Prix fixe and tasting menus are becoming standard across town, and one of the most grandiose can be found in the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Jean-Georges Beverly Hills.
Jean-Georges Vongerichten, an award-winning French chef and restaurateur, has restaurants around the world, in London, Paris, New York, Chicago, Miami and Las Vegas — and now the latest in Beverly Hills. Vongerichten has three California-style concepts at the hotel, including the wraparound rooftop, the spacious bar and the open and airy lobby restaurant, which has elegant white leather furniture and plenty of booths and banquettes and is flooded with natural light. The three-star Michelin chef was instrumental in the design of all three spaces.
The tasting menu offers more than the usual three or four courses. Jean-Georges offers five courses, plus dessert, plus amuse bouche, and comes in at $145 per person. The gracious army of support and wait staff circulate throughout the dining room in coordinated rhythm without missing a beat.
First up, a delicate watermelon and tomato gazpacho amuse bouche followed by Vongerichten’s signature toasted Napoleon of deep orange egg yolk with caviar and herbs. Then comes the perfect followup, a pairing of green asparagus with fresh morels in asparagus juice. The tuna tartare tower is presented with crushed avocado and radish, as your server dramatically pours the ginger dressing over the dish at the table.
Main-course offerings include seared black cod with broccoli di ceccio and spicy herbal broth, served in the same splashy fashion as the tuna. The roasted rack of lamb with crackling ribs that slide off the bone like a carnivorous Popsicle is divine and cooked to requested doneness, served with a sweet smoked chili glaze and broccoli.
The grand finale is what Vongerichten claims as his own brainchild and takes credit for popularizing in the United States: molten chocolate cake.
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With wine from the internationally curated list, such as the delectable Austrian Gr¨ner Veltliner or a Heitz Cellars cabernet and a Stoli-Elit martini with blue cheese–stuffed olives, you’re looking at a significant financial commitment, but the experience is well worth it for a special occasion. And if you're not in the mood for the tasting menu, there's plenty to choose from à la carte on the regular menu, including the tasting items.
Jean-Georges Beverly Hills, 9850 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; (310) 860-6566, jean-georges.com/restaurants/united-states/los-angeles/jean-georges-beverly-hills