No two seats seem the same in this spacious lounge which, though only open a month, has already become a hotspot in the shadow of the Beverly Center.
That's thanks to Philippe Starck's whimsical and sometimes extreme design vision, which mixes and matches styles, periods and palettes to dramatic effect. We tried a few noshes from famed chef Jose Andres's tapas menu.
Though reminiscent of a typical Spanish taverna menu, Andres's dishes are all 21st century, like the squid with homemade alioli, the chicken croquetas with béchamel, and the mozzarella-tomato pipettes with micro basil.
There are also more traditional picks like the mixed charcuterie plate, which has a delicious assortment of cured meats and sausages doused in a sprinkle of olive oil and accompanied by rustic bread topped with tomatoes and garlic; or the selection of Spanish sheep cheeses served with toast points, quince jam and almonds.
The salty wrinkled potatoes (their wording, not ours) with mojo verde sauce looked like frosted donut holes with enough finely ground salt to keep your face puckered all night.
Raw foodies can choose from a selection of caviars and sashimi species. There are also a few “cart food” specials prepared at a couple of food service carts adjacent to the bar. This isn't hotdog on a stick though.
They were serving up foie gras in a cotton candy casing, and caviar with crème fraiche in a crepe the night we were there.
The beverage menu list is extensive and international, and the mark-up, though high, is not offensive…at least to our expectations. Be sure to try one of the new classic cocktails like the “Liquid Cherry” Manhattan with bourbon and a cherry “spherification,” or the “Magic” Mojito served in a shaker and strained over cotton candy. The “New Way” Martini comes with an olive spherification and olive brine air.
Perhaps the emperor has a new drink to go with his new clothes, but at $14 each, they're fun to try.
The food is only half the fun here, though, when the people-watching is this good. Look out for a few celebrities and their agents, as well as agents' assistants hoping to make it big someday. On your way out, be sure to stop at the charming pink-tiled patisserie for an after-dinner treat, and browse the boutique for expensive eccentricities like a to-scale model of the Titanic.