George Abou-Daoud, the de facto mayor of Sunset in Hollywood, has added another venue to his lineup. GelatoVino joins sibling establishments Bowery, District, Mercantile, Mission Cantina, Delancey, and Tamarind Avenue Deli, bringing a gelato and dessert wine concept into the Abou-Daoud portfolio. The compact and focused space, which is tucked in between Delancey and Mission and fully opens up to the sidewalk on Sunset Boulevard, looks like it's taken from Prince's interior decorating handbook. Especially if The Purple One were to design an ice cream shop located inside a bordello, complete with gilded mirrors and a tufted velour ceiling.
But amidst the intense hues are a case full of astonishingly delicious gelati, and 10-12 choices of dessert wines behind the counter. "There are people who come in just to get gelato," Abou-Daoud tells us, "and people who come in and pair it with a nice dessert wine." The wine list is organized into Bubbly, Crisp and Cool, On the Port Side, and Luscious sections, so customers can taste the world of sweet wines from a Brachetto d'Acqui, to late harvest Tokaji, to Sauternes, to Madeira, and beyond.
The two dozen or so gelati are custom made for GelatoVino at an off-site location, and include quite a few flavors for the over-21 crowd. But don't expect to get a buzz from the Bulleit bourbon, espresso Sambuca, zinfandel, mimosa, or Downtown Brown -- a treat that incorporates an ale by North Coast Brewing Company -- since the alcohol is burned off during the gelato making process. (Gelato servings cost between $3.50 and $5.50, and current by-the-glass wines range between $7 and $12.) Other flavors are made with local ingredients, and none with "artificial piles of sugar," Abou-Daoud says. He's also keeping in mind the many needs of his clientele, since GelatoVino "makes it easy to go to that corner and have a great date."
Gelatovino: 5940 Sunset Blvd. (at Tamarind), Hollywood; (323) 469-2100.