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Week in Reviews: Revisiting the Polo Lounge, Lingering on The Terrace, Dim Sum at The Kitchen and MORE

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.

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.

One-and-a-half stars for the Polo Lounge, not bad considering its age. Today the "S." stands for "sedate."

ELSEWHERE: 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.