For last night's "Farewell to LA" dinner for my gurlfren, I decided to stick with my original plan and take her to Brasserie Vert over at Hollywood and Highland. I have read tidbits about this place, and the french brasserie concept with "Italian and California influences" had my sparked my curiosity. We arrived at 8:30 and were seated promptly by the hostess at a two-top over towards the side of the restaurant. Immediately, I noticed the high noise level within the place, a trait that has been noted in previous posts about the restaurant. I was particularly pleased with the lighting, as it was dim enough to be romantic, but not totally dark. The wall accents were pleasing to the eye as well.
The waitress handed us our menus and the wine list. I will not pretend to be a wine expert by any means, but I thought the wine list by the glass was quite extensive, with a good number of reds and whites. I like wines by the glass, since my gf doesn't drink more than one glass, so the number of selections were appreciated. I also noticed that the glasses spanned a rather large price range, from $6 to $20 a glass, which would help suit anyone with a particular price target.
I ordered two glasses of Pinot Noir for my gf and I, and I started with a very well prepared Ketel One Dirty Martini. Soon enough, we put in an order for the Gratin of Oysters (similar to Oysters Rockefeller) and the Steak Tartare. The oysters were very rich, but I couldn't help but think that something was missing (a piece of bacon perhaps?). The steak tartare was seasoned well and was served with the yolk of a quail egg, along with a side of dijon and brown mustards, and a side of aioli. Last night's steak tartare was my first (one of the reasons why I have been wanting to try Vert), and I had to say it was pretty good, though I would be curious to know how others would compare (ex. Cafe Moustache).
The waitress was nice enough to let us pace our meal, and we soon put in our orders for the entrees. I have to say that the menu had some pretty good looking items, and while it wasn't hard for me to make a decision, I would like to try some of the other entrees that came recommended (ex. braised short ribs and polenta). My gf ordered the Penne Arrabbiata and I ordered the NY Steak Frites. My gf polished off her pasta and declared it to be "very good". My steak seemed over seasoned, and the bernaise sauce seemed to do nothing for the steak other than help blunt the seasoning down a bit....BUT in defense of the steak, the meat was very good, and it was cooked JUST to my liking. The fries were very good, but I didn't want to dip them in the ketchup provided, so I asked for a side of aioli to dip them in, which tasted - - in the words of Rachel Ray, "yummo".
We didn't have dessert, but I did peek at the menu, and noted some nice gelati selections and italian donuts. The waitress was attentive, though she came off as very mechanical and cold (not mean, but lack of warmth) at times.
The bill w/out tax and tip came to 94 clams. I thought overall the prices were reasonable and suited the budget for a young adult couple. The place itself is very nice, and I would enjoy coming back, though not in any big hurry. I enjoyed myself, and so did my gf. I don't have the address, but the restaurant is on level 4 of the Hollywood and Highland complex, on the corner of....uh, Hollywood and Highland.
Decent food at reasonable prices
Plentiful number of wines by the glass
Some dishes missing that certain "something" (specific, I know - ha)
Music resembled the playlist for KBIG (no offense to KBIG listeners), though I did appreciate the bit of Hall and Oats they played. Light jazz would have been better.
Noisy restaurant (not because of the music either)
Thanks for reading.