Polo Lounge from Alan Light, Flickr
S. Irene Virbila revisits the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel this week, where even the 100-plus-year-old pepper tree in the garden has fake leaves. This is Beverly Hills, after all. What the Polo Lounge has going for it: Some updated dishes on the menu, a few mainstays, the setting. What doesn't work: The hostess, who lost the critic's dinner reservation, a sure sign that at least one star will come off even if the food is fantastic (it wasn't). But after a dinner with old standards tinkling from the piano, the professional white-jacketed servers, and a leisurely lunch in the leafy garden patio, even Miss Irene cares less about the food than the perfectly LA scene:
As our main courses arrive, a motley crew parades through — cowboys, honeymooners, bon vivants, hotel guests, party animals. It's all very entertaining — and we're soon looking for some distraction, because the mains are mostly disappointing.One-and-a-half stars for the Polo Lounge, not bad considering its age. Today the "S." stands for "sedate."
Midday at the Polo Lounge is quite a different scene, with more industry people doing lunch. The light is beautiful: dappled on waiters' white jackets, on the shoulders of women in strapless dresses, on the hats worn by ladies of a certain age... somehow the shortcomings don't matter much. The waiter is so congenial, the afternoon so glorious. We're having such a fine, relaxed time, we vow to go out to lunch more often.
ELSEWHERE: LA.com lets time slip by at The Terrace at the Sunset Tower Hotel; Taste-Buzz isn't so impressed with Suki 7 in Westlake Village; a lovely night at Cal-Tech's private Athenaeum Buffet; taste-testing pizza at Vito's and Damiano's Mr. Pizza; and finding overrated dum sum at The Kitchen.