautiful wood paneling, warm club style décor, and accented by Lalique everything (including service glasses that are about $500 bucks each, so don’t drop them, PLEASE), this is an exclusive and refined setting with an exquisite outdoor balcony overlooking the beautiful Beverly Canon Gardens, with a New York-style feel of lit high rises in the background.
£10 features The Macallan Bar specializing in the world-renowned Single Malt whisky of The Macallan, including the opportunity to support a charity by purchasing a $64,000 shot, only 2 remaining in the entire world. There are classically prepared cocktails created by the cute and personable Nick which features only the world’s finest spirits and ingredients (accompanied by dedicated “Bar Butlers”), delivering vigilant and defined service. 
We loved the champagne cocktail (they only use Krug Champagne, some of the world’s best), a smashing combination of fresh vanilla, spices and bitters that resulted in a gulpable aperitif.  The cocktails are served over an ice ball made exclusively from Scottish water and are stirred with sticks whittled from casks which for years aged the scotch. 
We also tried the Krug Clos Du Mesnil at only $595 per glass (unless you want to save money, in which case you can get the whole bottle for just $2,898 a bottle); you only live once, right?  It’s not all about expensive, however, and you can have reasonably priced boissons, as well as an offering of delectable premium snacks and hors d’oeuvres. 
 
Of them all, we flipped over the foie gras, which was smooth as silk and accented by crunchy almond  and parmesan.   Chef Gabriel Ask of the Montage, and Chef Scott Conant of Scarpetta (and new TV star, featured last week in Entourage) have designed the appetizers to compliment the setting and the drinks.  


Mark, the ubiquitous sommelier, is always available to suggest a perfect wine if Scotch is not your thing.

We sipped on fabulous red wine while we indulged in 3 types of cheeses selected just for the occasion.
We dined in the exquisite wood paneled "club room" because we liked sitting at the tables, but the outside patio was really enchanting, with sofas and candles and the feeling of being swept away to a place and time far, far away.
£10 is not a private/members only club, but you have to know someone to refer you to their very private number to get reservations; the doors are otherwise locked from inquisitive hotel guests.  Guess what readers, you know us, and here’s the number: 310. 860-5808.  Tell them that The Dining Duo sent you, and enjoy.

 ********************************
BAD AND SAD NEWS IN WEHO!

EVA

7458 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
So we went back for our third time (the time we would normally write a review) and unfortunately, Eva proved to be a big disappointment.  The first time was not a good experience, mostly due to inadequate, if not absent service, and slow and inconsistent delivery of food.  That said, the second time we were so impressed with the food and the service that we decided to keep an open mind. Of course, that time there were about only 4 tables busy in the restaurant.  The third time was unfortunate; the food was mostly very good but the big word here is inconsistency.  1 out of 3; not good odds.

Here's how it started on our last night: we sat down, and it took nearly 20 minutes to get a waiter to the table for a drink order.  He did come with an apology, "the people at the table next to you had a car accident, or their daughter did, I'm the guy kind of guy who gets involved in those sort of things".  Really? Unless the daughter had an accident running into a table, is this really an adequate—or even appropriate excuse from a waiter with a full house?

It took us 45 minutes, several rolling of the eyes, and a few grumpy complaints to get any food on our table. It took us 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete our meal from 8: 30-11:15, and not because it was a dining experience, but because the kitchen was backed up; or on vacation.  We are still unsure of the reason.  Unacceptable, although, we met the nicest couple, Scott and Nancy who were seated next to us and we had a chance to share our passions of travel and food, so we have new friends out of the experience.

The Dining Duo Scott stressed to the waiter that he did not want any salt added to the dishes (the last experience proved to be a heavy hand on the salt).  When the first fish dish came to the table so salty it burned his tongue, he ate it because he wasn’t sure if the famine would bring him anything else that night.  He did tell the waiter and asked him to ensure that any future dishes remain unsalted.  The next one that appeared was the duck, and it was so salty we couldn’t eat it at all.  The woman at the table behind us also sent her duck back for the exact same reason, and the two shared a communal moment of saltaphobia.  Chef/Owner Mark Gold heard both complaints (as he sat socializing at a table while the kitchen backed up and the food was destroyed) and threw his sous chef under the bus by blaming him for the heavy salt.  He didn’t offer to replace it, or find another dish and so Scott was done with the food at that point. 

When we were leaving Chef Gold, who is a superb chef and really knows his food when he stays in the kitchen, asked us sheepishly,  "will you come back”?  He might have had a chance of that if he had apologized for the blatantly bad experience, and offered to buy the dinner or something in the future to show us the night was an anomaly.  It didn’t happen, and it wasn’t an anomaly.

It’s sad, because experience #2 showed us he was a talented chef, but he’s too concerned with being all over the room; Mark should have stayed in the kitchen, commanded the troops, taken responsibility for the product and quite possibly there would be more consistency. We do recommend the restaurant if you go during the week when there are only a few tables and when you have plenty of time on your hands.  Say hi to Mark and ask him to stay in the kitchen...PLEASE!





Appetizingly Yours,


Michael and Scott
The Dining Duo

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