Wolfgang Puck at Bel Air hotel
I have eaten at this perhaps most elegant Californian restaurant in LA on countless occasions and although the locally sourced meal can be excellent there, I have noticed slight inconsistencies. It shows the Hollywood glamour to dine at Wolfgang Puck.
Still the gourmet Californian cuisine with European influence of Wolfgang Puck at the Bel Air hotel is better than recently his coveted Spago. Once the chicken is great, other time boring. The most popular dish on the menu – the Dover sole – can be overcooked. The sauce and everything on the fish (sugar snap peas, asparagus, chive) has always bean perfectly executed.
The bread has always been fresh and crisp. The olive ‘tree’-shaped bread put in the middle of the table is my favorite and the most interesting feature on the table. Also the fruit and nut bread served with cheese is wholesomely good.
From the starters the Baby beets and roasted celery root are as if eating from a late fall garden with goats hopping around, their fresh milk yielding the creamy cheese. The Spring salad with almonds is much bigger than most of the appetisers, beware. The Fava bean bruschetta and Fairview organic’s farm baby gem lettuces was boring and overpriced.
The Pan roasted organic Jidori chicken is hearty, glazed with a rich sauce and the vegetables add flavour to the quite bland chicken. Both of my grandparents had chickens running freely around their gardens so the meat was always tender and full of flavour, and in France, where I live, chicken has an almost divine status, the Bresse Controlled Apellation of Origin leading the suite. There, the three-michelin-star chef Georges Blanc brings cooking of this bird to perfection. His mother-inspired recipe is a homage to chicken. Since my taste buds rely on such a privileged experience with chicken, I am a tough judge to please.
Perfected already at his famous restaurant Cut, the 35day dry aged prime sirloin steak is the highlight of the menu at Wolfgang Puck at Bel Air hotel. Juicy, tender with a smoked bone marrow sauce and served with roasted vegetables.
The un-ecological Blue Fin “Toro” tartare off the menu in more sustainably minded restaurants is also the star here. The fish is wrapped by a sheet of crisp cucumber, served with two spicy sauces and decorated with edible flowers, delicious.
From the desserts the fruity berry Soufle is worth the wait. As your spoon breaks through the crust and dives into a warm berry-infused cake the fragrance hits your nose big. Dipping the hot spoonful into the ice-cream balances the heat.
The wine-by-the-glass list is amazing. There are wines from everywhere. You won’t old rarities like at Spago, but one can find interesting and less-known wines from small producers. The sommelier advices and listens very well and does not push you.
The restaurant has three different parts. One of them indoors and two peaking into the hotel’s lush garden. The most comfortable and private are the booths at the back room. The Hollywood enjoys dining at one of the back tables overlooking the Swan Lake.
On Friday and Saturday from 3pm to 4pm you can come for the afternoon tea to this restaurant by Wolfgang Puck. A special treat to start the weekend.
Visits: March 2012 – 2016
Price: High – a combination of a famous chef and five-star hotel location adds zeroes to the bill
Bel Air Hotel, 701 Stone Canyon Rd, LA, CA 90077, US
+1 310 472 1211
Breakfast: 7-10:30am; Lunch: 11:30am-2pm; Brunch: Sun 11am-3pm; Dinner: Sun-Thu 6pm-10pm & Fri-Sat 5:30-10:30pm