Though the Soho House Group's newest restaurant is not officially allowing press in for reviews, we managed to do some reconnoitering during a civilian-style lunch.


Cecconi's

  • Address: 8764 Melrose Ave
  • Cross Street: Main St.
  • Neighborhood: West Hollywood
  • Info: (310) 432-2000
  • Hours: Mon.- Wed., 7AM-midnight; Thurs.-Sat., 7AM-1AM; Sun., 8AM-11PM
  • Website: www.cecconiswesthollywood.com
  • Type: Italian, Bar
  • The restaurant, formerly Morton's, is finally making use of that large outdoor patio in front, with a brasserie-style seating layout spiced up by a few huge booths for minor celebrities to hold court. Inside, the restaurant has the grandeur of a 1930's London supper club, with turquoise leather banquettes, gorgeous marble floors, and a giant marble bar accented with built-in, banker-style lamps and a view of the bar kitchen and wine cellar.


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    The menu was still coming online during our visit, but we still snagged a few of the cicchetti (Venetian-style small bites). The veal meatballs in marinara were seasoned just right, but the spicy salami and tomato roll pizzetta tasted, as my dining companion said, "like Tortoni pizza rolls." Next time we'll go for the burrata and artichoke crostini.


    For the main course, the chicken paillard served over the chopped salad was underwhelmingly dry and bland, even with a spritz of fresh lemon juice. The daily special pasta, which was ravioli with veal and artichoke was very tasty, and as part of the $15 Prezzo Fisso 2-course lunch menu (it comes with either soup or salad), is a great lunch deal.


    Much of the staff seemed to be temporarily imported from some of the SHG's British properties, which is OK by us since we love those accents, but we have heard about some spotty service from more than one person. Though we can't vouch for that since our experience was nothing but pleasant.


    The restaurant is clearly still experiencing some growing pains, and hopefully will winnow down the menu to showcase a few more strengths. In the meantime, we can't wait to go back and see what's in store for dinner.