I know you don’t want to visit Los Angeles without knowing the names of a couple of the newest, hottest restaurants in town. Try these: Waterloo & City in Culver City and Delphine Brasserie in the new W Hollywood.
|Exterior of Waterloo & City in Culver City. Photo courtesy of Michael Prince, waterlooandcity.com
Waterloo & City in Culver City—a neighborhood that’s becoming a cooler place by the month—is named after two tube lines in London. And while there is often Shepherd’s Pie on the menu and a host of cured meats as starters, this is not all English cooking. There are pastas and pizzas, as well, and the man behind the stove is someone I’ve written about favorably before, Brendan Collins, who was most recently helming the kitchen at Palihouse.
Collins moved because he wanted to do a neighborhood gastropub, and Waterloo & City is the result. It’s not much to look at from the outside—the restaurant from its exterior could just as easily be an IHOP as a great place to have dinner.
Fortunately, it’s the latter.
“Luscious” isn’t a word I would normally ascribe to a pizza, but Collins’ version with Indian-style butter chicken, Greek yogurt and cucumber deserves the adjective. His braised beef short ribs get a kick from the Stilton cheese, arugula and malt vinegar that accompany. His whole roasted chicken is golden perfection, and if you can get there on a night when the kitchen is tucking truffles between the meat and the skin, all the better.
There’s a Brit feel in the air, though, thanks to the bar, where you can have a pint from a selection of ales. For dinner, the wine list is fun and well priced. Only one word of advice: Reserve early—this restaurant never seems to have an empty table.
|Restaurant Delphine in the W Hollywood. Photo courtesy of restaurantdelphine.com
I’ve been neglecting Hollywood, I thought to myself as I drove from LA’s Westside on Hollywood Boulevard into the old neighborhood where cheesy lingerie stores and sad bars were once the order of the day.
Today, the neighborhood is coming back big, helped by the Disney-renovated Pantages Theater and, just across the street, a big, new, shiny hotel called the W Hollywood. Expensive condos in renovated buildings surround the block, and the sidewalks are busy. I’d clearly been away too long.
The W Hollywood’s lobby bar—the hotel chain calls it The Living Room—was jammed when I crossed it to enter Delphine, a south-of-France, indoor-outdoor dining room with white wicker chairs and some banquettes beneath an all-white wall of books. The menu is mostly mainstream French brasserie. But, like Waterloo & City, there’s also a selection of pastas and pizzas. And while each dish doesn’t always rise to the ambitious level of Waterloo & City’s offerings, executive chef Sasha Lyon puts out a mean braised lamb shoulder with polenta and a satisfying dish of mussels with fries. Desserts are a standout, especially an apple and hazelnut crostada with goat cheese and vanilla ice cream.
Delphine is the ideal place to dine before or after theater. Not only is the Pantages across the street, but a handful of other, smaller theater companies are in the neighborhood that gentrified while I wasn’t looking.
Footnote: I don’t often write about well-priced, high-quality restaurants for families traveling with younger children. In Los Angeles, I can’t say enough about the four Houston’s restaurants in the area. There’s a Houston’s in Pasadena, Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica and Century City. And just across from the Century City location is a sister restaurant, Gulfstream, known for terrific seafood.
Hillstone Group is one of the most successful restaurant companies you’ve never heard of. Privately owned, it does no advertising that I’ve ever seen for any of its restaurants, but its commitment to quality ingredients, good design and great service is rarely matched on such a large scale. Simply prepared great dishes such as burgers, salmon, salads and ribs make Houston’s a great place for both kids and adults.