Friday, January 30, 2009

A little bit of glitz - Gordon Ramsey at the London - West Hollywood

(The Artichoke Risotto)

For quite awhile, I've been intrigued by Gordon Ramsey. I'm not so much interested in his over the top, ever yelling persona featured on "Hell's Kitchen," but rather like the Gordon Ramsey that is on the BBC version of "Kitchen Nightmares." I love the type of food that he puts together on Kitchen Nightmares, encouraging more clean flavors that focus on the freshness of the ingredients.

Sooo, that's how I found myself at Gordon Ramsey at the London in West Hollywood. Alas, there are no Gordon Ramsey restaurants in DC and I'm actually rarely in New York. So when the opportunity arose to check out one of his places while in LA, I jumped on it.

I wasn't sure what to expect. Obviously it wouldn't be your typical hotel restaurant (the London is a boutique hotel in West Hollywood). All I could tell from the menu was that he mixed together some interesting ingredients, ones that I may not usually mix together myself.

We arrived to a beautifully stylish, modern hotel, decorated in some of my favorite colors (as my friends call it, "Jackie Blue," because I'm obsessed with that color). We were directed down a dimly lit hallway to the entrance of the restaurant.

The restaurant itself carried over a similar decor as the hotel. Not rough and tumbled as some may expect from seeing Gordon Ramsey on tv, but very polished, modern, yet with a few vintage touches. I quite liked the design of the place, and it reminded me a lot of designer Kelly Wearstler's projects. The restaurant was fairly empty (although we were a bit on the earlier side), except for a table of 5 guests chatting in Portuguese (who we were seated right next to), a few tables of two (sounds of Japanese and French floated around), and then us. We were seated in one of the "booths" in the center of the restaurant -- S-shaped booths where one party would fill half of the S and then another party would fill the other half of the S at another table. I warn that the restaurant's lighting is quite dim too -- the table next to us in fact requested flashlights and magnifying glasses (that was funny).

We decided to get the full on tasting menu. Everything on it sounded amazing, and even better, the restaurant really allows you to customize your entire meal. Don't like the third course on the tasting menu? No problem! Find a dish on the a la carte menu to substitute it with. Want to try some of Ramsey's famous risotto? Of course, add it to the menu, to share, or for one. Not interested in the tasting menu? Lots of a la carte options in all different sizes for the diner to create a selection to their liking.

Our tasting menu (from my recollection with some help from the website!) (plus artichoke risotto -- we couldn't resist, and my favorite part of the meal):
  • Steamed bamboo shoots and shiitake mushroom chawanmushi

  • Dressed King crab, avocado and cucumber, basil puree, paddle fish caviar

  • Pressed foie gras with fresh black truffle, braeburn apple, toasted biroche

  • Tiger prawn ravioli, creamy fennel puree, light lobster bisque

  • MAIN COURSE -- I substituted this with the pacific black cod with honshimeji mushrooms, leeks, and kalamansi lime broth (I love black cod)

  • A mini dessert that came in a shot glass, that I can't recall at the moment exactly what was in it.

  • Chocolate cream savarin with malted milk emusion and salted caramel ice cream

I loved the risotto (as aforementioned), the chawanmushi (kind of like a custardy consistency, below), and the chocolate savarin. The black cod was good, but lacked a bit of flavor.

Overall, I'm happy that we went for the tasting menu (a note to those who want to go there -- not everyone at the table has to order the tasting menu, once again in line with the limitless possibilities of customization). We got to taste such a variety of Ramsey's dishes in perfect tasting menu sized portions.

Would I go back here if I was in LA? Probably not. I enjoyed our meal there and am very happy that we went, but there are still so many restaurants to try, and such little time. So check one off the wish list.

Gordon Ramsey at the London - West Hollywood/1020 N. San Vicente Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069/ 310 358 7788

1 comment:

5 Star Foodie said...

Sounds like a great meal! There were rumors around last year that Maestro will invite Gordon Ramsey as their chef but they're still closed.