Thursday, September 22, 2011

Windows Lounge at the Four Seasons: High-Class Hotel Gets Down and Dirty with New StrEAT Menu

Singaporean Carrot Cake Scramble

The other night, I had the honor of sampling the entire menu at the Four Seasons (Beverly Hills) newly launched Windows Lounge. The brainchild of Executive Chef Ashley James, the new StrEAT menu draws inspiration from street food around the world and showcases it in a collection of small plates.

Crab Tostadas

This is not your average high-end hotel fare. Favorite dishes included the light and dainty Crab Tostadas served on crispy corn chips; the Mini Tortas with pork carnitas and arbol chili sauce (I'm obsessed with arbol chiles right night); and the Singaporean Carrot Cake Scramble with organic eggs and daikon rice pancake.

Mini Tortas with Pork Carnitas

But my favorite dish -- the one that will send me back here shortly -- was the simply named Pommes Frites. Don't be fooled by the moniker -- these aren't your run of the mill French fries. Rather, the Belgian-inspired potatoes were thick, gluttonously long, and perfect deep-fried to a crunchy, slightly well done crisp. The finishing touches are a dappling of sea salt and real mayonnaise (which is a pleasure that must be experienced).

All the dishes were perfectly balanced with great spice and flair. It was a vast improvement over the typical stale American fare usually served at these sorts of hotels. Adding to the energetic vibe, the lounge also showcases live music.

Chicken Chipotle Cilantro Dog

The perfect ending to the evening was a sampling of the desserts, beginning with the Churros. Dusted with cinnamon and sugar and served with warm chocolate sauce, this is one of my favorite desserts in the world. I also loved the so named "Knickerbocker Glory," a huge vanilla ice cream sundae served in a tall glass with Jello, berries, and fresh whipped cream. It was glorious.

The lounge is also serving a great selection of fresh cocktails (hello mixology) and wines, which draw from much of the same inspiration as the food.

Kudos to the Four Seasons for taking a risk with this menu. I plan to go back. It's worth it for the French fries alone...

Disclaimer: I was invited to an event to taste the menu. However, no compensation was received, and the opinions here are my own.

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