Before this scouting expedition, yours truly dutifully searched this Honorable Board's archives for clues about said Dome. Only reference that showed up was a post by Griller141 dated April 22, 2001 at 23:41:24, which I dare to transcribe entirely for ease of reference:
"Several years ago Le Dome, on the Sunset Strip, was a great place, but I stopped going when it became noisy, seemed rushed, and the food became mediocre. Lately I've heard it's again pretty good.Does anyone have any recent experience with this venerable institution? "
No replies were posted at the time. Now, here's my take, some 4+ years later.
First, the decor.
Hostess leads us to one of the inner sanctums.
Nice, modern, I'd even say hip, mortuary settings. Very dignified.
No way to evaluate how many architect brain hours, nor the lofty fees. Oh well.
Anyways, the Rioses politely declined, and asked for the lovely patio sitting, right on Sunset.
Service is light, but that's OK. We have no problem asking for the menu, or for bread.
On demand, both items materialize at once. As well as a pair of excellent stems.
Great breads, both crusty white and pumpernickel, house made, arrive fresh from the oven, accompanied by excellent butter. The menu is a little trickier. On the top left the heavy appetizers (giant prawns, foie gras &etc). Bottom left, the light ones (salads). Right side, main courses. Ms.Rios goes for crab salad($16) and butterfish($27). I choose tiger prawns ($18) & fillet mignon($39).
The prawns ( 2 nice pieces ) arrive grilled to perfection, in what I'd call the ideal accompaniment: a light sauce with just the right amount of garlic and just the right amount of heat, to enhance the subtle flavors without overpowering them. No easy task. I wiped my plate clean with white bread. Filet mignon cooked to perfection, latin american style: not charred outside and bleeding inside, but evenly cooked all the way thru, flavorful and very tender. Subtle olive oil and sea salt touches. Crab salad and butterfish very well received by my other half.
Deserts: she goes for crème brulée($10), which arrives nicely separated in the two mainstream ideologies of black- & straw- berries. My desert, I must confess, was my own fault. Rios Restaurant Rule Nr. one says: never ask for a cheese plate if it's not in the menu. Reason being obvious : they'll never say no, since ANY kitchen has always SOME cheese around. Well, again, nobody to blame except me. ($15 for the cheeses, sorry to say).
Main surprise with the bill: no corkage. Fact confirmed with the busboy (not the waiter, mind you, lest he forgot...). Last but not least: we had the pleasure to greet in the kitchen Chef Sam Marvin, and his amazing sous-chef Sal Morales, the one who actually prepared our stuff. Very shy, great talent.
Total bill, with tax, not including tip: $145. Very well spent, classy joint, we'll be back. Valet parking $5.