Los Angeles, California

April 2008

It was a Saturday night in Beverly Hills which meant Spago was very, very busy.  We landed a seat in the garden which I know is fashionable but it was a chilly evening.  Consequently, even with the omnipresent state of numerous space heaters, I was cold.  Rachel, in a spaghetti strap dress, thought being outside was wonderful.

Besides the tourists (and yes, we were tourists, too and I’m not ashamed to admit it), there were a couple of birthday parties and some guys cooking deals.  The service however was a tad off that evening.  They were slow to bring the menus, a wine list, some bread, some water.   

We looked at the menu; the last time Lynn and I had been there, albeit for lunch, I thought the prices had been high and portions small.  Tonight was no different.  (How can any chef justify charging $59 for a veal chop even before the financial meltdown?)    Rachel had her dream appetizer that night: thin slices of prosciutto with a decent portion of burratta on the side.  Watching her devour her first course, I almost thought, Beverly Hills or no Beverly Hills, she might actually eat the plate, too.  I started with homemade tagliarini with peeky toe crab meat.  Lynn had the homemade agnoletti with fresh peas.  The pastas were both very good but simply prepared.

Rachel, a lover of both sushi-quality and barely “touched” tuna ordered her next dish, tuna, rare.  So did Lynn. I had a wonderful halibut with chanterelles in a mushroom and bean nage.  For dessert, the three of us split the chocolate beignets with pecan ice cream with a banana flavored cream and a caramel dipping sauce.  But because I couldn’t resist my German upbringing, I also ordered Wolfgang’s Kaiserschmarren, listed on the menu as one of his childhood favorites.  In most Munich beer halls, Kaiserschmarren are usually crepe-like pancakes that have been cut up with a knife and sprinkled with powdered sugar and raisins.  Spago‘s version was more soufflé-like than pancake-like and topped with perfectly ripe California strawberries.  We washed the meal down with a Las Brisas Pinot Noir from the Roessler Vineyard.

Wrap up: The food was good but nothing tremendously exciting was happening on the plates.


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