|Kumamoto Oysters with Ginger Summer Salsa
L'Ermitage in Beverly Hills is a stalwart bastion of Los Angeles. When I worked in Hollywood, I booked many drinks in their lounge.
Much about the hotel remains the same--the refined crowd, the framed Oscar-winning screenplays on the walls, the relaxed atmosphere. However, the lounge and cocktail menus have recently gotten a total revamping, thanks to Executive Chef Joseph Elevado (a jovial man who has trained with some of the greats, including Nobu himself) and award-winning mixologist Stephanie Brown (who has a penchant for growing wacky ingredients in her own garden and infusing them into her cocktails).
|Octopus Salad Skewers
The new menu features small bites with subtle Asian and Mexican influences, such as the Kumamoto Oysters with a delicate ginger summer salsa (I must have eaten twenty of these); the Pork Belly sliders served on buttery brioche with tomato jam; and the Pickled Fries (yes, they are deep fried dill pickles--amazing!).
|Wagyu Sliders on Brioche
The cocktails match the food in their complexity and flavor. My favorites included the Off the Vine, a heady combination of Buffalo Trace Bourbon, lemon juice, agave nectar, heirloom tomatoes (you read this right), and basil; the Root of All Evil, made with rum, citrus, ginger beer and candied ginger (they had me at ginger); and The Bitter Truth, a refreshing blend of elderflower Liqueur, grapefruit, and champagne.
|The Chefs pushing Lemon Curd Zeppoli's
And I haven't even mentioned desserts yet. We enjoyed the Lemon Curb Zeppoli's. Frankly, anything fried, especially desserts, are delicious.