The Bottom Line
Scottish-born celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has been courting and counting Michelin stars since the early nineties. In 2009, he sold his namesake restaurant in West Hollywood's London hotel to LXR Luxury Resorts, the hotel’s operator. Today, under the direction of Executive Chef Anthony Keene, the eatery still reflects the drama of the Ramsay brand; it's sophisticated, chic and full of swagger. The cooking philosophy seems grounded in the Aristotelian principle that plot, or more precisely plates, should be both inevitable and surprising.
- Highly creative cuisine
- Excellent quality and value
- Elegant atmosphere
- Not the place for standard meat-and-potatoes fare
- Dinner service every day starting at 5 p.m.; last reservations at 9:30 p.m.
- Valet parking is $10
- A-la-carte dinner menu appetizers start at $18; entrées at $36
- There are two prix-fixe menus: the three-course (appetizer, entrée, dessert) for $72 and the five-course (two appetizers, entrée, seasonal cheese plate, dessert) for $92; wine pairing is $45-$65
- The eight-course menu costs $120; wine pairing is $75-$125
Contributing Writer Review – Gordon Ramsay at the London West Hollywood
Much of Gordon Ramsay's menu has classic underpinnings--prime beef Wellington, châteaubriand, chocolate soufflé–-with many references to Asian cuisine. As you’d expect from a Michelin one-star restaurant, the quality of the locally sourced, non-farmed ingredients is impeccable. And then there’s the frisson of unexpected pairings and arresting presentation.
The watermelon and lobster appetizer, for example, resembles an edible terrarium. A layer of jellied gazpacho supports the fruit and fish as well as frisée, a thin lime slice and a little stalk of tempura zucchini popping up through the center. A hint of horseradish gives it a spicy kick. The foie gras nigiri is also a striking composition, topped with caramelized pineapple and pork chicharrón. My quibble with that dish, however, was that the pineapple and chicharrón, while pleasant, didn’t offer a particularly interesting contrast with the foie gras.
The miso-marinated squab breast with a poached egg, tempura shiitake mushroom and udon noodles is a great melding of varied textures and flavors; the squab was very tender. Also delicious: the snow crab salad with harissa mayo, avocado and pink grapefruit.
And to accompany the appetizers: creatively mixed cocktails. They include such vibrantly colored infusions as Strawberry Fields (Hennessy VS cognac, Grand Marnier, fresh lemon juice and muddled strawberries, $16) and a pale-hued but clean and tart Ruby Red Sunset (Absolut ruby red vodka, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, fresh grapefruit juice and lemon juice, $15).
The restaurant's vibe is low-key chic and affords good people-watching opportunities, from a woman in the lobby walking a leashed Bengal cat to the small groups and singles in the dining room. As my guest and I noshed, we took in the scene in the dining room designed by David Collins. The décor is both rustic (beamed ceiling and leather) and pretty (pastels and gold)--think mid-century California meets Ladurée. Silky background music came from vocalist Jill Lamoureux of Wing and Hollow, who was singing in the bar.
For main courses, the mixed grille of spring lamb is especially memorable. It’s lamb prepared three ways: chop (topped with chicken, garlic and porcini mushroom mousse), loin, and lastly as a merguez sausage, accompanied by carrot panna cotta and English peas. The tempura flounder is fillet rolled with shrimp mousse and wrapped in tempura nori, served atop yellow onions cut to resemble fettuccine. It’s garnished with a tiger prawn.
As for service, Bradley, our waiter, was relaxed and friendly. He knew every dish thoroughly, listened carefully to questions and offered helpful, considered suggestions. As for wine, he suggested Presqu’ile pinot noir ($19) and Damilano Lecinquevigne ($22) as well as a mineraly but still lovely white called Coenobium ($15). Next was cheese, raisin nutbread and Charleston Sercial Madeira. Slices were from France, Italy and Spain, complemented with Marcona almonds, grapes and honeycomb.
And finally, a dessert well worth waiting for: chocolate mousse, updated with brandied cherries and a praline base. Other sweet options include the pink lady apple tartin with brown-butter caramel and vanilla bean ice cream which expertly highlights the fruit. The coconut chiboust, served alongside mango sorbet and basil, seems a cross between a slice of delicate frosted cake and a chi-chi candy bar. For a smooth finish: Lavazza coffee.
Gordon Ramsay at the London West Hollywood
1020 N. San Vicente Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Jacqueline Fitzgerald is a Los Angeles based writer who runs her own website Film Noir Blonde.