I had the pleasure of being a tourist in my own town this weekend as a participant in the Dole California Cook-Off. As part of the festivities, The Astronomer and I packed up our bags and moved into the Andaz West Hollywood. We fueled up at RH the night before the big competition. I’ve been wanting to sit down for a meal here ever since the restaurant received three-stars from the Los Angeles Times, but never found myself in a hotel dining mood. As a guest of the Andaz, the timing finally felt right to see what the buzz was all about.
Headed by Chef Sebastien Archambault, RH serves southwestern French cuisine with an emphasis on California ingredients. As we skimmed the cocktail and dinner menus, a plate of crudite arrived for us to nibble on. The vegetables were snappy and colorful, while the dressing was creamy and herbaceous. The Astronomer made a noble effort to find pleasure in eating the radishes, but we ultimately couldn’t finish them.
Since we were staying fourteen floors up rather than twenty miles away, The Astronomer and I indulged in a cocktail each. I went for a muddled strawberry and lime concoction called the 405 Crush ($12), while The Astronomer ordered a French mojito laced with anise ($12). Both drinks were well-balanced and properly potent. It was unbelievably fun getting giggly over cocktails without having to worry about driving home safely.
A warm loaf of sourdough was the next to arrive, along with a dish of perfectly spreadable butter. The tangy and plentiful innards had me happy. I hate it when bread makers skimp on the fluffy stuff.
To start, I ordered the Hudson Valley foie gras terrine ($18), which came highly recommended to me by my friend Matt. He dined here soon after the Times review was published and reported that the terrine was on par with The French Laundry‘s. I consider Thomas Keller’s foie gras terrine one of the greatest dishes I’ve ever eaten, so I was beyond stoked to see how RH’s stacked up.
The generously portioned terrine was served with a plum and mission fig chutney, lightly-dressed arugula, and homemade brioche. Cooked sous-vide at 158 degrees, the foie gras’ flavors and textures were phenomenal. It wasn’t as buttery smooth as The French Laundry’s specimen, but considering the price point and quality, my sky high expectations were definitely met. The chef sent over a sweet aperitif for us to sip with each bite.
While I basked in fatty liver heaven, The Astronomer dug into a rustic plate of escargot and Yukon gold potatoes ($14). He was expecting the snails to be given the standard butter and garlic treatment, but was pleasantly surprised by presence of jus and salty bits of ham.
For my main course, I went with the Boothbay Harbor lobster open ravioli ($22). Sandwiched between two sheets of fresh pasta were an array of vegetables, including carrots, snap peas, and celery, and beautiful hunks of lobster meat. A light but effective bisque sauce coated every morsel.
The Astronomer ordered the Hudson Valley duck leg confit ($24), which the Times restaurant critic declared the city’s best. The duck leg was crispy, caramelized, and tender in all the right places, and the sautéed potatoes served in tandem were simple but satisfying.
To finish, a mille-feuille made with Red Blossom Farm berries and vanilla pastry cream ($9). The Astronomer and I were both hurting for stomach space, but this fruity little number went down very easily.
Hotel restaurants aren’t usually anything of note, but that’s not the case at the Andaz. The food here is expertly executed, the prices are beyond fair, and the open kitchen gives the dining room an inviting ambiance. It took me a while to make my way to RH, but I will not hesitate to return, because hotel restaurant or not, this place is straight up tasty.
Andaz West Hollywood
8401 West Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069