1) Hollywod: Two shining stars for Cleo at the Redbury Hotel this week. Unlike some of the other Hollywood hot spots, and even sbe haunts, "Cleo is something different, a contemporary Middle Eastern restaurant with exciting and accessible food and prices that for the most part won't set you back a month's rent for one meal...Cleo...is perhaps closer to SBE corporate executive chef Daniel Elmaleh's heart. He grew up partly in Israel, and his food here is vibrant and respectful of tradition." SIV describes the menu as "sprawling" with "dozens and dozens of dishes [that] can be confusing to someone unfamiliar with Middle Eastern cuisine. Waiters, fortunately, are adept at guiding guests through the myriad choices...Start with a few dips...Garnished flatbreads are delicious..." With entrees hovering around $15 and bottles of wine under $50, it's easy to have a relatively inexpensive meal. Unfortunately, "desserts seem almost an afterthought" and the noise factor is out of control: "...on a weekday night, I might add, the noise level was so high I could carry on a conversation only with the person next to me, not across the table." However, "all in all...Cleo adds something new and exciting to the Hollywood scene. More than just another pretty face, Cleo has both style and substance, with a cuisine that's grounded in an authentic tradition." [LAT]
2) Downtown: Today The Goldster takes his turn at Wolfgang Puck's WP24 located atop the new Ritz-Carlton. Right off the bat he describes the Chinese restaurant as "breathtakingly expensive." And while "the Los Angeles area is known for its Chinese restaurants...Chinese L.A. had lacked, even in the boom years before the money started to flow back toward the motherland, was special-occasion dining rooms" and WP24 certainly fills this void. Or does it? "This is a superluxury Chinese restaurant without the superluxury Chinese foods: no sea cucumber or bird's nest, no bamboo fungus or conpoy, no abalone, geoduck or (thankfully) shark's fin...And while WP24 seems conceived as a Chinese restaurant, as opposed to the Chinois fantasia on Chinese themes, the farther the cooking strays from the Chinese ideal, the better it seems to be." [LAW]
The Elsewhere: Quarry Girl loves vegan sliders at Tony's Darts Away, Deep End Dining picks Hop Woo BBQ, Eating LA tries out the new outpost of Food + Lab, kevinEats also hits Cleo, and Eat:LA talks Kogi.