Anyone been to Avra in BH?

Friends:

Wondering if anyone’s been to Avra in Beverly Hills, and if so, what did you think? I’m impressed by the variety of fish offered - if well-prepared, I’d be eager to go.

thanks in advance.

Roz

A place to see and (more importantly) be seen.

This sounds good.

“LIVE LANGOUSTINES
Scottish harvest langoustines. Same day from shore to door and grilled to perfection”

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Made it to Avra this evening.

I would describe Avra as a sort of upscale Olive Garden. Hated, hated, hated the room. Ugly, bland and upscale chain restaurant looking – the kind of place you might find in a suburban gated community or a recently remodeled mid-tier resort hotel. I have also gotten so used to music playing in restaurants (was recently at Bavel, where, to my surprise, I liked the music quite a bit) that it seemed strange that there was no music playing at all at Avra (unless there was Muzak playing in the background that only an animal with good hearing could hear). Everything just felt very suburban (or maybe Beverly Hills is a suburb - the Calabasas of Los Angeles).

On to the food. First they bring you out a complimentary plate of pita chips, radishes that are soaked in sweet syrup and which were dreadful, olives and a small portion of mediocre hummus. The menu is rather large, but we were interested in the whole fish. You walk to the back of the restaurant and peruse the offerings – everything ranges from about $36 a pound to I believe over $60 a pound and all the fish are at least a pound. We chose Lavraki, which is a kind of whitefish, and which was the cheapest by the pound of all the offerings. You don’t know how much it actually will be until they weigh your fish – ours came out to $48.30. The whole fish comes with nothing. You have to order a side if you want anything else to eat with it. We ordered grilled vegetables for $12.95. The fish was okay – nothing special – and the vegetables were bland and uninteresting. I would been much happier eating fish at Michael Cimarusti’s fish restaurant at Eataly. And if we hadn’t stuffed ourselves with complimentary pita chips because we were starving and it took quite awhile for the fish to arrive, the fish would not have been enough food for two.

We drank a white Greek wine by the glass called Moschofilero which wasn’t bad (and which was better than the insipid white Greek Assyrtiko that we also had a taste of). We also had a Greek red, Troupis “Fteri” Agiorgitiko, which was insipid. It retails for about $15 a bottle and the restaurant offers it for $17 a glass. I don’t mind paying high restaurant markups if I am going to discover a great wine, but the wine list at Avra is as uninteresting as perusing the wine aisle at your local supermarket.

There is no way I would ever return to Avra. Too many good restaurants in L.A. to waste time and money with something like that.

After dinner, we thought we would go to the bar at Cut as I had looked at the Cut wine list by the glass and they had a decent selection of dessert wines (although the non-dessert by the glass list is unimaginative). We walked over to Cut, but were surprised to find both the restaurant and the bar closed for Labor Day.

We ended up at the Rooftop Bar at the Waldorf. I hadn’t been there since Christmas, when the wine list sucked, and the wine list still sucks. How badly did the wine list suck? Well, I decided to order club soda instead of wine. I also ordered a dessert - pound cake with cherry sorbet, which was mediocre. Against my strong advice, my dining companion ordered a glass of Scarpetta Pinot Grigio – you can pick up a bottle at Total Wine for $12. The Rooftop Bar sells it for $18 a glass or $68 a bottle. My dining companion pronounced it the worst wine she had ever had in her entire life. I tasted it and it was awful. Out of curiosity and because I would never return to the Rooftop Bar without bringing my own wine, I asked the very nice bartender how much corkage was and it is $65. Which might be okay, but the few times I ate at the Rooftop Bar last year, the food sucked. So much so that I joked to someone in the restaurant industry that the Rooftop Bar would be a great place to hang out if only they let you bring both your own food and your own wine. He said he didn’t think that was a viable business plan for a restaurant.

After tonight, my new mantra is “I will never dine out again in Beverly Hills.” When I was in college, the joke was that the closer you are to a university town, the worse the food (because college students will eat anything) and I think you can replace that with the closer you are to Beverly Hills the worse the food.

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Dear Lord.

Nah, Calabasas is way more faux-rustic, no?

Wally’s was pretty good (the one time I went). And there’s Chaumont (stick w/ the pastries there).

I think it’s more commentary about the heightened conspicuous consumption in both communities (which I tend to agree with). #blingbethenorm

The virtue of Wally’s is that you know you can get wine there that is at least drinkable, but the few times I went, I really did not enjoy Wally’s food. As to Chaumont, I am a huge lover of all things egg, but I have always felt Chaumont’s egg dishes were overpriced and not that great. I agree that the bread and pastries at Chaumont are pretty good.

I really don’t understand why JG Rooftop Bar at the Waldorf is so bad, other than the crowd seems to be mostly those who just turned 21 out on dates, so they can get away with serving whatever because of the nice ambience and because the 21-year-olds don’t know any better (lots of 21-year-olds on dates at Avra as well). I guess I would have thought the Rooftop Bar was pretty cool when I was 21 as well – being there last night, with the undrinkable Pinot Grigio, made me recall being 17 and being introduced to alcohol consumption through Andre Cold Duck. Hmmn - you can pick up a bottle of Cold Duck at Total Wine for $5, so that would be about $60 a bottle at the Rooftop Bar. Seriously, I love Jean-Georges’ abcV in New York (the sambal egg dosa is one of the most perfect dishes in the world), so I can’t understand how Jean Georges is not embarrassed to put his name on the Rooftop Bar.

