Beso, Alen Lin, 3/08
Quite frankly, we're a little surprised S. Irene Virbila had her sights on Beso for a full review. After the Critic's Notebook, which never has much criticism, we thought her interest would wane. She had to write something: This kind of splashy, trendy restaurant isn't really her style, nor her readers, but it's a Hollywood hot spot that made headlines as Eva Longoria Parker's with chef Todd English. Through all the hype and glamour, Miss Irene takes a full spin of the Med-Mex resto and finds herself not hating it...much:
I can say that Todd English really knows how to write a menu: Dishes sound intricate and interesting, but don't always live up to the description...Parker bills her restaurant as a supper club. It does have that look of New York's finest glimpsed in vintage photos: everyone dressed up, seated at little tables, sipping cocktails. Too bad the kitchen isn't performing up to the concept. But then the food at those supper clubs of yore probably wasn't so excellent either.You can tell she went in the beginning and waited a bit more: dishes changed, some transformed to be actually edible (paella), others not so much (tortilla soup). In some ways, Miss Irene buys into the hype by putting so much emphasis on Beso being Parker's idea, that she "was smart enough" to bring in English who, the critic notes, isn't always in-house. Is that how it went down?Beso gets one star for effort (that's a half star more than Paperfish). Today the "S." stands for "starstruck." [LAT]
ELSEWHERE: Jonathan Gold finds budae jjigae at the Koreatown restaurant Chunju Han-il Kwan; Montrose and Three Drunken Goats doesn't sate the hipsters; jazz and nibbles at Vinoteque in Culver City; hey, that Prana Café below Romanov (surprisingly still open) serves decent brunch; revisiting the Michelin-starred Asanebo in Studio City.