Where Nerds Eat: Viviane
by Michael Quezada
So there hopefully comes a time in every nerds life when you find someone that is just as nerdy as you and lets you be as nerdy as you want. Let me just say that my wife is that person, amazing, patient and lets me be as weird as I want to be. I have dragged her to conventions, events, and costume parties. Some she has rolled her eyes and others she has geeked out as well, ( ComicCon 2015, I became her pack horse for all the science fiction books that she bought). And she has stuck with me, so this nerd meal really has nothing to do with nerdiness, but is dedicated to all those special people in our lives that need to be wined and dined, for no other reason than just to say thanks for letting our Nerd light shine.
We recently went to Viviane, Chef Michael Hung’s new restaurant in the Avalon Hotel. Michael Hung was the former Head Chef at Faith & Flower, and now has ventured out on his own, to create an atmosphere of both decadence and romance. This is a place that you can go to celebrate a special event with a good sized group, the cabana’s are perfect and create a semi private area, or a romantic table for two. The hotel is a quaint boutique hotel in Beverly Hills that sits between Beverly and Olympic. The restaurant is definitely a destination spot, a place that you get dressed up for, for a night on the town, or if things went well, wake up and have breakfast.
The dining room is not big, the low lights and close tables makes it a very intimate dining. The menu is French in style, but with an American twist. There are no foams or molecular gastronomy, if it says potato, it’s a potato. What in lacks in Nerdiness, it makes up for in taste an flavor. The service was out of this world, our server Conor, controlled the floor like a conductor, and guided every table with the style and grace of an old school Maitre d. We started off with the Yellowfin Tuna Tartare – Yellowfin Tuna, Pinenut Crema, Pickled Onion, Grated Horseradish, and Pan Fried Crostini. The food is meant to be shared, however there are also portions designed to be individual entree’s, for those who don’t like to share (Bryan Scheilder). Next we had Pastrami Cured Wild Salmon Tartine – Pastrami Cured Wild Salmon, Ricotta Cheese, and Spiced Pickled Squash. Then came NY Steak Tartare – Sirloin Steak, Roasted Mushroom Conserve, Egg Yolk, and Caperberries. Next course was the Foie Gras Au Torchon – Foie Gras, Candied Butternut Squash, Cider Gelee, and Walnuts. Fuyu Persiommon and Corn Salad – Persimmons, wild arugula, Honey & Thyme Viniagrette, and Toasted Sunflower seeds, was our next course. Our final course the Soft Cooked Duck Egg – Duck Egg, Caramelized Onion, Roasted Corn, Quinoa, and Caper Salsa Verde. The food is all really good and by really good I mean the Chef is a mad scientist and there is no way you should be able to pull these flavors out , but every item was perfectly balanced and complimented each other. The wine list is extensive and the cocktail list is very classic in nature with modern twists. For dessert we ended with the NY Style Goat Cheesecake-Concord Grape Sorbet, Graham Crumb and Sorrel. Now this meal is not for the faint of heart, this is a meal for those who want to take someone special out or to take potential clients to wine and dine. Be prepared to spend some money, but this is a risk that could leave you with a great reward….or a hotel room upstairs…
This nerd left tired but very full, from the start of service to the end, everything was amazing. I would give it 4.75 Nerd Glasses out of 5. Thanks for reading . And a special thanks to my wife, letting me be as weird and nerdy as I want to be.
Mike the Food Nerd