If show business is what rocks your world, you’re gonna love Livello. From the framed title pages of notable screenplays on the walls of the lounge to the vaguely familiar members of a rock group huddled quietly at the bar swirling brown liquids, the restaurant of the European style boutique hotel L’Ermitage Beverly Hills whispers showbiz like Lindsey Lohan whispers trouble.
But the folks who favor the hotel do not come just to find refuge, a place (a very nice place) to sleep and a spot to escape the paparazzo while discussing deals. They also come to eat, which is where Livello and its relaxed attitude towards elevated cuisine joins the celebrity conversation. Newly appointed Chef Benjamin Dayag and his simple but beautifully executed menu is the real star here.
Those with a short attention span will appreciate the menu’s shorthand approach, two short columns of dishes, one essentially Asian and the other Italianate Californian. Boxed off even shorter lists of vegetable and side dishes mean the entire thing can be scanned as quickly as a D-girl can evaluate a script.
Picking and choosing from different lists, you can start with Garlic Oil Seared Imperial Wagyu beef or Tuna Crudo (an exquisite version of ahi sashimi). Then you might want to go for Olive Oil Poached Seasonal White Fish (seabass one night) or maybe Bolognese of Beef Short Rib. Throw in asparagus tossed in the light garlic soy sauce and finish up with a sweet little Ricotta Cheesecake, and you’ve got yourself a wonderful meal. And, by the way, that wonderful meal will be served with particular aplomb and at a cost that’s probably 30 percent below the prevailing Beverly Hills price.
One recent dinner in front of the lounge fireplace was so good that a return visit must be scheduled to try such tantalizing dishes as Avocado Tempura, 62 Degree Organic Egg with creamy polenta and King Oyster mushrooms, and Braised Veal Cheeks. And by the way, the bar makes very good drinks without the studied showmanship that seems to be the norm these days. That barkeep knows she’s got a supporting role here.
Livello is located at L’Ermitage Beverly Hills 9201 Burton Way, 310-278-3344. They are also participating in dineLARestaurantWeek that starts Jan. 21, as well as doing a dreamy sounding Valentine’s Day dinner.