Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tasting Omni Hotels' Simply Street Food Menu @ Noe Restaurant & Bar

As far excitement goes, those in hotel restaurants — particularly chains — tend to be pretty bleh. The drill and the menu reads all too familiar. Overdressed Caesar salad, a minestrone that’s been simmering for who knows how long, and of course the “just kill my tastebuds” club sandwich.

So when Conbon and I were invited to check out Omni Hotels’ Simply Street Food menu, I was definitely surprised to see them do a little risk taking with the bar fare offerings.

Wary travelers looking for comfort grub, don’t fret; Noe still offers the familiar fare of burgers and mac ‘n cheese, though I would definitely steer you towards their seafood-focused offerings, or the more exotic bites of the Simply Street menu, regionally inspired from chefs across the Omni Hotel chain. And out of that menu, these are the ones we loved the best.

Chicken Musakhan Sandwich
Chicken Musakhan Wrap
A great Middle Eastern spin off a chicken salad sandwich; tender, succulent pieces of chicken are roasted with aromatic spices (the sumac was the most noticeable for me) then wrapped in a pillowy flatbread with tomatoes and sweet onions. It’s festively flavorful and finger-friendly, making it a great bar bite (especially if you have a hoppy beer or an herbacious cocktail in the other hand.)

Duck Confit Empanada with Smoked Tomato Mayonnaise
Duck Confit Empanada
A lovely high-meets-low snack, sweet duck confit is mixed with cabbage then baked into a crispy pastry crust, rounded out by the tangy & smoky dip. Like the Musakhan, I love that this is also fairly robust in flavors, and can easily hold its own against a more potent & aromatic drink.

Short Rib & Vermont Cheddar Grilled Cheese
Short Rib & Vermont Cheddar Grilled Cheese
Probably the most familiar of the Simply Street menu, I love this elevated take on the classic with short rib that’s been braised for hours, accented with the nutty tang of cheddar and smacked in between two crisped slices of sweet brioche.
Vineyard Margarita
And since we were at the Noe Bar, we took the time to check out some of their libations too. While I was impressed with the Vineyard Margarita pictured above (the addition of Sauvignon Blanc gave this usually-too-cloying drink a refreshing, spritzy feel), Conbon and I definitely gravitated towards Noe's Prohibition-era drinks, including a fantastic Boulevardier
… and an old school Sazerac made with Cognac (which Tyler Dow, Noe Restaurant's General Manager, illuminated me as the original base spirit of the cocktail, before a trade embargo of sorts steered New Orleanians towards Rye; he also share similarly fantastic lore with Conbon while making her Aviation, with Creme de Violette of course!)

Needless to say, we both had a fantastic time at Noe Bar and so glad to know of this Bunker Hill gem where we can grab a fantastic classic drink, and satisfying bites to go with.

That being said, the Simply Street Food menu is expected to run through June, so hope you have a chance to try before then. Though if you're daring in the kitchen, you can always try making them at home with these recipes!

Noe Restaurant & Bar at Omni Los Angeles
251 S Olive St 
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 356-4100
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