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The thick wine bible at Wally’s Beverly Hills, with its 3,000 wines from local and international regions around the world, may be daunting, but a dive into its extensive pages nevertheless proves a fruitful experience – and one that pairs deliciously with the restaurant’s contemporary French fine dining.
Sitting at one of the high-top communal tables among the floor-to-ceiling shelves lined with bottles of Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne, our server, dressed in formal black pants, a crisp white shirt, and a black vest and tie, helped us pin down our selection. I mentioned I was in the mood for a rosé. Wally’s affable and award-winning wine director, Matthew Turner, approached our table with three bottles of his favorite pink-hued wines.
We first tried the Domaines Ott Château de Selle Côtes de Provence 2016 rosé, which offered pale peach hues and an elegant minerality with citrus and stone fruit aromas. The wine finished with floral notes and a touch of spice.
Next, Turner poured the Miraval rosé, another wine from Côtes de Provence, France. It featured an even more aromatic expression of fruit and flowers. I especially enjoyed the slightly strawberry finish.
The final rosé, by Napa Valley’s Marciano Estate, was a tad darker than the previous two wines and drier, made with cabernet and merlot grapes.
After finishing an ethereal cheese amuse-bouche, our server delivered a wood board with bread and three different cheeses curated by Jenny Knotts, the director of cheese and specialty foods at Wally’s. My favorite was the French Essex Comté, which had a deep nutty and sweet onion flavor. Try the cheese on bread with a swipe of honey – it’s a creamy finish reminiscent of crème brûlée.
I also enjoyed Hook’s Cheese Company’s 15-year-aged cheddar, a hard cheese made from pasteurized cow milk with a pleasing caramelized intensity.
For the main courses, Wally’s executive chef David Féau and his team prepare artistically beautiful cuisine. We started with the summer heirloom salad, which arrived looking more like a French fruit tart than a salad. The large circular base was a thick slice of sweet, yellow watermelon topped with a creamy nitro feta cheese that looked like powdered sugar. Slices of yellow heirloom tomatoes and salmon-colored pickled plums were arranged on top, and spicy green and purple basil leaves finished off this exquisite dish. It was dazzled with a sprinkling of basil-infused balsamic dressing.
Impressed with our dishes, we decided to try the corn agnolotti, a popular new item on the menu. This pasta dish packs a burst of flavor with juicy lobster and a lightly sweet corn, brown butter and black truffle broth. It was exquisite.
For an entrée, we shared the wood oven-baked sea bass filet with slightly charred lemon slices. Served on the side were blistered yellow and red cherry tomatoes and a piping-hot tray of sautéed vegetables, including fennel, summer squash and yellow wax beans, topped with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and edible flower petals.
We finished our meal with the Le Feuillet dessert, which is like a Napoléon cake but with a thicker puff pastry. Slices of Pudwill Farms berries, a lovely vanilla cream and Azuleta sugar top off this sweet treat and bring a violet essence and aroma. Très bien!
The restaurant also has two semi-private party rooms. One room can seat 22 people comfortably, and the other room, called the Barrel Room, seats 12 guests. It’s a bit removed from the main dining room, yet maintains the energy inside the main room of Wally’s Beverly Hills. For another option, there’s also the new Wally’s in Santa Monica on Wilshire and Second.
For a fine wine and dine experience that is both formal and fun, visit Wally’s Beverly Hills. $$$ 447 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, (310)475-3540. 214 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310)475-0606.
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