The Sunset Marquis, tucked on a side street just off of Sunset Boulevard, has been the secluded hotel for actors, comedians, writers, artists, filmmakers, fashion designers, models, billionaires and, of course, rock stars since 1963. Hidden as it is, it is a location that easily falls out of my purview. But a meeting with a winemaker a few months ago and then a recent media dinner I attended revealed the restaurant at this intimate hotel as a place to put on the radar.
Drive up the residential street Alta Loma and just south of Sunset, you will notice the valet standing out front. There are no large signs and from the street at first glance, the building entrance looks like the neighboring apartments. But once you park and walk inside, you will be amazed that the Sunset Marquis spreads over four acres. Hard to believe when you think of the busy Sunset Strip a few steps away.
Walk through the lobby, through a courtyard and wander up a lit path until you come to the restaurant Cavatina.
Two years ago, Boston-based Michael Schlow opened Cavatina, his first Los Angeles restaurant. One of the most influential and respected chefs in America today, Chef Schlow and Executive Chef Jonathan Kim are showcasing local California products in simple, creative dishes.
Chef Schlow was in town recently to launch new menu items in collaboration with Chef Kim who has recently been promoted from Executive Sous Chef to Executive Chef. Chef Kim has worked around Los Angeles at notable restaurants Water Grill and Providence. Together they are creating dishes that meld the various cultures and flavors that represent Los Angeles. Chef Schlow described the food as “simple foods but interesting textures.”
The raw fish dishes lived up to Chef Schlow’s intent. All delicate and delicious, each bite was filled with a myriad of flavors, from the Kusshi oyster (Fennel puree, caviar) and Albacore Poke (dragon fruit, tobiko, coconut soy) to the Hamachi (piquillo puree, serrano chili relish, avocado mousse, masago, purple plum radish) and Scallop Crudo (nori oil, pickled apples, sesame powder, hijiki, radish).
The Pork Belly Risotto with kimchi, egg, crispy shallots and sweet chile is a reflection of Chef Kim’s style, adding his Korean heritage to influence the dish.
The warm shrimp, lobster and chorizo with piquillo pepper, spicy aioli and pearl onion is like a stew and is topped with crispy rice that adds a crunch to the texture.
Prime dry aged New York strip, chestnut puree, purple cauliflower, truffle beurre monte, veal jus is cooked to perfection, medium rare on the inside but with a nice char on the outside.
I asked the server to select wines to pair with the food and was happy with his selections. I had an assumption that as it is a hotel restaurant, the wine list might be a bit elementary and predictable but I was pleasantly surprised by the selection of small production wines.
Desserts: For chocolate lovers, the Chocolate Marquee is all about chocolate – chocolate cake, chocolate ganache and chocolate mousse. The crème fraiche cheesecake with hazelnut streusel, Dulce de Leche and espresso coffee ice cream is light in taste but rich in flavor.
at the Sunset Marquis Hotel
1200 Alta Loma Rd
West Hollywood, CA