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When I think of a French bistro, I conjure up images of a cozy room with red chairs, warm woods and black and white tile floors. However, the French bistro at the W Hotel, Delphine, is light and bright with an LA feel to it. The arched ceilings finished in bleached wood and “Big Ass” fans (the brand name) provide an open, breezy environment. The floors are replete with French tiles, but are not octagonal black and white, but very intriguing blue. The overall atmosphere is uplifting, happy and definitely French.
The W Hotel and Delphine opened in January and both the hotel and restaurant have enjoyed much success in their first six months. It’s easy to see why Delphine is so popular – the handsome wait staff and friendly servers make you feel at home without the “too hip” attitude. The lively crowd gives the bistro an inviting energy. The menu, crafted by Executive Chef Sascha Lyon, reflects France’s Cote d’Azur. The result: fabulous French cuisine.
Start with one of their seafood towers – le petit Delphine for $58 or le grand Delphine for $98. There is so much seafood on each of these tempting displays, the price is actually about $1 a piece. French favorites, like the soupe de poisson, steak tartare, and of course, escargot, highlight the hors d’oeuvres. The basket of French bread is the perfect accompaniment to dunk into the “persalliade” or garlic butter sauce on the escargot. The selections for the cheese plate are outstanding and plentiful.
If your mouth watered in the scene from “Julie and Julia” when the waiter deboned the sole meuniere for Ms. Child, you will want to order the Delphine version of this quintessential French dish, trout meuniere served with sautéed shrimp, potatoes, lemon, and parsley brown butter. Entrees like the steak frites will transport you to Paris in one bite – I love the crispiness of the fries, and the steak is tender and juicy. Two other notable fish dishes are the striped bass aigo bouido, which is served in a garlic broth with vegetables and Gruyere crouton, a warm and comforting course. The duck confit and bacon give the Arctic char with braised cabbage a richness of flavors that melt in your mouth.
There are pastas, pizzas and gourmet sandwiches on the dinner menu, and the bistro serves breakfast, lunch and brunch as well. The wine list offers a perfect balance of French and California selections, and the house chardonnay is very reasonable at $19 for a carafe.
“In the Heights”, the Tony-award winning musical, just opened across the street at the Pantages, so why not make it an evening of dinner and the theatre? It will be a highly enjoyable night of dining in a friendly, Hollywood restaurant. If you choose to visit Delphine for dessert after the theatre, the chocolate offerings include a dark chocolate hazelnut cake, warm pistachio espresso brownies, a house cookie and truffle plate, and my favorite, profiteroles – those yummy cream puffs with vanilla bean ice cream and dark chocolate sauce.
Delphine, at the W Hotel, 6250 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028. (323)798-1355. www.restaurantdelphine.com
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