After numerous reader inquiries, we finally popped over to check out the status of the forthcoming Luau on Bedford Drive and noted lots of progress. Although this is Andy Hewitt's (concert promoter and owner of Il Sole) contemporary take on the classic Beverly Hills restaurant that was celeb-spotting haven on Rodeo Drive in the 50s and 60s (it closed in 1978), Luau won't be some kitschy ode to tiki. The colors of the former Colors on Bedford have been covered with an earthy brown, thatched awnings and bamboo lined patio (that one "local" found to be the perfect cover for an afternoon nap), and although the windows are completely papered over, we understand the inside is coming along nicely.
In the September issue of Vanity Fair, designer Loree Rodkin said she and Hewitt wanted to create a "Zen-like retreat," which translates to Balinese-inspired decor (wood, stone, water elements, Buddha relics, Turkish lanterns). Chef Makoto Tanaka (current chef/owner of Mako, opening chef of Chinois on Main) plans a Pacific Rim menu, things like macadamia-crusted lamb, braised pork spring rolls, and a pupu platter with Wagyu meatballs and firecracker shrimp among others. This might be the only real throwback to the original: Renown tikiologist Jeff Berry recovered many of Luau's original cocktail recipes (he literally cracked the code) and plans to serve some of the rum-centric signature drinks in hollowed out coconut and pineapple shells. The magazine says the restaurant will open in September, it's looking more like October.
· Plywood: Luau in Beverly Hills [~ELA~]