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Restaurants & Bars 8

Gulf Stream to the rescue

cvc | Jun 18, 200602:23 PM

Ironically, my last visit to Nook Bistro occured a couple of Mondays ago when an impromptu stop at Literati II was met with a surprising, "Sorry we closed the kitchen at 9 tonight." It was Monday after all, so we headed to Nook where, at 9:30pm, the joint was jumpin'. Driving west through Beverly Hills last night around 9:45pm I proposed a return visit to my guest, called Nook asking if they could take two at 10pm and was given a polite, "We can take you at 9:59 but we stop seating at 10." "Great," said my friend. "It's Saturday night in L.A. and our choices are between a Mexican dive in Venice or a claustrophobic fish counter in Hollywood." I had to acknowledge his point if not agree with his cynicism. (I started to suggest Lucky Devil's -and that shake- but even I couldn't muster enthusiasm about Hollywood Blvd. at that hour.)

Not wanting to test the speed limit on Santa Monica Blvd. we opted for Gulf Stream in the Century City Shopping Center. We're glad we did. There is no chef or design pedigree stated for this outfit but there are damn few more comfortable or attractive dining rooms around and the service is among the best anywhere. Still packed at 10pm we were seated immediately and began with an appetizer of fried oysters for $10 that my friend compared favorably to Jar's. A caesar salad was good for $5 and had bite but dressings in this whole chain tend to be a little sweet. I had the Copper River Salmon for $32 with maple glazed carrots while my friend opted for a Cajun treated snapper with shrimp for $29. Both were excellent. Fish is treated very well here, indeed. My friend enjoyed his $8 chardonnay and we finished with the $10 ice cream sundae with fresh whipped cream, a warm chocolate and caramel sauce and delicious caramelized pistachios. I even forgot about the shake. $112 for two before tip.

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