COMFORT FOOD THE BEVERLY HILLS WAY
Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills may very well be one of the most famous streets in the world. Known for its shopping, glitz and glamour, Rodeo Drive means a lot of things to people—from elegance to excess. And atop the famous steps at Via Rodeo sits 208 Rodeo, which aptly balances signature dishes with a California menu that is driven by high-quality local, seasonal ingredients and incorporates both European and Asian accents.
The scene at 208 Rodeo is literally out of a movie—Pretty Woman to be exact. Who can ever forget Julia Roberts at the Via Rodeo steps? In fact, dining alfresco at 208 Rodeo is a pretty special experience as you take in the sights along Wilshire Boulevard across the street from the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Although the night we dined outside, singer Rod Stewart and his family ate inside.
The setting at Via Rodeo is that of a classic Italy with its cobblestone streets, that or Caesars Palace or a movie backlot. Either way 208 Rodeo is the cherry on top where you can relax, people watch as you indulge with fine drink and fare. I recommend starting your experience with the Spicy M, a fantastic mix of Avion Silver Tequila, house sour, jalapeño, and mango. Very nice!
Other pleasing cocktails include La Dolce Vita with Avion espresso tequila, Grey Goose vodka, and a mint garnish, which is a little boozy, but still light and not too minty. The Salt N’ Pepper with The Botanist gin, lime, muddled cucumber, salt and pepper is refreshing with a pleasant cucumber taste. I would stay away from El Guapo, which I found too sweet, or the too sour tasting Maverick. The Old Fashioned with Basil Hayden’s bourbon, bitters, muddled orange, and maraschino cherry is a good, classic offering.
But if you’re looking to dine, then I say start with the French Onion Soup with croutons and Swiss Cheese. It just works and the setting just feels right. The Cheese Plate with Chef’s selection of imported and local cheeses is also a nice sharable starter as you begin your dining experience.
Other fine appetizers include the Tuna Tartare with sashimi grade ahi tuna, spicy ginger ponzu, micro greens, and crispy wontons as it’s light and fresh, along with the Sesame Shrimp with sautéed shrimp, tangerine reduction, sweet Thai chili, sesame, and toasted coconut. That was a favorite of ours.
The pasta dishes come across as Beverly Hills style comfort food. You can’t go wrong with the Mushroom Gnocchi with potato dumplings, wild mushrooms, asparagus, peas, porcini broth, parmesan, truffle butter, and scallions, or the Bolognese with lamb, fire roasted tomato sauce, cream, mint, and pappardelle pasta. These are hearty and heavenly.
For our entrée, we went with the Roasted Chicken with half semi-boneless chicken, potato dumplings, baby carrots, English peas, baby turnips, and madeira jus, which was very nice and hardly diet-busting. Other menu guilty pleasures include the Wagyu Burger, and the Steak Frites.
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of liquid dessert so do yourself a favor and make sure to get the Chocolat warm cocktail with Kraken black spiced rum, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, dark chocolate, and cream float. It’s “fan-fuckin’ tastic!” Is that even a word? But it is the very first thing that came out of my mouth when I tried the divine drink. It’s the perfect way to finish off a wonderful meal in Beverly Hills. It’s up there on my list of best nightcaps as it truly is a showstopper.
While 208 Rodeo is definitely a tourist spot—do note they automatically include gratuity on all checks—it’s also a great, unassuming gem for locals. The setting is stellar and actually void of pretention setting the stage for a marvelous meal in Beverly Hills.
208 Rodeo is located at 208 N. Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Call 310-275-2428.
Story by Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy: 208 Rodeo
Two Salad Photos By: Jakob Layman