The Hotel Wilshire
6317 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Last night, T, D & I had the pleasure of taking in the soft opening of The Roof, the brand spanking new rooftop lounge at the brand spanking new Hotel Wilshire. Eric Greenspan (still running The Foundry, and formerly cooking at El Bulli, Alain Ducasse and Patina) is cooking the food and Michael Tipps (seen on Bar Rescue and previously tending at Soho & Tribeca Grands and Milk & Honey)is heading up the cocktail program.
The Roof, The Roof, The Roof is on the 6th floor with beautiful views. I highly suggest a swing by at sunset. During this late summer/early fall the sun is setting right around 7, get in there.
With a smallish pool area appropriate to a smallish hotel (78 rooms, iirc) the deck is set up as equally well for lounging, drinking and dining as it is for sunbathing.
As I strolled around shooting phone pics, I envisioned PYTs draped over every loungeable service and the young men who chase them smoking a cigar or posing next to a heat lamp. This could really be the next hot spot, the next stop for the increasingly popular all day pool party. Indeed, there were already a couple celebs in the house for the soft opening enjoying the views and the stellar drinks.
The build out in the bar is a gorgeous almost art deco mix of mirrored and glass tiles with sleekly simple chairs and bar stools.
But what do I really care about? The food!
We were informed that this really is a soft opening and the menu isn't set in stone. Eric and team have been working non-stop for the last week (they literally just got into the space to set up the restaurant in short order for the soft opening). Still, there are some outstanding items already on the menu when coupled with the space and the drinks definitely makes The Roof destination worthy.
Cocktail list above.
T started with The Cue Southside. Vodka, cucumber, mint and lime. Just sweet enough and beautifully summery...the southeast Asian flavors in this make it a perfect summer drink. After our martinis, D and I both had one as well. That good.
Nori nachos were a stand out. Tuna, avocado, salmon roe and kewpie mayo scooped up with deep fried nori. Why have I never seen this done? We almost licked the plate.
Asparagus three ways. I am not sure I understand the three-ways bit, but only because I think the description got lost in the shuffle. I wanted one of these to myself. Grilled asparagus, poached asparagus cut on the bias and an asparagus puree (I think) with cherry tomatoes and parm shavings. A beautiful veggie dish. I always am excited by chefs who give equal importance to the vegetables on the table. This is a winner.
The menu hit its highest note, in my opinion, with the Parisian gnocci. I have never eaten a more perfect gnocci. Firm almost to the tooth on the outside with an incredibly fluffy pillowy texture on the inside. Tossed in pesto, capers cherry tomatoes and red seedless grapes, Mediterranean flavors mixed nicely here with perfect attention to gnocci technique. Gimme more, please.
Baked potato fries. Thick wedge cut potatoes with cheese, bacon dust (which to me was really just like, um, bacon?) and sour cream with chives. Delicious, I thought it needed salt but I think everything needs salt. I carry around a salt lick in my handbag. I do. No, I do not.
The rest of my snaps suck because by the time we went in for round two of food and drinks the sun had set. Above are the mussels. Absinthe steamed mussels with fennel, cherry tomatoes and mustard croutons. I was introduced to steamed mussels in a classic prep with Pernod and cream when I worked at a seafood restaurant in SOMA San Francisco. Therefore, despite disliking licorice candies I adore the flavor of a little licorice with my mussels. These were perfectly steamed, still so tender, and just the right hint of absinthe to give the dish pop.
Sticky chicken wings with peanuts, chile and tamarind sauce. T and D agreed this was their favorite. A self admitted wing fanatic, I loved these too. But I actually think the Parisian gnocci was my favorite dish of the night.
Toward the end of the evening as we were getting ready to head out into the Los Angeles night, Michael Tipps came around to chat with us about cocktail likes and dislikes, east versus west coast cocktail approaches and just booze in general. After our chats, he sent out the following drinks: above, my Vargas Bramble made with gin, creme de cassis, lemon juice, blackberries and sparkling wine.
T's personalized poison, vodka with heavy citrus rind, grapefruit juice and something that fizzed, maybe soda water?
And D's Vallon. Irish whiskey, bitters, sugar and a slice of orange. Michael made sure to add very little sugar, just a hint of sweetness and a few sparkling crystals on the rind of orange. Favorite things about Michael's drinks? The flavors are alcohol forward but still fruity and/or herbaceous. Never sweet and cloying or anything you would need to knock back as a shot.
All in all, I was thrilled by The Roof. I have plans to go back this week. No lie.