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The Penthouse in SM -- Reactions Sought

Anyone been to The Penthouse in Santa Monica (atop The Huntley Hotel on 2nd Street)? If so, please let me know your views. Thanks.

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  1. What happened to Rod Aglibot? I thought he was the chef there, but his name is nowhere to be found.

    1. I too thought he was the chef there, but I have never seen a chef's name associated with more places than his has been in the last two years.

      1. We ate there on Saturday night and had a delicious meal. The new space is very pretty and open, lots of white and cool curtained booths along the sides of the room. It's a very modern space, pretty clearly designed to attract the pretty people crowd. Because of that, I was very pleasantly suprised by the quality of the food. The service was sweet, although our waitress started out right off the bat offering us the still/sparking water upsell. I hate that upsell, but I understand she's just doing her job. They brought a bread basket which had a some cute, little rolls (a cheese--maybe asiago--roll, a brioche roll, a pretzel roll, some fig walnut bread, and some thin sesame crsted bread sticks. I appreciated that the butter that came with wasn't rock hard. We started sharing their version of shrimp cocktail: huge, citrus-poached (although I couldn't discern and citrus flavor) served with a horseradish cocktail sauce and a red onion and carrot slaw. This was good, although nothing that I would order again.

        I would go back again tonight for my entree, though. I had perfectly cooked sugarcane skewered scallops served on a bed of pureed turnips and braised oxtails. Delicious. My BF ordered the chicken brest which was served bone-in and was incredibly juicy with a beautifully crisp skin. Served with garlic mashed potatoes and diced artichokes which were good, although nothing too exciting. For dessert, we shared the warm chocolate pudding cupcakes with spicy truffles. The cupckes were basically just mini flourless chocolate cakes and were good, although fairly boring. The spicy truffles, however, rocked! I'd be happy just having one or two of these for dessert. The presentation for all the dishes we ordered was very pretty, but not overly precious. Oh, and I can't decide whether I think it's funny or tacky that the dessert menu is entiteld "happy endings." As for drinks, he had an iced tea which they served with simple syrup on the side. Nice touch. I had a mango mojito which at $10 was the cheapest drink on the menu. Didn't tast like mint or mojito. The mango margarita I had last night at Jiraffe's bistro night was leaps and bounds better.

        Bill was almost exactly $100 before tip.

        We'll definitely be back.

        1. Expensive!

          $7 for french fries that come in a paper cone (maybe about 12 fries in all), $38 for a steak that looks like it came from Norm's.

          I will agree, though, beautiful view, beautiful room.

          1. Rod was initially the consulting chef, but left last fall, I think. Didn't see eye to eye with the owners.

            2 Replies
              1. re: AlabasterDisaster

                I heard Rod was recruited by a new restaurant company in Seattle. But, it's all been very secretive so far.

            1. I agree -- expensive but overall experience was okay. Very Viceroy-ish in decor. Killer view and I like the horseshoe shaped bar -- good for people watching. It will be the new "it" hangout for a while. They were in the weeds behind the bar save for one bartendress who was jamming out drink orders while the other bartenders kind of milled around looking lost. Flatbread with burrata was a bit soggy in the middle. I would go back for a drink and ap but probably not until they work out the kinks.

              1. Went there last weekend with a group for breakfast based on a recommendation from a friend and we waited 30 min + for a table even though we had a reservation. Service needs MAJOR reassesment. It's a shame for such beautiful location, beautiful decor to have that level of service. The food was dissapointing too but I imagine it would get better. We ordered pretty much everything that was on the breakfast menu and some egg dishes were cold, garnishes of ridiculous, a bunch of wilted chopped up ice berg lettuce next to fritatta that was overcooked, not so fresh looking strawberries cut in 1/4 and ONE place on the side, oatmeal cold... just not a good way to start the day.
                Hope it gets better because the view was amazing!
                Will give it a try in the eve instead next time.

                1. Was just there this evening (Tues 6:30 - 8:30) for a drink. As we stepped out of the elevator, there was a pleasant "buzz" - lively, but not overwhelming noise. It was busy, but not a crush. We did not have a problem finding a place to sit - in fact, we got a booth by the window. View was impressive. They have an extensive cocktail list & it seems that a lot of them are made with fresh juices (very important to me). My friend got a pineapple coconut mojito (sounds weird, but was very good) and I got a drink with pomegranate liqueur which was OK. Cocktails were about $12-$15.

                  We got a flatbread with tomato/basil/burrata which was very tasty - the dough was slightly chewy which is how I like it (I'm not a fan of everything crispy when it comes to breads).

                  I'd definitely go back - it was a cool atmosphere without being achingly trendy or with an attitude (was at the W on Friday night & will not be going back there). And the view is the best. I think that the restaurant side has the best view, so I'll have to go back for that...

                  1. Went there tonight, and really had an amazing over all meal.

                    Wanted to see the sunset from up above, so made our reservations for 6. We walked into the lobby right on time, and was surprised at how lively the bar was. Seated very quickly and immediately ordered a bottle of chardonnay to share with my date. They said they were updating their wine list in two weeks with selections from around the world, I was pretty content to see a decent Napa Valley so no complaints.

                    Had the Crab Cake appetizer, which came out warm and delicious, lots of crab with less "filling" just as I like, and came with a a great sliced apple and seed flower, the seeds added a really nice crispy bite.

                    Dinner: My date had the wild Salmon special, she adored it, I thought it was ok, but it did come with lobster mashed potato's which rocked. I had the Bone in Rib-Eye, and it was very good, I ordered it Medium-Rare and it came out quite Rare, but I would rather them fault on the rare than the medium. Also got the onion strings as a side. I notices the steak tasted great with the Bearnaise sauce, and the best bite was a combo of steak+onion strings+dip of the peppercorn and wine reduction sauce, wow!

                    Dessert: Date ordered some pineapple cake which has pretty presentation, the nuts on the top really had no reason to be there, but the creme and pineapples tasted good together, she also ordered the white wine dessert wine, which was far too sweet, even for a dessert wine. I had the caramel ice-cream and oreo crumbles plate, good, not great, and I added a 18 year scotch. Wasn't very impressed the only Johnnie Walker they had was Blue Label, hopefully they can find some more colors to the rainbow with the new wine in two weeks.

                    P.S. for the star chatter, Luke Wilson was in eye distance all night, aggressively pursued by many "fans".

                    Total Bill was $216, and I would go back anytime. The view of watching the city turn from day to night over our 2.5 hour dinner was the absolute best pairing with the meal.