What It’s Like To Dine In L.A. Coolest Restaurant — Cleo Hollywood!By Delaina Dixon | September 3, 2019 | Travel
It’s not often I get off the plane in Los Angeles and go straight to one of the hottest restaurants in Los Angeles. But that was the case when I arrived in Tinsletown for a press dinner at Cleo Hollywood.
Cleo, part of the SBE Entertainment Grop family, is a Hollywood staple. But it closed down in February 2018 for extensive renovations to make it more modern and in line with its sister restaurants across the globe. It’s new look feels casual chic with an intense focus on its dishes and libations and we were ready to take full advantage. To make my experience even more focused I took a friend who is a top concierge at the Langham Huntington in Pasadena, Calif., and is always looking for great eateries to share with his guests.
We were greeted by an impeccable and attractive staff who were laser-focused on making our experience flawless. We were offered wine on the onset along with a look at Cleo’s extensive cocktail menu. With a thumbs up from our waiter who had great hair, I ordered the “Kool It Now” (yes, someone loves their New Edition references). It was refreshing and light, a must to handle the four courses I was about to dig into — I needed all the space I can get!
We started our food odyssey, carefully curated by Chief Culinary Officer, Chef Martin Heierling, with house-cured olives and pickled vegetables, a perfect choice to get the palette ready for the Mediterranean feast to come. The trio of dips: baba ganoush, hummus and lebaneh, a tart stringy cheese, were good enough to eat on their own. Dipping in Cleo’s house-baked Jou Jou bread just took it to another level.
Our first course included a Greek salad full of fresh veggies and olives. And then there were salt-roasted beets marinated with mint dill and lemon. I love salmon. So when our second course kicked off the Balik Salmon Trio, I couldn’t stop grinning. Slices of raw salmon are served in three cures: natural, beet and truffle. The truffle was tart and delicious.
Cleo is known for its Spicy Cigars, a mix of spiced beef, lebaneh and feta, fried in Brik pastry. It was enough for me to break my low carb diet, but I was happy to see fried cauliflower also on the night’s menu with blue cheese tahini.
I felt bad for my pal once the main course came. The first dish was the “Güveç” which was a hotpot of baked shrimp (he’s allergic to shrimp) and halloumi cheese. Luckily my pal could dive into the prime beef shish kebab and the whole grilled branzino. Crisp on the outside and flaky inside, it was so tasty. And just in case that wasn’t enough, it was served with sides of rosemary potatoes and charred green asparagus, yum.
At this point, we weren’t sure if we could get any more food down. But diving into one more cocktail, my pal loved the Old Man and The Sea (bourbon, fig and bitters), we found a little space for dessert. Tapioca pudding and lemon cheesecake? Yes, please sir, would like some more.
So next time you get off a plane, head straight to your reservation at Cleo Hollywood, 1717 Vine St, Los Angeles.