The young, rich and famous were out in droves last night sipping drinks at the sidewalk café outside Nic’s in Beverly Hills. Many were also perched on stools at the attractive indoor bar that you pass on your way to the dining room.We went to sample the new fall menu created by chef/owner and self-professed Vodkateur, Larry Nicola. Known for its exotic vodka collection, stored in a special VODBOX in the back of the restaurant, Nic’s also pours some of the best vodka martinis in town (but purists, such as Richard, are allowed to opt for gin).
While drinks are highlighted here, it’s Nicola’s cuisine that steals the show. He owns it with delicious creations that we sampled last night such as a watermelon and goat cheese salad done with toasted pistachios, radish sprouts and white balsamic that was refreshing and palate tingling. He also sent over an amazing fried artichoke, oysters with walnuts and garlic, grilled Mexican swordfish, oxtail ravioli and vodka cured salmon on pumpernickel raisin crostini with caper dill aioli that was simply the best.
Nic’s is a feeding ground for foodie’s known for its small bites or tastes menu, but the entrees prove just as exceptional and range in price from $27 to $46 )for a rack of lamb). The tastes go for $12 to $16 and are a must especially if you go with a group of friends.
Larry Nicola’s presence is always seen at Nic’s as he checks out the action, stops by tables to say hello and then retreats to the kitchen t prepare his cuisine. He enjoys taking customers into the the Vodbox, like a kid in a candy store. Visits for the Vodbox cost $21 and up for tastes of three vodkas. You are given a hat and coat to wear before entering because the room is kept at 28 degrees, and that is cold, folks, really cold. You can also order vodka at your table that is served with great flair by your waiter who prepares your cocktail on a clear Lucite two tier sexy rolling cart which is lit from below.
Following our session in the freezer, we returned to our table to thaw out and have dessert—a delicious fresh strawberry pie with ice cream.
Meanwhile the action continued to pulsate at the bar and tables, amped up by s a DJ spinning tunes and everyone in the room obviously eating up the scene at Nic’s that night (especially a large group celebrating a birthday in the main dining area and assorted celebs working the room).
Nic’s BeverlyHills is located at 453 North Cañon Drive, 310.550.5707, www.NicsBeverlyHills.com. There is valet or on street parking (be sure to feed the meter with your credit card as tickets are written freely in this town).