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October 27th, 2007 · No Comments

Spago Spago Spago Spago Spago Spago
T: This was an epic dinner.

D had low expectations, and I really didn’t know what to expect. Long one of LA’s ‘see and be seen’ restaurants, this was probably the one that started it all for Wolfgang Puck. And by ‘all’, I mean his status as restauranteur-to-the-stars. This was the restaurant that has long been considered one of (if not the) best restaurant in LA and it has been a destination for the rich-and-famous – and anyone who just loves food – for years and years and years.

I really don’t want to be overly effusive throughout this blog, but let me just say that everything about this restaurant was a pleasant surprise. The amazing quality of the service. The truly fabulous food. The interesting and exhaustive wine list. The extremely relaxed atmosphere. The fact that Mr. Puck had the graciousness to come table-by-table to ask his guests if they were enjoying their meals. The fact you can order 1993 Chateau d’Yquem by the ounce. The desserts – oh my god the desserts were amazing.

Okay, I’ll stop there. But really, in case you weren’t getting the idea that we both enjoyed the meal, we really, really enjoyed it.

Probably the biggest (and nicest) surprise for us was how relaxed the restaurant was. While we’re used to eating these temples and being treated as though we’re lucky to be there (ahem, Susur), here we just felt welcome. The music during the meal was Pink Floyd, and Rolling Stones, and about halfway through the meal I realized that I would be as comfortable there in my jeans as I would be in black tie. I haven’t ever been to a restaurant before that I could say that about.

Here was our meal:
T: Risotto with Chanterelles
D: Smoked-salmon blinis

T: Roast veal on baby brussels sprouts with parmesan polenta
D: Pan-fried duck with pumpkin flan

T&D: Kaiserschmarren (sort of like strawberries with pancakes…if made by angels)

We had a 1997 Vacqueyras for the meal with opened up beautifully after about 10 minutes and an ounce of the 1993 d’Yquem to enjoy with dessert.

I really can’t (nor do I really want to) go on at great length about this meal because you really need to experience it to get a full understanding of that makes a ‘perfect’ meal. Here are some of the highlights that both of us particularly enjoyed:
The food was really excellent. Expensive yes, but probably worth it considering the ingredients and the work that goes into preparing them. Nothing about the food was bad – my veal was a little tough, the flavour of the risotto was perhaps a little too subtle, but that was all. Spago has a new set-point for food – here, the food that was ‘bad’ was merely ‘good food’. The food that was ‘great’ was ‘spectacular food’. The blinis – beautifully presented – melted in your mouth with flavours of cream, dill, caper, and smoked salmon; the polenta – smooth, rich, creamy – hints of parmagiano and a subtle cornmeal flavour. The kaiserschmarren was a perfect dessert. The strawberries were warm but not mushy – the ‘pancake’ was so light that Aunt Jemima never made better herself. The sauce was a rich strawbery flavour that avoided the sweet jam flavors that are a tendency in these dishes and instead was just bursting with fresh strawberry.

As for everything else: The service was extremely knowledgeable, at all times pleasant, and completely unobtrusive. The decor – while now looking a bit (and only a bit) dated, was interesting, artful, a unique and consistent theme, and helped you focus on the food and the conversation. The place was spotless. The staff from the captain’s desk to the bar to the waitstaff were all extremely pleasant – everyone gets treated like a celebrity here.

And the fact that we got to meet the big man himself? Well, that was really just a third olive for the martini. But perhaps the best part was that it was a meal that everyone enjoyed. A special occasion for a special trip with lots of laughs, great company, great conversation, and it was all just complemented by the food and service. Bottom line: If I had to choose a last meal, Spago, on that Saturday night, with those people, would have been it.

If you go to LA, make the trip, enjoy the meal – I hope that you have as great a time as we did and definitely, no matter what, no matter how full you are, order the Kaiserschmarren.

176 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Phone: 310-385-0880
Reservations via

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Spago Beverly Hills on Urbanspoon

Tags: Favorites · Los Angeles · Special Occasion

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