Delicious food and wine on a balmy LA in a gorgeous al fresco setting
by Patti Covello Pietschmann with photos by Richard J. Pietschmann
We went to Esterel at the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills last night purposely to sample the chef’s dineLARestaurant Week menu which sounded amazing--a three course meal for just $39 a person.
|The chef's herb garden on the dining patio|
(dineLARestaurant Week is a seasonal foodie fest held throughout the area where top chefs create specially-priced menus. The summer session started July 18 and lasts until July 31). Not only did the food (and outdoor patio setting) impress, but the restaurant blew us away. We hadn’t been back to Esterel is awhile and were stunned by the transformation from what was getting to be an outdated 90s décor into a hip, comfortable, chic setting with banquettes and stylish designs. There is still the open kitchen where you can watch the talented chefs do their thing but otherwise the place is completely reimagined with the help of the Xperiment USA hospitality team, and now sports two inviting new spaces: Le Jardin –the patio on which we dined, and the Aviary which was packed with people enjoying cocktails and a few strays from an event that was happening at the bar.
We sat in very comfortable oversized chairs on the al fresco patio where we got a bird’s eye view of all the hipsters arriving in groups of four or more and some couples who eventually filled every table. The mood was lively with lots of drinking of signature cocktails, beer and wine and some serious eating I noticed. People were eagerly digging the food as were we.
As I said we did the dineLARestaurant Week three-course menu. I started with a glass of French rose which was a generous pour and Richard ordered his dry martini which he rated 10. After some relaxed conversation catching up on our dy we ordered. I opted for the cauliflower steak
|Very addictive flat bread|
which was delicious and perfectly seasoned with onion ash oil and Calabrian chili vinaigrette. Rich went for the crispy duck confit that came with bitter greens and braised fennel sprinkled with a pickled cherry vinaigrette—he loved it.
For our main course I went with the Steelhead salmon which was perfectly cooked with smashed fingerling potatoes, snap peas accompanied by crème fraiche and a dill pistou. Really yummy. Richard enjoyed his braised lamb shank which was one of the reasons we picked this special menu.
He said it was as good as it gets.
I ran out of room for dessert but ordered the New York cheesecake to go, and will sample it tonight. It looks luscious with the brightly colored fresh berry sauce and graham crust. Rich ate the mixed berry tart with Chantilly cream and of course fresh berries. He ate the whole thing.
Our waiter, whom we’d encountered on other occasions was on his game as always as were the bus boys who kept us hydrated by refilling our water glasses.
This dineLA menu ends July 31 but Estérel has a full menu of reasonably-priced Mediterranean-flavored dishes designed to capture the unique flavors of the southeast France region. The restaurant’s name is inspired by the fact that the coastal region of Var and Alpes-Maritimes in Provence, Estérel, shares a similar landscape and terrain with the beautiful Southern California coast. Chef Victor Boroda masterfully blends French and California cuisines with his own unique twist.
Esterel is located at Sofitel LA at Beverly Hills, 8555 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, (310) 358-3979. For reservations go to opentable.com; to check out the menu click here. It is hard to find street parking so plan on using the valet service which costs $8 with validation. FYI: dress is casual LA hip/chic. We even saw a few women in shorts who thankfully looked good in them.