Boxwood Restaurant at the London Hotel

I went to Gordon Ramsay at the London Hotel many years ago during DineLA but had not been back and then heard it closed over a year ago. I never heard if a new place opened but apparently Boxwood has been the restaurant at the London Hotel for over a year now.

I recently went with a friend for a media dinner and was intrigued with what we would experience. For years the Sunset Strip was not a foodie destination but with restaurants like Eveleigh and The Churchkey, I anticipated that anything new would aspire to be on the same level. The restaurant is opulent with views overlooking the lights of the Sunset Strip, textured white walls and leather banquettes. Unfortunately, Boxwood does not live up to the quality of food that those other restaurants offer.

The menu at Boxwood seems to have a little of everything, from sushi to pasta to chicken tikka masala to steak. Although there are Japanese, Indian, Italian, French and American dishes, the menu is not an international menu. The menu does not seem to have a purpose or direction. It seems more like a hotel restaurant that is trying to appeal to all but not necessarily pleasing anyone.

We started with a few cocktails. I would define the quality of drink not only by its balance but by it being finished. Sadly none of the drinks at our table were finished.

The Heir and the Spare (Peligrosso Cinnamon Tequila, Pimms, Ginger Beer, Orange Puree, Lemon Twist) is very hot and sweet and tastes like a cinnamon red hot candy. London Calling (Mezcal, St. Germain, Averna, Lemon Juice) has too much going on, from the smokiness of the mezcal, the sweetness of the St. Germain, the bitterness of the Averna and the citrus of the lemon juice. The Eye (Basil Haydens, Strawberry, Blueberry, Mint) is too light and the fruit adds sweetness but does not add depth or acidity.

As this was a media dinner, we were served almost every dish on the menu. We were off to a great start with the Bread and Sea Salt, served warm and fresh with a crispy crust.

Bread, Sea Salt

With all of the amazing sushi available in Los Angeles, it is not worth serving anything less. The rice in the Spicy Big Eye Tuna Roll was dry and cold which affected the overall taste of this dish.

Spicy Bigeye Tuna Roll, Tempura, Jalapeno Aioli

The Crab Toast was enjoyable with meaty chunks of crab and fresh green papaya salad and the siracha adds a little heat.

Crab Toast, Green Papaya Salad, Sriracha

I liked the Mushroom Curry Custard but would have liked more curry custard. The Crisp Rice Cakes, which are crackers not cakes, are very tasty but not a good fit with the custard as the flavor was lost. A simple crostini would be a better pairing.

Mushroom, Curry Custard Jar, Crisp Rice Cake

The Local Burrata with Castelvetrano Olives and White Truffle Cream is a bit disjointed. The burrata is on top of a flaky puff pastry that absorbs the liquid from the oil and cheese. When cutting a bite, the crust does not break up easily and most of it is left on the plate while the burrata is on the fork.

Local Burrata, Castelvetrano Olives and White Truffle Cream

It is called Caesar Salad with Spiced Beef Tartare but there were only two pieces of hearts of romaine so a salad it is not. The beef tartare sat on a toasted bread cracker. There are two steak fries sitting on the plate as well that did not make a lot of sense to the dish.

Caesar Salad, Spiced Beef Tartare, Steak Fries

The Steamed Mussels, Fennel Sausage unfortunately had a very ocean-y taste. They were not off but they just did not taste the way I like mussels to taste.

Steamed Mussels, Fennel Sausage

The Charcoal Roasted Carrots, Sunflower Tahini, Medjool Dates was a plate of large full-size carrots. It is an earthy dish but the plating is a bit off-putting.

Charcoal Roasted Carrots, Sunflower Tahini, Medjool Dates

The Tagliatelle Pasta was not cooked al dente and the Sonoma Duck Confit, which looked like meat loaf, was dry. Sadly this plate did not work.

Tagliatelle Pasta, Sonoma Duck Confit

The Spiced Pumpkin Gnocchi with Bellwether Ricotta and Roasted Pistachios also has large pieces of pumpkin and mushrooms and was one of the better dishes of the night.

Spiced Pumpkin Gnocchi, Bellwether Ricotta, Roasted Pistachios