Monday, August 21, 2006

Rate-A-Restaurant, #111 in a series

Restaurant: West

Location: 170 N. Church Lane, Los Angeles, California 90049

Type of restaurant: Italian steakhouse

We stipulated: Along with a few other bloggers (including Josh at la.foodblogging, we were invited to try out West – the restaurant on top of the brand new Hotel Angeleno, once a Holiday Inn but now a chic boutique hotel right where the 405 and Sunset Blvd. meet. It’s a rare treat for Maria and me to actually head out for the evening without Evan, but a comped meal at a new hotspot was worth the babysitter.

They stipulated: With no real street parking in the vicinity, valet parking is pretty much your only option – and it’s not a flat fee, so be warned as you’re lingering that it might cost you.

What we ordered: Roasted Beets ($5), Tuna tonatto ($12), Lime-soaked sea scallops (with cilantro; $12); Maine Lobster Bolognese (tagliatelle and mascarpone; half dish, $15); Porcini Gnocchi (half dish, $13); Small T-bone steak ($36); side of spinach and whipped parmesan potatoes ($6 each); dessert: White chocolate soufflé ($12)

High point: Beyond just getting to do the meal itself? The restaurant’s views, which stretch from the ocean to Century City and beyond. West is on the 17th floor of the Hotel Angeleno, and puts its clear line of sight to good use. We scored a table by the window and arrived just in time for sunset. As for the food, we fell in love with short rib ravioli – which we hadn’t even ordered, but chef Josh Moulton had sent to our table (la.foodblogging’s Josh experienced the same thing during his dinner). Moulton clearly knows the dish is a winner. The tender meat balances nicely with the pasta.

Low point: I love lime, and I love scallops, but this dish was too fishy for my taste. The surprise appearance of the short rib ravioli also momentarily threw everyone off, as the waiter at first thought the kitchen had screwed up. We said it was fine – we didn’t need the gnocchi anyway, we had more than enough food. Still, the gnocchi came anyway, so what were we to do? Stuff our faces further.

Overall impression:West’s menu is made up of both small plates (think tapas) and large plates, as well as anti pasti and crudo. The steak was almost an afterthought by the time we got to it – I’d say either cut down on the small plates or stick to the small plates and forget about the steak. (Again, go with the short rib ravioli). The waiter made a point to highlight the steak, but it was a little tough and a tad disappointing. Menu’s definitely pricy, but if you handle it right, it shouldn’t cost much more than a usual night out. And the view is probably worth the few extra bucks.

Oh yeah, we chose wisely when it came to dessert: The white chocolate soufflé. Light, airy, sweet.

Chance we will go back: Perhaps for a special moment (Anniversary? Birthday?), but it’s not the place for a spur-of-the-moment dinner – nor is it baby-friendly.

(For a full roster of Franklin Avenue's restaurant reviews, check out our companion Rate-A-Restaurant site.)

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