La Siene – Dinner January 29, 2012
Imagine a perfect place to enjoy kosher food on the famous Restaurant Row in Beverly Hills, with all the bells and whistles of great creative gastronomic cuisine. Well you don’t have to dream anymore. La Siene is the perfect place for a romantic, cozy and comfortable experience… and if you happen to be Kosher, even better!
Chef Alex Reznik, who was on Top Chef, Washington DC, season 7 created a menu that is both fun and spirited. He said when owner Laurent Masliah approached him it felt like maybe this was the right move, as he would be going back to his Jewish roots, even though he does not keep Kosher at home. A great deal of the guests that come to La Siene have been eating nothing but kosher food their whole life so for them this is truly a home cooked meal.
Other kosher restaurants remain stagnated to menus written ﬁfteen years ago, Alex’ philosophy is that every day there will be a new idea, a new special, a new concept while still adhering to Kosher laws. However, he emphasizes that the dietary guidelines do not dictate the quality and taste of the cuisine at his restaurant. “La Seine is designed not as a kosher restaurant, but as a great restaurant that just happens to be kosher,” he notes. “I simply wanted to create the kind of restaurant where I, personally, would enjoy eating.”
I have fond memories of this location as a kid, growing up near La Cienega and Olympic, Tiny Naylor’s was a past haunt for me. It’s had a few other incarnations, and the famous diagonal roof still reminds me of my childhood. The interior has a traditional steakhouse feel, lots of wood, 2 fireplaces, beautiful hardwood ﬂoors, and nice large banquets. Being raised Jewish, but not Kosher I did not feel like anything was taken away from me during my experience at La Siene. Kosher foods are those that conform to the regulations of the Jewish Halakhic law framework, kosher meaning ﬁt or allowed to be eaten. You absolutely can’t have pork or shellﬁsh on a kosher menu, but the sushi items and the salmon were very satisfying. The rest of the menu is so tantalizing, you really have no idea that it is a strictly kosher establishment. All the ingredients are fresh and everything is made from scratch.
I started out with two signature cocktails that were both fantastic. Mixologist JP recommended drinks that had a little bite; he also suggested the sushi tasted below: Real Dirty Martini with haute vodka, olive juice, black olive dust, salty but thirst quenching, the perfect blending, at the right temperature. Paramus with vodka, fresh lemon, pomegranate, jalapeño, very exhilarating, the ﬂoating jalapeno peppers added some heat packed in at the end. The Tuna and Salmon Sushi were about the freshest sushi I ever experienced. The Rising Sun Roll Spicy Tuna, with tempura salmon, and spicy sauce was very fresh and colorful, with lots of wonderful sauces. The Goodwin Yellowtail, with spicy big eye tuna, avocado, and tempura. Deep-fried, but very light, the sauces are hot and sweet, and the ﬁsh is super fresh like it was just caught today. The spectacular presentation makes for mouth-watering anticipation.
The wines paired by colorful sommelier Adnen Marouani: Chateau Bonﬁls, sauvignon blanc, entre deux mers, this light and fruity wine went great with both soups, and the sushi. Caves & Domaines, Chardonnay, Lazio, Italy, 2009, this lovely balanced Chardonnay went great with the salmon and the pasta. Weinstock, cabernet sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2008 paired great with the rib eye, bold and strong, but not interfering with the rich meat ﬂavors. Hunter Valley Shiraz, Australia, great with the lamb, nice tones with ripen fruit adds lovely nuances to the sauce and the meat. Florenza, proseco, Florence, Italy, NV, a great bubbling accompaniment with the delectable desert items.
A little unsure what to order, our gracious host and general manager Natanel Marciano offered up these following menu items: Applewood smoked tomato soup with garlic, crustini, pea tendril, it has a delicious smoky bbq ﬂavor, rich and smooth. Jerusalem Artichoke / Sun choke Soup there are so many killer ﬂavors, served up in a nice oval white bowl, very homey. Veal Sweetbread Nuggets with banana, ketchup, fennel, mint, and cilantro. All the ﬂavors are nicely well rounded, not your typical sweetbread dish, where the sweetbread are not minced but cooked whole, this will be a disguise for people that are skeptical of this dish. I happen to love whole sautéed sweetbreads. Copper River Salmon with Israeli couscous, tomato water and pine nuts. The Salmon is tender with a nice tomato crust and the Israeli Couscous adds an exotic texture in your mouth. Hand Torn Pasta, chicken, nanban, pesto, blistered tomato, so wonderful, the pasta melts in your mouth, and homemade. All the ingredients go together like a ﬁne symphony, with none of them out doing each other. Absolutely a highlight in my meal. Boneless Rib Eye with béarnaise chimichur and ginger soy sauce served with pommes frites. The meat is cooked perfectly with a nice ﬂavorful crust. The potatoes are cooked with sage leaves that are fried and adds another dimension to these amazing potatoes. A must have for me from now on. Lamb Chops, conﬁt ﬁngerling potato scapes, thyme jus; this dish has little bites of heaven. All the components makes for a hearty surprise in every mouthful, very satisfying.
Deserts were amazing:
Lemon Tart Soufﬂé and Flourless Chocolate Soufﬂé, served with Coconut Ice Cream, both were ﬂawless, done with beauty and precision.
I really can’t say enough about this place! The food was remarkable, so many choices and all prepared fresh, producing one of a kind ﬂavors. The service was fantastic; you never had to ask for anything, it was all served with big smiles. The location doesn’t get any better then this, and La Siene has adhered to the standard of excellence that Restaurant Row is known for. An exciting experience, and highly recommended.
14 N. La Cienega, BH 90211
(Make sure you call and check their hours on any given day, they are closed for any Jewish Holiday and on the Shabbath.)