Farm-fresh fare isn’t what one might expect to eat in one of the nation’s largest cities, but that’s what Chef Richard Hodge at Blvd 16 knows best. While working as an executive chef in the Bay Area, he developed a strong sense of environmental responsibility, creating food from sustainable ingredients. Hodge brings all of that knowledge to Blvd 16, where guests flock for meals all day long. Breakfast kicks off with his California burrito, which is stuffed with hash browns, scrambled eggs, and avocado. Brunch sings a similar tune, though hearty salads and $1 mimosa refills join the mix. At dinnertime, Hodge fills plates with robust main courses, such as duck drizzled in pink-peppercorn vinaigrette and steak frites with thick-cut paprika fries. Because he relies on farm-sourced ingredients, Hodge sometimes has to substitute menu items or talk down the cans of Cheez Whiz that occasionally picket outside the restaurant.
Novel Cafe puts an elegant twist on the café experience—the tastes are always sophisticated, organic, and internationally inspired. Crisp salads arrive topped with grilled chicken and candied walnuts or roasted beets and goat cheese. Wraps are rolled with black beans and housemade pico de gallo or seared ahi tuna and wasabi spread. Some locations even serve dinner entrees, including roasted duck and rib-eye steaks, as well as microbrews and imported beers on tap. Espresso drinks, freshly squeezed juices, and organic, imported coffee and tea are on hand, too, to complement the eclectic flavors.
The Nosh of Beverly Hills resolves East Coast–West Coast rivalry with a unique formula: it’s a blend of New York–style deli and health-conscious California diner. The result, as the restaurant’s website puts it, is “a place for people to meet and talk and nosh.” Groups gather over three meals a day, with special dietary menus and plenty of health-centric options to make everyone feel welcome. The chefs take pride in their baked goods made without the use of preservatives, their from-scratch salad dressings, and, especially, their sourcing: all meats, including free-range chicken and turkey, grass-fed burgers, and Niman Ranch roast beef, are completely free of hormones and antibiotics.
Breakfast specials kick off the morning with some lox and cream cheese on a signature bagel or a south-of-the-border treat, such as the breakfast enchiladas. At lunch, the deli serves a repast of triple-decker cold-cut sandwiches alongside a selection of melts. Those who spelunk deeper into the extensive menu will find such dinner eats as grilled salmon served on a bed of Israeli couscous, New York steak with sweet potato, and a brisket plate. This comes alongside a full slate of classic deli staples, including matzo ball soup, pastrami and corned beef, and organic house-made hummus and falafel—all washed down with organic coffee and tea. Parking at the restaurant is free after 6 p.m.
Owner Susan Disney Lord (a niece of Walt Disney) has transformed what was once a ho-hum tavern into the stunning Bel Air Bar and Grill. A two-story glass entryway adorned with a mural of bougainvillea leads into a modern, minimalist dining room with brick walls, dark furnishings and a working fireplace. Young professionals and Getty Center museum-goers (it‰Ûªs a three-minute drive away) gather for twists on classic American fare. Appetizer highlights include truffled mac ‰Û÷n‰Ûª cheese, fried calamari and a grilled shrimp cocktail. EntrÌ©es are simple yet hearty and flavorful, especially the moist pan-roasted branzino (Mediterranean sea bass) served with crunchy carrot farro and roast chicken accompanied by sautÌ©ed potatoes, pearl onions and corn. California labels dominate the concise wine list, which also includes a few international selections. Diners with sweet tooths won‰Ûªt want to miss the pastry chef‰Ûªs signature red velvet ding dong for dessert.
NOTE: Groupon name is ‰ÛÏBel Air Bar and Grill‰Û� but we believe it should be ‰ÛÏBel Air Bar & Grill‰Û�.
Punctuating the elegant ivory of the dining room's tablecloths and padded booths is a bright-red curtain. This drapery lines the stage where musicians at H.O.M.E. weave elaborate jazz melodies every single day. The live music mingles with aromas of dinners and Sunday brunches strewn with upscale ingredients such as truffles, organic veggies, slow-braised rabbit, and maine lobster. A wide variety of bands, solo artists, and bionic human-phonograph hybrids cycle across the stage at H.O.M.E., but the kitchen is always piloted by Executive Chef Shawn Davis, whose colorful creations feature nests of violet-streaked green sprouts, drizzles of vibrant sauces, beds of luminous gold caviar, and thin fillets of strawberry.
Villa Blanca's executive chef, Francis Dimitrius, mealmelds Mediterranean and Asian influences to create an imaginative menu that casts welcome rays of sunshine on the gloomy, fog-shrouded moors of Beverly Hills. Dinner lets you wake up your lazy, unemployed palate with appetizers such as baked king crab rolls ($12) and wild-mushroom and chorizo skewers ($14), while salad selections include the irresistible temptation that is Pandora's Salad ($12) and its blend of fresh peaches, buffalo mozzarella, mint, prosciutto, and chili honey vinaigrette. Pursuers of pasta perfection may opt for spaghetti Genovese ($16) or rock shrimp and candied ginger tagliarini ($19), while explorers of enchanting entrees will find Xanadu in the guise of braised Moroccan spiced chicken ($25), spring vegetable skewers ($16), or Kurobuta pork tenderloin ($26). Along the way, seek your sumptuous supper's soulmate amid Villa Blanca's extensive wine selection of Californian, Italian, French, and Argentinean labels, or make peace with your estranged sweet tooth over a Villa Blanca sundae ($8) off the decadent dessert directory.