Eat Like a King
First comes the concept, in this case a swank 1920s supper club realized by rearranging the bones of a hotel dining room that by all accounts actually did start life in the 1920s as a luxurious supper club, and then hiring a bona fide chef, here Eric Ernest, late of Citrine, to translate the concept into beefsteak and halibut, and thus Royale is born. There will be farmers’-market produce and exotic seasonings involved, say a splash of a reduction flavored to resemble the Punjabi lamb stew rogan josh around a mound of raw big-eye tuna with a handful of slivered beauty-heart radish tossed in to provide a bit of crunch. (There is a long list of crudo, Italian raw-fish preparations introduced to this country at Mario Batali’s New York restaurant Esca, among the appetizers.) Populist eclecticism is important, which is why Royale serves a massive pile of smoky spareribs as an appetizer, and so is antipopulist eclecticism, as in Royale’s sautéed foie gras with preserved blood-orange wedges and a Gagnaire-esque hit of licorice. The hamburger is a take on Daniel Boulud’s famous burger at DB in Manhattan, a juicy flavor bomb garnished with braised short ribs and truffled cheese. The scallops, perched on little mounds of mashed potatoes and sprinkled with frizzles of fried leek, are as totally ’80s as a Duran Duran cover. For dessert, there are chocolate platters and bowls of blue cotton candy that resemble the hairdo of The Simpsons’ Sideshow Mel. And as you might expect, the dining room is lubricated with all the laid-back house music you can stand. 2619 Wilshire Blvd., L.A., (213) 388-8488.
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