Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Puck is going on

Dear Posh and Becks,

Spago wouldn't normally be considered the local joint of a neighborhood, but then again, Beverly Hills isn't a typical neighborhood. Even before you guys moved in, the place had more star wattage than perhaps any other area in the world.

Yet all joints, in whatever locale, have that odd feeling of permanence and familiarity, beyond any fad of the moment food craze.

What might be a little strange is that Spago started off with something of a gimmick - the designer pizzas. But chef Wolfgang Puck had the quality behind the innovation to last.

As far as making this one of my reviews of the 99, when I originally was going to focus on the cheap places on the list you guys might miss, OK, I'll cop to knowing someone who works there - Spago isn't exactly in a reporter's regular price range.

Since the original Spago in Hollywood closed down, the Bevery Hills restaurant is the senior of Puck's restaurants, and I think he has fun changing the menu around.

For example, the appetizer I enjoyed while I was there, stuffed lettuce leaves, isn't even on the current menu.

Not to worry. The pizzas still are. I had the one with artichokes. I skipped the entre, not only because it's expensive (knowing someone gives me an excuse to go, but not a free meal) but because I'd been told to leave room for Sherry Yard's famous deserrts.

The pizza was perfect - somehow much more intriguing and exotic than one could think a staple like pizza could be. I've eaten pizza all my life, yet at Spago, it seems like a new dish. Good stuff.

The dessert was lucious - a "chocolate purse" of rich filling folded inside a crepe topped with powdered sugar and raspberries.

Vicki should like it here - it's one of the few places in LA that people dress up for. Nothing too fancy, but the guys usually wear jackets, for example.

The dining room has oddly low ceilings at certain points, but there's a colorful glass wall that plays off the interesting art on the walls. The service at Spago is also impeccable.

The Beverly Hills locals also know that Spago will cater to regulars. There's a bunch of off-the-menu options, and even if a dish has disappeared from the menu, the kitchen will usually make it for a fan of that recipe. Plus, there's so many celebrities there, you'll likely meet friends, even if you didn't plan a date.

Final recommendation: Go, this place was made for you guys. Even if you're just running out for lunch, the kids will like the pizza.

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