While we’re on the topic of new chefs at hotels around town, we are hearing good sounds about the revamped menu at the Viceroy Santa Monica (a sister hotel to the Avalon), and plan to stop in for a meal there soon to try the new "coastal Mediterranean" menu from Chef Tony DiSalvo. The Jean-George and Gramercy Tavern-trained chef is whipping up dishes like a beet salad with truffle panna cotta ($16), Alaskan halibut with Sicilian pistachios and herbed risotto ($28), and cardamom-dusted lamb medallions with ricotta gnocchi ($32).
Explaining his philosophy, DiSalvo says, "The common thread in all my dishes is using unexpected combinations of flavor and spices, as well as underutilized ingredients, like the cauliflower I pair with scallops. It’s not the most common or sexy ingredient, but it’s surprisingly wonderful."
Now for the booze section of this roundup. BLVD 16 at the Palomar Hotel Westwood will be celebrating National Mad Hatter Day (we kid you not) on Tuesday, November 3, by hosting a wine dinner marking the U.S. release of Hewitson Wines’ 2006 Mad Hatter Shiraz. The hotel will be the last stop on proprietor Dean Hewitson’s American tour, and he will be at the dinner to answer all your questions about the vintage and his wines, and the restaurant will be decorated specially for the evening with Alice in Wonderland aplomb.
We don’t have details on the menu yet, but we can tell you that dinner will start at 7:00pm, and will run you $75 per person. To RSVP, just email: madhattertourLA@gmail.com, and follow Dean’s progress on his Twitter page. Rates for that evening will start at $164 a night.
And finally—at least chronologically speaking—we just heard about a very special wine dinner winding down at the Peninsula Beverly Hills’ restaurant, Belvedere, on Thursday and Friday, November 5 and 6. Kathleen Dirickson, the National Manager of the renowned Joseph Phelps Vineyards in Napa will take guests through a four-course tasting menu prepared by Chef James Overbaugh that will include a Dungeness crab chowder with carrots and basil, grilled Spanish mackerel with sweet corn and matsutake risotto in an almond-marjoram sauce, and a roasted loin of venison with persimmon carpaccio and grilled bak choi. For dessert, there will be guava-peach soup with oatmeal streusel, chamomile cream and coconut sorbet.
Among the wine pairings will be the 2006 Ovation Chardonnay, and the just-released 2006 Insignia Cabernet blend. The meal will run you $98 per person, though rooms at the hotel start at a whopping $495.