Paley gets the Jonathan Gold treatment this week in the Los Angeles Times, with a more or less positive take on the new ode to glorious mid-century modern design. And of course, Gold starts off with a few massive paragraphs on the experience, starting with the parking situation, all the way to the room:
The restaurant is fairly majestic in scale - high ceilings, lots of glass - with the finishes and elegant curves borrowed from the Hollywood Moderne style, but modernist glass light fixtures and a vibe that is more 1963
The Times critic jumps right into the snackier bites from chef Greg Bernhardt's globally inspired menu:
And in certain ways, Paley is perfect for those occasions when you find yourself having a meal without really having a meal, nibbling on paleo-friendly snacks of charred carrots or coal-singed Wagyu beef with your glass of Grenache; picking at a mound of steak tartare dyed scarlet with the Korean chile paste gochujang; or pushing slivers of slightly overcooked amberjack around your plate because they're not quite up to the version at Animal
While Bernhardt has a way with cooking with live fire, something hits Gold immediately after tasting some of those dishes:
Bernhardt is good with fire - half the menu is wood-roasted, coal-roasted, or smoked, including a really nice dish of grilled asparagus striped with creamy chopped hardboiled egg. But something about Paley doesn't lend itself to the idea of fine dining - the ingredients may be well-chosen and carefully cooked, but the basic unit of consumption here seems to be a bite or two - Bernhardt's cooking is designed to be amusing, not profound.
And these two lines tend to best sum up Gold's feeling with a lot of the dishes:
Roast chicken with escarole was fine - who's going to ruin roast chicken? - but dull. The conceit behind "martini mussels'' flavored with gin, vermouth and pickled onions is clever, but begins to feel tired after a mussel or two.
Gold walks away suggesting diners come for the Pimm's Cup and a bite of braised bacon on the patio.