On Saturday I tried the new Restaurant called Whist at the just opened Viceroy Hotel at Pico and Ocean in Santa Monica. Arrived at 7:00. Picked 2 wines from the list of wines by the glass. Both were excellent and I looked at the menu to select dishes that sounded interesting and would go with the wines. I started with a fantastic Corn Chowder with a small Crab Cake. It was the essence of fresh corn and the Crab Cake while only the size of a quarter was very good and mostly Crab. My wife and I shared a Hearts of Palm Salad. It was canned but very enjoyable and it was served with Butter Lettuce, excellent Parmesian Cheese and a snappy Mustard Dressing. I next tried Hamachi and ordered a glass of Sake to go with it. It was extremely fresh fish. It was served in a sauce that complemented the fish. A bit too much sauce so I pulled the fish out of the sauce and ended up with a perfect blend of flavors and textures. I next had the Sauteed Pork Belly. It was similar to BBQ, and very tender. I think it is a boneless pork rib. Served with leaves of fresh herbs. Somewhat fatty, in a good way, and nicely rich. The Hostess, Maiter D, and the server could not have been nicer. My wife order 3 side dishes as her dinner. Sauteed Asparagus, Sauteed Mushrooms, and Creamy Polenta. She combined them to make an amazing Polenta dish. For dessert we shared the Valhrona Chocolate Souffle Cake. Served with a Prune Armanac Iced Cream. It is some high power chocolate in this cake. Excellent, served warm. The iced cream was so creamy and rich and the flavor was amazing. Everything was perfect. The room is nicely decorated. Quite a change from it's previous life as the Pacific Shore Hotel. It restaurant space in that hotel was Baker's Square. What a step up!
The prices of Appetizers are mostly $10.00 while entrees are high twentys and thirty dollars. The tasting menu (served for the whole table only) is $95.00 with out wines. My 3 appetizers, wife's 1 appetizer and her 3 sid dishes, dessert, glass of white and red wines, and sake...$130.00, $30.00 tip. $160.00 out the door. I think it was worth it. I feel that this meal was much better than the meal I had at the St. Regis Hotel and was even better than my Tasting Menus at Melisse and Patina (the last time). I would rate this the best restaurant in town at this monent. They have only been open 2 weeks and they were full by 8:00 Saturday night. Get there soon before they are reviewed or you may never get in.