NIC’S BEVERLY HILLS
SEXY + COOL + VODKA = GOOD TIMES!
Since 1997, Larry Nicola’s Nic’s Beverly Hills has been a hip vodka lounge and restaurant that aptly mixes the restaurateur’s passion for cooking art and music in a sleek, swank, comfortable and colorful setting.
Nicola combines imaginative modern American fare with a multitude of ethnic influences reflecting the culinary diversity and vibe of the city as well as Nicola's extensive international travel. The culture at Nic's Beverly Hills pairs one of America's most dynamic martini bars including Nicola's own creation VODBOX with inspired urban cuisine where steaks and spa are equally at home.
Nicola’s latest creative slant is his Poolside menu concept, where he showcases carefree, sexy summer comfort food to perfection.
“Every menu is a story, with a beginning, a middle and an end,” Nicola explains.
The Poolside menu at Nic’s has delicate balance from light to heavy with ample selections of meat, fish and farmer’s market vegetables.
“It has finesse without being precious,” Nicola offers.
The revamped menu harkens back to Beverly Hills’ iconic pool and cabana culture circa the ‘50s and ‘60s, featuring Potato Skins from Silverlake’s L.A. Nicola Restaurant and the famous oysters he’s been serving for decades.
During our recent visit we just had to start with a couple of martinis. The Ultimate Sexy Beach, featuring Ultimat Vodka, fresh pressed pineapple, lemon, and toasted anise, and the My Honey Does, made with Ketle One Vodka with honeydew and fresh vanilla, were highly recommended. While both were extremely tasty and refreshing, I found them a bit too sweet for my taste. These are great for a nice, fun start to your evening or for the drinker who likes sweet over bite.
If you’re looking for the real-deal martini, then no look no further than Nic’s Martini made with Beluga Vodka, served straight up with Olive “Bella.” You just know that Nic’s signature martini is going to be badass and this one will floor you, so pace yourself.
Now that you have a real drink in hand, you just have to start with the famous Nic’s Oysters sautéed and served with spinach, walnuts and garlic. This is the perfect way to start your meal, and they pair so well with the vodka martini.
Another great starter item is the Vodka Cured Salmon on pumpernickel raisin crostini served with caper dill aioli. It’s light and fresh and so delectable.
If you started with sugary martinis, now is a good time to switch to something with a little more bite (the same goes if you can’t take on a second round of Nic’s Martini) and I recommend the Last Mango in Paris made with Milagro Silver Tequila, fresh mango juice and lime. It goes down easy and still offers a bit of a bite.
If you’re still looking for lighter items, go with the Watercress and Peaches Guacamole served with cotija and Meyer lemon. This is a great dish to share. Tasty and not so filling, it also just pairs so wonderfully with a martini, as does the Ceviche Peru Day Boat Scallops, prepared with aji amarillo, lime and watermelon radish. These dishes are savory and yet light and fresh.
If it’s time for a hearty menu option, go with the Pork Belly on Toast with Cardamom, roasted plums and pumpkin oil. The flavors here are overwhelming and if you’re still working on your Nic’s Martini, they will only get enhanced. This is a great choice to really take your meal to the next level.
As our main entrée, we went with the recommended Pan Seared Fillet with blueberries and crispy onions. Can you say hearty and delicious? While a $39 steak may be out of the ordinary for some, this fillet is so very tasty and a great option to share and save a bit. Again, this is paired so well with a good martini, you’re at Nic’s after all so go for vodka pairings rather than wine.
If you saved room for dessert, which you really should, there are some great options. The Hot Fudge Sundae with homemade vanilla bean marshmallow, mocha chip gelato and toasted walnuts is a must-have. Sure it’s a decadent delight, but this is where the “live a little” mantra comes in to play. It’s so worth the extra calories I’m ashamed to say. Another fun choice is the Pink Peppercorn Pavlova with organic peaches, vanilla cream and basil syrup—it’s so sweet and just plain delicious.
Of course no trip to Nic’s Beverly Hills is complete without a visit to the VODBOX, the ultimate walk-in, drink-in exhibitionist freezer designed solely for the enjoyment of vodka in its purest form. Glass and stainless steel coat the freezer's exterior while white leather shelving lines the room with hundreds of bottles, from the fashionable and exclusive to the obscure, while the center table (a wooden Nicola family heirloom, circa 1945) is prepared for tastings led by Vodkateur Larry Nicola or one of Nic's "Vodka Impresarios."
Before entering the VODBOX, guests are provided with faux fur coats/hats (leopard or black). Once inside the 28°F freezer, your vodka expert will walk you through the variable plethora of vodka choices you have, and can even make you some tasty vodka cocktails with only matching vodkas as the sole ingredients. If you request the VODBOX as part of your dining experience, your vodka ambassador will approach your table in between appetizers and entrees and invite you into the VODBOX. After the tasting, you will return to your table for the main course.
Since there are some serious and savory martinis to be had at Nic’s Beverly Hills, you may want to include a cab ride as part your night-out plans, or be really good to your designated driver. With a cool, swank setting, delicious food and ever-so-good cocktails, good times are sure to be had.
Nic’s Beverly Hills is located at 453 North Canon Drive in Beverly Hills. Hours: Monday-Wednesday 4pm to 12am; Thursday-Saturday 4pm to 2am. Call 310-550-5707. Valet parking available.