Now Dining | Gordon Ramsay in Los Angeles
September 2, 2008
Acclaimed by gastronomes for his great food, chef Gordon Ramsay is best known to the general public as the successor to the Osbourne family in bringing a British flair for profanity to American TV screens. In fact, according to a recent Australian Senate enquiry into bad language on television, Ramsay racked up eighty uses of one cuss word in a single 40 minute episode of his “Kitchen Nightmares” –- perhaps the definitive example of the rhetorical technique that Gertrude Stein termed “insistence.”
In restaurants in the fashionable quarters of Los Angeles, they have their own list of words that are uttered only under the breath, if at all — words like “cream” and “butter” and “braised pig’s head.” Not a man inclined to begging “pardon my French,” Ramsay flouts the prevailing taboos by bringing these traditional ingredients of French cuisine to his otherwise LA-fabulous new restaurant at the London West Hollywood Hotel, the elegant David Collins designed revamp of the Bel Age off Sunset Strip.
That said, you won’t find anything here as outré as the sensational frogs leg and escargot fricassee served in years past at Ramsay’s Dubai dining room, Verre. The LA menu is officially described as European with Asian influences using local produce. And even erstwhile sinful dishes may actually escape the disapproval of hip nutritionists, as they adhere to the current dieting doctrine of “portion control” –- which happily coincides with the culinary fashion for “small plates.”
A staple of ethnic dining from dim sum to mezze and tapas to izakaya, and brought into haute cuisine by the ateliers of Joel Robuchon — the unstructured mixing, matching and sharing of appetizer sized servings is already a hit at Ramsay’s Maze restaurants in London and New York. In LA, it means cuisine accessible to both the body-conscious and the (relatively) budget-conscious, as the plates are $14 to $22.
They notably include:
Diners will also appreciate that the tables are spaced a civilized distance apart (at least for tables for more than two), the staff are professional, the view grand and the lighting flattering.
Meanwhile, following the imported TV shows and restaurants, America desperately awaits the arrival of Ramsay’s latest UK venture — take-onboard gourmet picnics for air travelers….