The Hammer Museum is always a worthy reason to sojourn to Westwood. With the opening of Audrey, the first serious restaurant within the museum, now there is yet another reason to visit. With time on the line at the likes of Blue Hill, Daniel, and Sauvage (Brooklyn), Chef Lisa Giffen and her garden-inspired menu emphasize a European flair. Let’s go!!!
Yes, of course there is art here! Tile installation by Cuban-American artist Jorge Pardo…
The Audrey: Blanco tequila, passionfruit, cinnamon, jalapeño, smoked salt… The signature cocktail here is nicely poured!
Oyster: Cucumber-ginger mignonette… Super fresh, well-shucked oysters. I could have had many more of these! Chef Giffen’s last stint was at an oyster bar, so it comes as no surprise she knows how to work with these guys!
Carta di Musica: Bottarga, Persian lime, chive… A pretty good flatbread appetizer, although I wished for more bottarga on board. The pane carasau was as good as any Italian/Sardinian iteration I’ve tried.
White bean hummus: Herbed jam, charred bread… Really delicious jam here - Excellent.
Octopus: Almond gremolata, paprika, pickled shallots… The octopus could have used a tad more tenderization, but overall a good course, as the flavor balance was spot on.
Hand-cut tagliatelle: Mushroom bolognese, smoked fiore sardo… Outstanding plate! The pecorino really accents the perfectly al dente pasta, and the rich mushroom taste permeates the tagliatelle throughout.
Jasmine East Side: Jasmine tea, cucumber, mint, lime soda… A refreshing non-alcoholic concoction!
Heritage pork porterhouse: Broccoli di cicco, dates, esplette jus… While I loved the taste and juiciness of this main dish, the pork was a bit too pink for my comfort on first cut, and so I had to send it back to the kitchen for a bit more time on the fire. However, the recovery from this misstep was masterfully navigated, because the second iteration of this dish was fantastic!
All the peas: Pardilla cheese, mint, marinated mushroom… Just lovely. A wonderful burst of the garden springs forth in this side!
Selection of cookies: Chocolate chip & sea salt, pecan-lemon nib rocher, Meyer lemon shortbread, coconut-oatmeal… The server recommended the cookies, and he was right. The chocolate chip cookies are pretty much perfect, with semi-molten chocolate goodness. But the real unexpected delight was the pecan-lemon nib rocher - Its intriguing texture reminds me of a complex, grown-up version of Rice Krispies treats. A perfectly pulled cappuccino rounded out a very nice meal.
Art on the bathroom walls…? It IS a museum after all!
Service was cordial and professional. An automatic 20% gratuity is added to all bills at Audrey (my server definitely earned it, and then some).
Categorizing Audrey at the Hammer as a great museum restaurant would be a mischaracterization, as the restaurant itself is worthy of a visit. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s situated in such a well-designed edifice, and in close proximity to some really impressive art. Westwood just got better.
Audrey at the Hammer
10899 Wilshire Bl.
Los Angeles, CA 90024