XIV: Royal Tease
In the Rococo period of the Sunset Strip, when half the Vo-Tech dropouts in the Midwest moved to Los Angeles with visions of becoming the next Faster Pussycat or Pretty Boy Floyd, the Coconut Teaszer was where dreams went to die, where fantasies of Pamela Anderson, MTV ubiquity and limitless cocaine washed up hard against the shoals of six-band sets, audiences of hostile drunks and a soundman who truly wished you were dead. The Whisky was soaked in the aura of Led Zeppelin, Van Halen and Guns N’ Roses. The biggest draw at the Teaszer was Rhino Bucket. So, if you have ever been there, drawn by the one good band it accidentally booked every couple of months, you will probably be amazed by the transformation of the smelly cavern into XIV, a swank Hollywood lounge, stuffed full of chandelier-intensive neo-Louis by Phillipe Starck — the Eurotrash Richard Meier — and gilded into a fun house version of a gentleman’s club. The chef of record is the Vegas-chic Michael Mina, who never met a rich man he didn’t want to stuff with foie gras; the waiters are trained to present his food — pumpkin dumplings, short ribs formed into perfect cubes, bitter chocolate cream with mozzarella sorbet — with the flat affect an announcer might use to describe each new frock at a fashion show. The restaurant’s conceit is that each small plate is presented to everybody at the table simultaneously, at the cost of eight bucks per — an approach directed against the sin of plate-sharing as surely as the LAPD’s zero-tolerance attitude toward graffiti is meant to stifle gangs, so that after a few minutes, the vanishingly thin habitués will have picked at a raw-tuna salad dressed with sesame oil like a Korean yuk hwe; maple-cured kanpachi with apple; scallop tempura with cauliflower; and cold lobster with chestnuts, instead of the mere one or two things they might have pushed around their plates at Bar Marmont or Koi. (The waiters suggest eight or more dishes per person, but then waiters usually do.) 8117 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 656-1414, www.xivla.com.
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