Thursday, September 01, 2011

Raiding Roosevelt Hotel's Eateries & Watering Holes: Spare Room, Public Kitchen & Bar, Library Bar and 25 Degrees (No. 205)

(photo credit: ericthenorsk)
It was totally something I did just for the heck of it. It was Wednesday, I needed a little adventure, and Hotel Roosevelt happens to boast quite a few reputable eateries and watering holes. So I decided to hit up four of them in one night.

My first stop of the night was Spare Room, the classic (and classy!)-looking bar on the second floor decked out with duel bowling alleys & a variety of classic table games. There, I met up with Naomi Schimek, well-known for her eclectic vintage-meets-garden approach to cocktails. And coincidentally enough, I found out all summer long they are doing a special Wednesday Happy Hour, with $5 mini lobster rolls and $7 Nanucket Sounds . . .
Nantucket Sound + Wednesday Summer HH Specials
. . . made with lemon balm & chamomile-infused Plymouth gin, Bianco vermouth, fresh cantaloupe & lemon juices, Peychaud's bitters and a hearty dollop of housemade spiced ginger sorbet -- served with a wooden spoon so you can eat while you drink. And it's perfect for the seasonal cusp... refreshingly spicy to soothe away the warm summer days, but with a complex, warm-spices aroma and a depth that eases you into the autumn. And while I sipped away at this heavenly cocktail, I picked up a few tips to emulate that ginger sorbet at home... if I'm so daring (the trick is to use inverted sugar so it stays fine & smooth upon freezing, as opposed to a coarser granita with regular sugar.)
Kentucky Glove Box + Mini Lobster Roll
While I had no initial plans to eat at Spare Room, I simply couldn't resist the lobster roll for a Lincoln. It was bigger and meatier than I expected, and two of these would've made for a satisfying meal. There were hearty chunks of chilled lobster with crunchy onions and celery, lightly dressed (yay for not being overly-mayo'd up) in a buttery roll.

And to go with the roll, a Kentucky Glove Box -- which smells and tastes like Gold Rush's more aromatic & feminine cousin w Bourbon, Yellow Chartreuse, simple syrup and fresh lemon juice. Great sipper!

Afterwards, I proceed down to Public Kitchen and Bar, a place I've been meaning to revisit since its Grand Opening week -- having filled up a little from the roll, I decided against my planned order of zucchini risotto with diver scallops & mint mascarpone (that were AMAZING when I had them last time) and opted for two side dishes.
King Oyster Mushrooms
Alexandra cocktail + Rainbow Chard
Grilled king oyster mushrooms w sweet garlic & truffle jus and oven-roasted rainbow chard w olive oil, shallots & balsamic vinegar--both totally solid sides that's as straightforward as the menu described it, you can taste every component listed and the combination of them all is definitely a little magical. I especially appreciated the super-light touch of the truffle jus on the 'shrooms, which are already woodsy-earthy to begin with (and because so many places tend to overdo with the truffle flavorings! Less is more here, people!)
Drinks @ Public are in oversized portions and lean on the sweet side. Their Public Manhattan involves a generous splash of Luxardo Maraschino, which admittedly does smooth out some of the sharper edges of the (Ri)1 whiskey. But the Alexandra cocktail (made w Milagro Silver, Aperol, St. Germaine, Lemon Syrup, Mint, Passionfruit & Yuzu Juices -- photoed w the rainbow chard) can easily do double-duty as a drink and dessert ... if that's your thing.

Following the somewhat light dinner, I sauntered (or possibly meandered) to Library Bar, where Matt Biancaniello was busily mixing up his market-fresh cocktails--picking out fruits, vegetables, herbs from his vibrantly-colored "bar" that looked more like a farmer's market stall.
Monkey See, Monkey Do
After hearing of my affinity for gin and spiciness, he made me a Monkey See, Monkey Do with Hendrick's Gin, pepper-Infused St. Germaine's, purple shiso plus peach & lime juices. An absolute delight to drink, with a bouquet and flavor profile that felt infinitely intriguing. It's definitely fruity but without being too sweet, a little tongue tingle action with the spiced liqueur, and heavenly herb backdrop from the shiso & gin.
Italian Greyhound
Afterwards, Matt served up a seemingly simpler Italian Greyhound (Campari, Aperol, fresh passionfruit & grapefruit juices), but the two fruits & two apertifs combined into an alchemic creation that's just as sophisticated (and super-quaffable!)
25 Degrees Late Night
I saved 25 Degrees as my last stop since I know they're open 24/7 and because I figured I would need some heavy duty munchies-style grub after all those libations! But alas, instead of burger & fries -- I opted for their three-cheese plate, Tuscan tomato soup & a refreshing glass of Sam Adams Octoberfest (turned out I arrived during their late night happy hour!) In a more sober moment, I would've consider the soup a bit too salty (maybe left boiling too long?) but that night it just hit the spot to sober me up, and tomatoes & basil notes definitely shone through.

And I will also give kudos for 25 Degrees' bang for the buck... look at the size of the $5 soup & $9 three-cheese platter (use the pint glass of $4 beer & the standard bread slices as comparison); and those aren't just everyday ole' cheese either, the trio I chose from their upscaley selection were Carr Valley's Benedictine Washed-Rind Sheep-Cow-Goat Blend, Cypress Grove's Midnight Blue Aged Goat Cheese and Ciresa's Gorgonzola Prelibato... needless to say they didn't stay in that doggy bag for long in the days after.

Hotel bars & restaurants have traditionally gotten a bad rep as far as food quality & value goes, often stereotyped as spots for out-of-town tourists who don't know any better or for businessfolks to harried to wander outside the lodging's confines for a bite or a sip. And while there are the occasional one or two gems in a hotel, I'm most pleasantly surprised and delighted to report that there are FOUR options @ Hotel Roosevelt that are solid and fitting for a variety of budgets & cravings, from $4 beers at a burger joint, to casual-chic multi-course meal to a fun round of games & drinks with friends to just lingering over a bar of fresh produce, waiting to pleasantly surprised . . .

Or if you are so inclined, hitting all of them up in one night!

7000 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028





Food GPS said...

What, no Beacher’s Madhouse?

Nastassia (Let Me Eat Cake) said...

four in one night! you're a machine :)


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