Bar Centro - Beverly Hills, CA - 5 Golden Spoons

We were staying at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills and dropped over to the adjoined Bar Centro for martinis. The ambiance is incredible. An opulent and moody atmosphere reminiscent of an old supper club but with contemporary touches and finishes. We sat at the rich black glass bar with an amber lit glowing wall behind shelves of exotic liquors. We were quickly greeted by our bartender, Josh, who was quite the mixologist. He prepared our drinks with style and flair that entertained by was not at all overdone or pretentious. Splashes of liquid nitrogen that cooled our glasses that he adorned with lemon peels that he crafted into swan like origami while we watched. One of the best bartenders we've ever encountered. We also enjoyed the decadent dessert bar with a plethora of exotic treats that were fun to accompany our martinis. Bar Centro is a must visit experience for any cocktail enthusiast. Spectacular on all levels.

CIE Sichuan - Indio, CA - 5 Golden Spoons

We’ve been looking for a great Chinese restaurant in the Valley for years now.  Today, we found one that checks all the boxes!  Immaculately clean, welcoming, atmosphere. Warm, friendly staff. Incredible diverse menu with Sichuan influence and a full selection of Dim Sum, our only challenge was what to order.  So, we let our brilliant server Laura along with one of the owners help us with our choices. This visit, we enjoyed the scallion pancake, pork dumplings, garlic eggplant, sweet potato greens, and stir-fried lamb..                                      Scallion Pancake                                        Garlic Eggplant                                        Stir Fried Lamb Each dish was clearly home made with fresh ingredients and bursting with flavor. Nothing was oily or fatty, and you could taste the passion in each course.  Service and cuisine exceeded expectations. Great value too!  We can’t wait to come back.

The Royce - Pasadena, CA - 5 Golden Spoons

Although we'd heard rave reviews of this restaurant for years, this was our first dining experience at They Royce at the famous Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, California.  It did not disappoint.  In fact, it exceeded expectations on all levels.  The dining room is quite elegant in a traditional black and white motif that overlooks some of the spectacular grounds of the hotel.  The extensive menu features a variety of American and European meat and seafood dishes but is known for its selection of USDA Prime Cuts, and authentic Australian and Japanese Wagyu, prepared over a wood-fired grill with White Oak.  While most other diners appeared to be focused on the gill menu, we decided to venture outside the box a bit based upon suggestions from our outstanding waiter, Rob.  We started with the veal sweetbreads, which were seared and served with sunchokes, bacon, and a red wine reduction.  I'm a sweetbread fanatic, and this was one of the best preparations I've ever had.  What a fantastic explosion of flavors and textures.  Next, we had the seared foie gras which was served with a gorgeous balsamic sauce on the side with lovely micro-greens.  Perfection.   For our mains, we had the Wisconsin veal chop with a madeira jus accompanied by a house-made fettuccine  with veal lardons.  The veal was tender and flavorful and the fettuccine was perfectly prepared.   We also enjoyed the risotto with shaved black truffles.  This can be a difficult dish to execute, but the rice was exactly right and the portion of truffles was absolutely decadent.   Simon, our sommelier, recommended a marvelous port to be paired with the house beignets and creme brulee for dessert.  He suggested we actually open the beignets and use the creme as a filling.  How wonderful and extravagant.  It's rare to find that perfect blend of a gorgeous atmosphere, superb service, and spectacular cuisine.  Kudos to The Royce.  We will be back.   

