Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Special Foodventure #112: One Sunset (West Hollywood)

When I was checking out mixologist Pablo Moix's cocktails at STK, I also had the opportunity to connect with Emily, who's in charge of marketing for the One Group places in L.A. (One Sunset, STK and Coco de Ville.) After finding out that I was a foodblogger (not particularly hard, given how I was more of a shutterbug with the drinks than with people/celebs there) she invited me to check out One Sunset during their recurring "One of Almost Everything Special" tasting Tuesdays comp'd. Since that restaurant been on my list of to-try places, one of my very few on the Sunset Strip, I agreed and brought a friend along for our early March dinner.
On Sunset Strip, pretty much anything goes with the ambience, so my friend and I were overall pleasantly surprised with the atmosphere, which has a modern, minimalistic bedroomy-lounge feel accented with Urban Nature, Greco-Roman and Pop Art Hollywood decorations. Dim and classy enough for date, yet sassy-chic enough for a group meal before a night out on the town.

One Sunset Tasting Tuesdays is, more or less, a spontaneous tasting menu - composed of courses on their regular dinner menu and any specials of the day. At $45/person for four-courses, it sounded like an OK deal, until we found out that each non-dessert course comes out as a trio of dishes and the sweets were a duo (yes, that's 11 dishes total!) And to sweeten the deal, you can get a bottle of wine for $1 extra when doing the tasting Tuesday (we were offered several varietals and got a surprisingly food-friendly Cabernet.)
Some of the dishes we really enjoyed included:
BBQ Short Rib Sliders
*BBQ Short Rib Sliders with smoked cheddar and crispy shallots - Agreed with my friend's label of a "gourmet sloppy joe" that was a wonderful combination of sweet, tangy, smoky and just a little spicy, with the meat tender and not too fatty. Worth getting the fingers dirty for and possibly even licking off in public.
Mac n Cheese
*Truffled mac 'n cheese - a hard sell for me, since I personally think truffle oiling is such an easy and overused trick for gussying-up mac, but this one works really well, particularly because it helps harmonize the sharper-tasting parmesan and goat cheeses.
Turkey meatballs
*Turkey meatballs - if the server didn't tell me it was turkey, I probably wouldn't have known. Rich and moist, the flavor profile is more like veal or pork than the too-often-dried-out bird. I also love the sweet, aromatic basil presence in the marinara. And I'm sure carnivores would love that these are almost the size of baseballs!
And of course, the desserts, moist, not-too-sweet red 'velvet rope' cupcakes that are made in-house and a deep, rich and decadent Rocky Road brownie still warm from the oven. I would've easily eaten all of it if we weren't so full from all the other dishes we've tried.

Needless to say, the two of us were stuffed to the max by the end (not to mention guilty for not finishing half the dishes presented). And at that price-point, this is a wonderful Sunset Strip deal for folks who can eat a lot and game to try anything (though the tasting can be customized a bit, with diners being allowed to request one or two dishes as well as more general preferences such as seafood-focused, etc.)

My friend and I are definitely looking forward to returning, esp. since there are still a number of promising dishes (a competent mix of creative, updated comfort foods with a California-fusion twist that strikes a nice compromise for both cautious and edgy palates) I particularly want to check out chestnut tortellini with aged gouda and sage, butterscotch bread pudding with blueberry ice cream next time around! And new exec chef Jason Ryczek plans to rotate the menu regularly to take advantage of seasonal ingredients and to keep the offerings fresh and interesting.

And of course, we'll be sure to bring an empty stomach and an extra dollar for the wine.

What Do Others Say?
- Citysearch's Mar Yvette think it strikes a nice balance between "sexy lounge" and "solid New American small plates"
- LA.com agrees that diners need a hearty appetite to pack the plenty of "small" bites on Tasting Tuesdays
- LA Daily News consider an "alluring and sensual" one-stop place to dine, drink and dance to the DJ'd tunes
- And three stars from the yelperocracy

One Sunset
8730 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 657-0111

Complete Flickr set with more photos here

One Sunset on Urbanspoon



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