West Hollywood: Checking Out Chef Dakota Weiss at Estrella
Estrella is the newest restaurant on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. Helmed by Chef Dakota Weiss of Top Chef fame, the sparkling restaurant brings real flavor to Hollywood.
We started with a couple of snacks while we took in the lovely patio.
A must is the popcorn with crustacean salt. It really reminded me of sausage and eggs. Chef Dakota thought it was because of the sage which is often in sausage. Whatever it is, I couldn’t stop cramming every kernel in my mouth. Bring me more?
That evening, head bartender Gia St. George introduced a new drink called the Estrella. It’s a mix of juniper gin, pamplemouse rose liqueur and star anise-infused Campari. The result is a Negroni on crack. I loved the citrus notes the grapefruit liqueur imparted.
My friend had the Living is Easy which I actually enjoyed more than her since I’m into bitter notes. The ancho chile-infused Cynar was awesome. If you like mezcal, definitely try this drink.
Living is Easy – mezcal, ancho chile-infused Cynar, pomegranate, molasses, lime
Estrella Cocktail – juniper gin, pamplemouse rose liqueur, star anise-infused Campari, lime
One of the must-gets (besides everything else on the menu) is the artichoke gucamole. It’s not actually made with avocado but with artichokes. Eaten with chips or artichoke leaves, it’s a fun appetizer.
There’s something about bone marrow that induces me to order it every time. Oh, I don’t know.. the fatty, lusciousness? Yeah, that’s it. However, this one was extra special with the quail and bed of spaetzle! I love spaetzle! Very solid choice for a solo appetizer if you don’t want to share.
I’m not sure what initially caught my eye about the hanger steak on the menu but I’m so glad we ordered it. It was so tender and I loved the chimichurri sauce. This along with a glass of wine at the bar would be my ideal meal. Estrella’s wine program is also amazing. In the last few years, I’ve come around to rose wines. I know I don’t like the sticky sweet kind but not much else. After tasting four great ones at Estrella, I decided I really like old world ones, yes, from France– get the Les Clans rose. It’s delicious.
But back to cocktails. I love the name of the tequila and mezcal drink, Sex, Drugs, Rock n’ Roll– it’s so Hollywood. It’s perfect. But it’s not all rough edges. The rosemary honey tames it. And the ginger keeps it refreshing.
Sex, Drugs, Rock n’ Roll – reposado tequila, mezcal, ginger syrup, rosemary honey, lime, nutmeg
Initially I thought we had enough food so we weren’t going to get the branzino but added it last minute. I’m so glad we did. It’s amazing! And I loved the chunks of lobster. Talk about surf and surf! Gimme all the seafood. The skin of the fish was perfect. And the lobster tasted so fresh. When shellfish is slightly dreamy sweet, that’s how I know it’s straight from the ocean.
For a vegetable, we tried out the long beans. I liked the cracked wheat and crispy maitake mushrooms in the brothy dish. It’s a nice change from simply grilled beans.
The most stunning cocktail is the Dream On. Slinky like a sexy little black dress, this vodka drink with activate charcoal screams VIP status. Who needs copper mugs to be trendy? Bring on the coupes.
Dream On – vodka, grape juice, ginger syrup, lime, meringue cloud, activated charcoal
When we first got the fried chicken, I thought it was the chicken paillard because I was expecting a breaded and fried chicken. However, this perfect chicken didn’t need it. The crispy skin was slightly sweet from honey. My friend and I shared this dish and we still took home leftovers.
I was told we needed to get the basil dark chocolate pate with ghost pepper creme fraiche. I’ve always been a big fan of chocolate and spice. This was great and I loved how thick the chocolate was– I love dense brownies so this reminded me of one.
We also got the honey pound cake because I have a special fondness for pound cake. If you want to keep things on the lighter side, don’t order dessert. But if you’re going allllllll the way out, this is living.
I can’t wait to come back to check out brunch! I’ve heard things about the bacon wrapped avocado and egg thing!(310) 652-6613 © The Minty 2015