MIRABELLE ON SUNSET
NEW MAKEOVER FOR OLD FAVORITE
Along the fabled Sunset Strip, it’s the vanguards that truly standout among the pack, from world famous clubs such as The Roxy and Whisky-A-Go-Go, to dining favorites like Mirabelle on Sunset, and The Rainbow Bar & Grill. But unlike the music-related venues that haunt The Strip, Mirabelle’s is an old school joint that’s more Hollywood movie magic than loud rock n’ roll.
After 41 years, Mirabelle recently experienced a dramatic makeover and went from a California-Mediterranean celebrity mainstay and neighborhood institution to a more seafood-centric restaurant building a younger and more daring clientele. While original owner George Germanides is still a familiar face, greeting customers and making the rounds around the main dining room, that’s about as much of the old Mirabelle as you’re going to get.
The new Mirabelle, designed by Thomas Schoos (Koi, and The Huntley, among others), is a friendly mix of Addams Family and Beetlejuice décor, fun for groups or a wild night out. While some of the former, older patrons may be slightly put off by the new look, have a good stiff drink or two and that won’t even make a difference.
During our recent visit for dinner, we started with fresh ingredient heavy cocktails such as the spicy El Arsenal drink, which packs a welcome punch, and the sweet-tasting Gordian Knot.
Starting with items from the Small Plates menu, we went with the Yellowtail Collar, which was delectable and the meat around the bone was ever-so tender.
A better item if you’re looking to share a dish is the Lamb Cheek Flatbread, which really ups the game on popular flatbreads around town. While most restaurants offer your traditional meats, as well as savory mushrooms, and even potatoes, kudos to Mirabelle from coming up with something as delicious as lamb cheek.
Another interesting menu option is the Seafood Charcuterie, which is a very unique offering. Still playing with the small dish idea, this is good to share if you’re ordering more food or a good alternative if this is your entrée. There are seven options to choose from and each dish costs $5, although you can order any three for $13; any five for $22; or all seven for $30. We went with the Grilled Alligator and crayfish hot link with fennel slaw, along with the Octopus Terrine scented with Tunisian chilies and Beluga lentils, and the Hamachi cured in rum and pepper, served with pickled kumquats. Alligator isn’t something you see every day so we had to try it and we were glad we did. The same goes for the octopus. Mind you, this wasn’t calamari; instead it’s the whole octopus. Good stuff.
For our main dish, we split the 1 Pound Slow-Braised Pork Ribs served with Beluga lentils, roasted tomatoes, black kale and BBQ glaze. Wow! The meat was so tender is just fell right off the bone. You might think that one pound is way too much food, but remember, it is weighed with the bones and all. The glaze is mouthwateringly good and you will want to make sure not a drop goes to waste.
Celebrating its 41st anniversary, the new bar program at Mirabelle on Sunset, thanks in part to bar manager Matthew Jeronimo (formerly at Osteria Mozza, Hungry Cat, and Norman's), is really having fun creating new cocktails. The house-named Mirabelle, a spicy Fresno chili vodka concoction marinating with a mix of fresh Apple, Lavender and Lemongrass Lemonade, is terrific, as is the refreshing Summer of ’71 drink.
If you’re looking for a liquid dessert, then I recommend the following cocktails, the Going Home made with golden rum and café liqueur topped with cream is a perfect choice. The Caroline’s Fave made with scotch, cream and honey is a more traditional drink and does not disappoint.
If you’re looking for a standard dessert, then the Bailey’s Cream Cheese Frosted Carrot Rum Cake with ginger-scented roasted pineapple is a good choice. Think more mini cupcakes than large slice of cake, but sweet and decadent nonetheless.
While the change at Mirabelle has shocked some, it’s still a place you can count on for atmosphere, solid drinks and fine food. While the price of a your meal can balloon if you’re not careful, order a good, stiff drink, share a plate or two and make a wonderful night out of it.
Mirabelle Restaurant is located at 8768 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood. Call 310-659-6022. Hours: Mon-Sun 5pm - 12am; Sunday Brunch 10:30am - 4pm. Daily Happy Hour: 5pm - 7pm, and 10pm – closing, featuring all specialty cocktails and well drinks 1/2 off; beers $3, select red and white wine $5. Valet parking available.