Hidden Gems: From a Food Network Star in Beverly Hills to an Eastside bungalow and a classic downtown hotel.
Food Network Chef and super-star Curtis Stone is the Aussie that everyone loves. Good looking, funny and charming Stone just might be written off as another pretty face on TV –that is if you haven’t been to his postage-stamp-size restaurant Maude in Beverly Hills.
With only 25 seats available for a nightly 9-course tasting menu, you must like the rotating monthly ingredient of choice before committing to a reservation. On our visit artichoke was the chosen one – even for the tiny ‘snacks’ courses of crab, blini and croquette which only made us want more and more. What followed was barigoule stew with black radish; an excellent duck consommé and scallop crudo with caviar. The Pork rillettes with picked beets should be kept on the menu no matter the ingredient, but the show stopper was probably the ‘bacon & eggs’ with duck egg, artichoke ricotta and everything bagel crumb. The finale courses included a smoked focaccia and a chocolate semifreddo with roasted artichoke ice-cream. Not just another pretty face indeed.
Closing in on close to a year in business, your might just past this charming craftsman style bungalow when whizzing down Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock. Make sure to stop in and sit on the leafy back patio, romantic main dining room in a cozy booth or on the front porch if it’s a balmy summer evening. Start with a few small plates conceived by Chef Sean Lowenthal (Chateau Marmont) like the addictive chipotle hummus with smoked paprika pita crisps; burrata and prosciutto wrapped in broccolini which could be a salad; or the pomodoro braised lamb meatballs with feta on a charred baguette. Try to save room for the signature English pea risotto which offers tangy Meyer lemon and mint with a pop of whole peas and Parmesan which is soft and crunchy in one bite. Salmon, scallops and steak also make up the entrees and there is a great wine list by the glass to accompany spanning Spain to France and Italy with albarino, viognier and Prosecco.
Noe at the Omni Hotel
Downtown is loaded with new restaurants and hotels but next time you’re in the area for a concert, game or club, try an old standard offering a fun new nightly pairing in the lounge. We’ve been a long-time fan of the wines of Washington State and we are now a fan of the cheeses from the region as well, not to mention a former Napa Valley Chef who puts bacon as an accoutrement on a plate of fromage. The Charles Smith Wines Riesling, ‘Kung Fu Girl’ from the Columbia Valley, goes exceptionally well with the buttery Beechers ‘flag sheep’ reserve that has been dipped in red wine and blackberry honey, as does their ‘Velvet Devil’ merlot. Chef John-Paul Kuhn also did a stint at Morimoto and you’ll be glad when he presents the toro sashimi plate followed by a Columbia Winery Chardonnay. If you happen to be traveling, the ‘Taste Washington’ pairings are available at other Omni locations until the end of May, 2014.