Jean-Georges is “just mailing it in” in L.A., I feel.

I used to respect the brand more before the BH opening. Now I’m waiting for “Vong’s Breakfast Waffles” in the frozen aisle at my local epicerie.

Agreed, but it doesn’t make his namesake in NYC any less fantastic. Jean Georges was my first 3 star, super haute cuisine meal, so it holds a special place in my heart.

Because roof top (paying for the view) + Beverly Hills (conspicuous consumption is de rigueur) + Waldorf hotel (captive audience)

Stopped for a drink and ordered a Casa Amigos Silver in a bucket glass. $27 I kid you not. Was so shocked I asked if it was for the bottle or glass.

was it one shot?

giphy

Salud! To making Mr. Clooney and Mr. Gerber even richer. lol

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Pssst… They sold the company

I think you’d really like it. Pricey. But they’re not playin’.

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Picked up a few from Eataly last weekend

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Avra Beverly Hills Estiatorio aka The Last Supper

I’m sorry folks didn’t like Avra. I get it. It appears to have all the trappings of the Beverly Hills restaurant - fashion over function (in this case over food) and so damn pricey. But they have some exceptional seafood offerings, so…


(internet photo) Shhh… I also enjoy the space - white tablecloths, light, open, decorated in what the designers call urban contemporary. Okay, okay, with a side of contrived. Definitely a power lunch, ladies who lunch spot. But I like a little of that action every now & then.

Complimentary Crispy Pita & Relish Tray of Hummus, Olives & Radish, Extra Virgin Olive Oil on every table

My 1st visit was lunch and my friend treated, so out of politeness I refrained from snapping my usual flurry of pics.

We had glasses of Taittinger Brut (nice seeing this tasty champagne making a come back) and the Prix Fixe Lunch ($29.50) - Lemon Chicken Soup w/a kick of pepper, Hawaiian Big-Eye Tuna Tartare w/Waffle Potato Chips, Grilled Filet of White Fish (can’t remember name), Chocolate Yogurt Cheesecake w/Raspberry-Rosewater Sauce, Chocolate Bark. Starting to get pleasantly surprised by Avra. I liked the clean flavors of the delicate lemony soup, fresh tuna (needs a tad more citrus) and unadorned, charcoal grilled fish with just olive oil, lemon & sea salt.

2nd Visit - Dinner


(internet photo)

I had a glass of Taittinger :clinking_glasses: and my girlfriend had a pink drink called Aphrodite’s Kiss w/Vodka, Watermelon, Lilit Rose & Lemon. She didn’t like it, but she only likes fruity drinks with no alcohol taste, so.

Complimentary Crispy Pita / Hummus, Relish Tray

The Hummus has good texture but needs citrus or garlic or something. I don’t know what kind of Olives the big, dark, brown ones are but they’re really tasty.

Truffle Fries Parmigiana

The fries were ordered by my girlfriend to go with her Ouzo Mussels w/Tomato, Anise, Herb & Feta, as sort of a Moules-frites which she did not like either “no broth, too salty” and it went back to the kitchen. The fries were nice & crispy but I thought there was too much truffle oil.

Branzino Ceviche - Wild Mediterranean Branzino, Citrus, Sriracha, Grapes, Endive, Cucumber, Radicchio, Jalapeños, Micro Greens, Sesame Seeds

I wouldn’t have ordered it on my own - it seemed too busy. Wrong! :kissing_closed_eyes: The Branzino was incredibly fresh, delicious, perfectly “cooked” in citrus, dash of sriracha, maybe a skosh of olive oil. I ordered a side of Avocado. All the components melded together really well - fresh, bright, acid, sweet, heat, texture.

Waffle Potato Chips

These Chips accompany and compliment the Big-Eye Tuna really well so we ordered them for the Ceviche too, but the Crispy Pita worked much better.

Wild Nigerian Tiger Prawns (by the pound menu), Charcoal Grilled w/Lemon, Sea Salt, Mustard & Mushroom Saffron Powder, w/Caper, Herb Garnish


I :hearts: These Prawns. Huge, perfectly cooked, succulent, snappy, tender, smokey, buttery, sweet & delicious basting sauce. The orange tomalley nestled around the flesh is such a delicacy and the fatty head “mustard” is literally sweet @PorkyBelly! Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE Lobster. But! given the choice I would pick these Prawns over a Lobster any day.

You’re not seeing double

When my girlfriend sent back the Mussels she ordered the same Prawns, then decided she was full and tried to cancel. Yes, she’s a difficult diner. It had been too long and they’d already fired them up, so I intervened and took them to-go. I heated a couple for dear hubby but ended up eating the rest at room temp. They were still :yum:. The shells went into making a great broth for Clam Chowder.

But of course…

As to be expected the service was very good.

Avra is pricey, okay overpriced, a deterrent to becoming a regular. And maybe I was lucky in ordering the right things, but I did. :blush: I don’t think you can go wrong ordering from the “By The Pound” menu. After cancelling our Italy trip and now being cooped up inside by rain and the threat of serious illness I can’t think of a better meal to have for the last supper.

:shrimp: :champagne:

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I share your love of Avra.
Whenever we are are all lucky enough to return to dining try the Avra Chips - what an insanely delicious “waste” of money.

AVRA CHIPS
26.95
Traditional crispy zucchini and eggplant chips, tzatziki

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I saw them on almost every table. Will do.

Just a note of caution, those langoustines are highly volatile. Impossible shelf life

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