Beso, the posh eatery in the heart of Hollywood, is blessed with a double kiss of success.
The first is with Chef Todd English, he of Olives fame in Boston (and numerous other restaurants across the country as well), who arrives in L. A. with this new step into the world of Latin fusion with Beso; the second is with actress Eva Longoria, English’s partner in the venture. He brings a world-class food pedigree; she brings celebrity glamour, a fact that was obvious on our recent visit there, as beautiful people were absolutely everywhere you looked – including both the hostesses and wait staff as well as the space-filling clientele.
The space is beautiful as well (albeit a bit on the dark side), with sweeping high ceilings, gigantic crystal chandeliers, and comfy oversized leather dining chairs. An open kitchen area anchors the room, with both a wood-burning oven that sends delicious cooking scents into the air, as well as a ceviche bar where the displayed whole fresh fish is transformed into one of the best dishes in the world of Latin cuisine. The ceviche changes regularly; as part of the daily specials the night we visited, it was sea bass mixed with basil, cucumber, red onion, and crème fraiche.
Start your meal with one of Beso’s fresh signature cocktails, like the Blackberry Vodka Collins, a heady muddle of blackberries, Grey Goose Vodka, and lemon, or the Tequila Spa, Herradura Silver Tequila, cucumbers, red grapes, and lemon. Both pair well with the two guacamoles offered; a traditional, spicy avocado version, and an unexpected artichoke guac, smooth and tasty. Try the raw oysters (Malpeque, Kumamoto, and GoldBand were available on our visit) to start, or the delicious heirloom tomato salad, served with a cheese-stuffed squash blossom quesadilla and paired with a crisp 2006 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier.
Beso’s wine list is extensive, but if tasting the various menu offerings that range from seafood to steaks is on your agenda, ask your waiter to pair their by-the-glass offerings with each course. For example, the caramelized scallops served with a corn and bacon ragu on a bed of cooked lettuce paired perfectly with the 2006 Licia Albariño Rias Baixnas Spanish white wine, while the 2005 Grant Burge Miamba Shiraz from Australia, soft and almost tannic-free, enhanced the dense flavor of the sirloin steak served with Beso’s signature BBQ sauce. And the intensely flavorful Strawberry Rhubarb dessert (don’t miss the strawberry-balsamic sorbet that anchors this dish) paired elegantly with a glass of 2003 Quinto do Noval port.
Latin-influenced dishes that we did not try include the Beso Paella; Shrimp Mojo de Ajo; Plantain and Black Bean Taco; and Eva’s Tortilla Soup. Obviously, another visit is in order!
6350 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90028