Melvyn's - Palm Springs, CA - 5 Golden Spoons

What a transformation!  This iconic Palm Springs restaurant is located in the historic Ingleside Inn once a favorite of old-glamour Hollywood celebs including Spencer Tracy, Howard Hughes, and Norman Vincent Peale.  However, in the past ten years or so, the restaurant had really become somewhat tired and run down until the PlumpJack Group, a noted San Francisco based hospitality firm acquired the property in 2016 and undertook a major restoration of the entire facility, completed in 2017.  What’s so fantastic about the renovated Melvyn’s is that they kept the 1940’s supper club feel with dark brown walls and romantic fixtures and even kept dishes on the menu that have virtually disappeared from modern view, including Steak Diane, Veal Oscar, and Chateaubriand for Two prepared table side.  They also kept the seasoned wait staff, many of whom have been with the property for decades and understand the art of classic dinner service.  This visit, we were lucky enough to have Robert as our server who epitomizes excellent dining care; attentive, engaging, warm, and efficient.  But on to dinner, we started with the Lobster Cocktail and Wedge Salad.  The Lobster was served with a mango and citrus salad, remoulade, and cocktail sauce.  A generous portion that was absolutely bright, fresh, and delicious.  The Wedge Salad was classically dressed with chopped hard-boiled eggs, almonds, crispy bacon, and a creamy blue cheese dressing, but served atop baby gem lettuce as opposed to the traditional iceberg greens.  This may be one of the best Wedge Salads we’ve ever had.  For entrees, we chose the Seared Scallops and the Sole Piccata.  Four magnificent scallops were accompanied by a roasted red pepper puree with wild rice, green beans, and baby carrots on the side.  Spectacular dish. The sole was lightly sautéed in a delicate white wine, lemon, caper sauce that was simple but perfectly prepared.  Not a easy feat.  By dessert time, we were quite sated.  Perhaps next time.  Overall, a wonderful memorable evening.  Melvyn’s is an old yet new must-visit dining experience for locals and visitors alike.  The staff from the host to bartenders, waiters and even table bus, carry you back to a by-gone era of service and the menu is magnificent.  Can’t wait to go back.  

NOBU Caesars Palace - Las Vegas, NV - 5 Golden Spoons

‚ÄčThis was my third visit to NOBU at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.  It rates on my list of top ten restaurants in the world.  The ambiance is stunning, the service is exceptional, and the cuisine is phenomenal in every sense.  When we arrived, we were greeted by a lovely hostess who escorted us to a fantastic table surrounded by a wicker cocoon where we could observe passers-by in the casino but still felt intimate and private.  Our server, Amber, was quick to visit our table with menus.  When she learned we had dined there before, she suggested we consider having the chef design our dining experience and asked for budget parameters.  A very smart way to create a custom prix-fixe.  We chose to dismiss the menus without even looking and let the chef’s selections begin.  Our first course was the Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno.  It happens to be one my favorites.  Bright delicate slices of yellowtail with a light lime infused sauce topped with slashes of jalapeno.  How such a simple dish can be so wonderous is beyond me.  Gorgeous pure unpretentious presentation that burst with flavor.  Next up, Soft Shell Crab Tempura.  A generous portion of perfectly prepared crab.  Crisp, just the right amount of batter, and seasoned to bring out the natural essence and not mask the flavor of this fantastic crustacean.  Maybe the best soft-shell crab I’ve ever had.  It was about at this point that Aaron Hopwood, the Bar Manager/Sommelier, paid our table a visit to check on us.  What a nice touch.  Aaron was sincerely interested in our dining experience and it gave us a chance to give praise to the immaculate service we were receiving from Amber and the rest of the team.  It’s rare to find such exceptional, efficient and warm care.  Following the crab was the Filet Mignon with Crispy Onions.  The filet was nestled under wisps of fried onions that were so delicate they absolutely melted in your mouth.  The filet was medium rare, and thinly sliced in a light sauce.  The combination was sensational.  For our closing course, the chef chose to present a special sushi plate with various filets and rolls.  The highlight for me was it included two delicately fried Sawangani River Crabs.  These tiny fresh water crabs are about the size of a silver dollar and are eaten whole.  They are so crispy, crunchy, and flavorful.  I’ve only had them once before in my life and absolutely fell in love with these exotic crab delicacies.  What a treat.  At this point, we were completely sated.  The perfect combination of dishes and just the right portions.  An absolutely exceptional evening on all levels.  We can’t wait to visit NOBU again.

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 jim@foodtodish.com
888-942-4274 ext. 701

Palm Springs, California

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