Stepping inside the brand-new restaurant the Barish at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, I immediately recognized the grand dame of Los Angeles’ culinary world, Nancy Silverton, standing at the reception area next to a hostess. I didn’t get a chance to interview the James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur, who noted that she is a reader of the Beverly Press, about her new venture, but I still had a great time enjoying my first indoor restaurant dining experience since March 2020.
Silverton, who is known for her work with the Mozza Restaurant Group and with Wolfgang Puck at Spago, named the Barish restaurant after her paternal grandmother’s family, who raised Angus cattle and Hampshire sheep on a homestead called the Barish Farm. The one-page menu is inspired by summers spent cooking over open fires at her villa in Italy.
When I saw an iceberg wedge on the menu, I remembered a story Silverton told me a few years ago about her wild herb garden at her villa and how she makes a simple and delicious salad dressing using only four ingredients: balsamic vinegar, shallots, extra virgin olive oil and salt. Curious if she used this dressing one this salad, I ordered it. This salad is ideal to share, as there are two perfect spheres of crisp and crunchy iceberg lettuce stacked and topped with buttery tasting Trufflebert hazelnuts, maple-glazed bacon, tender cippolini onions and pieces of gorgonzola cheese. The dressing is simple and enhances all of the fabulous layers of flavors.
Silverton once told me about her favorite hazelnuts grown on Trufflebert Farm in Eugene, Oregon, so it was nice to see she still is working with this farm.
Day-to-day operations at the Barish are led by Armen Ayvazyan, the executive chef who specializes in farm-to-table cuisine after working for Auburn in Hollywood. There are six cicchetti – snacks – on the menu, including a pizza-size popover pancake topped with 24-month prosciutto di Parma.
We opted for the anchovy fettunta, because I was so curious how this dish would be presented. Arriving on a small plate was just a tin of anchovies bathing in oil and a wedge of grilled country bread; it didn’t look that appealing. I tore a piece from the rustic dark bread, pierced two filets with a small accompanying fork, and spread a little oil to seep into the porous bread. Closing my eyes, I took a bite. Wow! What a wonderful surprise to taste a pleasing smokiness, instead of oily, salty and fishy flavor.
Later, when Jerald Armstrong, the general manager and a veteran of Silverton’s Mozza Restaurant Group, visited our table, I told him how much I enjoyed this dish. He replied, “Nancy tried a lot of cans of anchovies before discovering this one.”
There are five pasta dishes on the menu; however, our server John recommended we try one of the bisteccas (steak in Italian) instead. Those who like to splurge can order the 40-ounce porterhouse, which was dry-aged for 40 days, for $150, or a 20-ounce dry-aged New York steak for $95. We opted for the $60 Wagyu rib cap, which our server said is more like a filet mignon. It was tender, seasoned perfectly and delicious. They also have a bavette cut – flank steak – for $38.
When you order a steak, you get a choice of one sauce. We choose the peppery cacio e pepe, however a horseradish crème fraiche and pickled mustard seed vinaigrette are offered too. The cacio e pepe was so delicious that we added a splash to the vegetable side dishes we ordered.
A bowl of smoked beets with caraway, bronze fennel on top of pure white yogurt reminded of lunch I shared with Silverton years ago. As we were enjoying a beet and goat cheese salad, she told me she doesn’t like the way beets bleed onto white goat cheese in a salad.
“It reminds me of how a woman wearing lipstick sometimes bleeds on her lips and looks messy,” she said.
Silverton likes to roll her goat cheese in pistachios or other nuts to keep the salad clean and to add texture to the dish. At the Barish, she rolls smooth roasted beets in caraway seeds to prevent excess “bleeding” in the white yogurt. These seeds add a hint of texture and a pleasing slightly spicy flavor.
The roasted leeks in lardo were thin and slimy, not my favorite. Maybe the grilled abalone mushrooms or creamed mustard greens would be a better choice.
Also on the menu are two fish dishes, a $36 sea bream filet on black olives and a gremolata, and a $62 salmon in crosta wrapped in brioche pastry. The sea bream was fresh and healthy tasting, but a little too salty for my liking. Next time, I might try the whole-roasted chicken, or the pork chop, lamb shoulder chop or short ribs enhanced with green garlic, pine nuts and celery root.
Be sure to order pastry chef Molly Mueller’s apple raisin bread pudding with a generous scoop of vanilla bean gelato. This talented chef served as the pastry supervisor for Mozza Restaurant Group, and her bread pudding is fresh, rich and decadent. She also manages all the pastry offerings for the historic lobby lounge, a must to visit before you leave.
The lobby lounge is warm and cozy with a new fireplace and serves as the social indoor hub at the hotel. Servers wear period uniforms while serving finger-food from the Barish kitchen, such as house-made Kennebec potato chips with onion dip and smoked trout roe and Caesar salad of individually dressed spears of chicories. The historic fountain still anchors the lobby, and the space formerly known as Teddy’s will soon be transformed into Lorenzo’s, another dining concept by Silverton. This space is scheduled to open later and will serve wine, cheese, snacks and fondue.
Leaving, I glanced to say goodbye to Silverton and noticed she was standing at the open kitchen talking to her staff. I didn’t get the opportunity to congratulate her and mention how her grandparents must be honored by the restaurant’s name and proud of her success. Since she gets the Beverly Press, hopefully she will read this review.
The Barish at the Hollywood Roosevelt will make a lasting impression on those venturing out again to enjoy a fine dining experience.
The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining room soon. Right now, it is open Wednesday through Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m. To reserve a table, go to thehollywoodroosevelt.com. 7000 Hollywood Blvd., (323)856-1970.
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