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May 29, 2008 04:53 AM

In Photos: Opening Night at Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood

The soft opening of the new Gordon Ramsay was this Tuesday night. And it was definitely soft. Ramsay wasn't there; the Hell's Kitchen winner wasn't there; no media either. In fact, there weren't even that many customers. The restaurant was less than half full when we arrived at 8:00p, and it looked like they only wanted to turn around each table once for the night.

A note on Hell's Kitchen: The winner was supposed to get an executive chef's position at the restaurant, but from what we were told, it's going to be more like a sous chef position. We were told that "he" hadn't started yet, so does that mean the winner will be male?

The Chef's Menu in brief:

1: Pacific yellow fin tuna with pickled daikon, crab beignets, sesame soy dressing
2: Burrata mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes, cape gooseberries, basil pesto
3: Hand-dived sea scallops, cauliflower purée and sherry vinegar reduction
4a: Pan-fried Arctic char with orzo, pickled Japanese mushrooms and dashi
4b: Beef filet and Kobe short rib, cipollini onion, baby beets
5: Confit Meyer lemon and basil gelée, sablé Breton and olive oil gelato
6: Pineapple soufflé with Thai curry ice cream, toasted coconut

One thing to note was that each dish was extremely small, so we had to supplement with eight additional courses. This was between two people, so we each had the equivalent of 10 courses. Our server recommended 3-4 courses per person; perhaps the WeHo crowd would be satisfied by that amount, but there's no way my dining companion or I would be (and I'm not a big guy at 5'9"/165lb). The extra courses:

S1: Apple-cured duck breast and crispy tongue, foie gras with amaranth
S2: Wild asparagus risotto with chive flowers
S3: Swordfish carpaccio with heart of palm, grapefruit and yuzu vinaigrette
S4: Cassoulet of seafood, king prawn tortellini and garbanzo beans
S5: Smoked pork belly with roasted Scottish langoustine, celeriac and apple
S6: Monkfish with crispy chicken skin, lemon thyme consommé
S7: Cheese plate
S8: Crème Fraîche panna cotta with strawberry gelée, acacia honey and thyme crumble

Overall, though I did have a good time and liked much of the food, I think the Gordon Ramsay at The London needs to improve. The dishes for the most part were not up to Michelin-starred levels, and I think that the restaurant is perhaps catering to the "wrong" crowd, trying to be hip rather than good. Unlike the Gordon Ramsays in London or NY, it just didn't seem like a serious fine dining restaurant.

Was anyone else there? Thoughts?

Full report with photos:

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  1. I think that I'd even have to downgrade London from your mediocre evaluation. But let me be tart and to the point. The food was unremarkable - though it was hard to even really get a good taste because the portions were so small. The design of the menu was confusing, also.

    The service, while well-intentioned, was still very rough - missed orders and billing issues.

    The decor was simply in bad taste and the "pleather" seats guarantee that you're going to get up from your meal with a sweaty butt. Actually, I don't know whether the seats were leather or plastic but either way, but it's the same difference.

    1. Thanks for the post and pics, I'll be there in a couple of weeks. I have both the dinner menu they sent to me initially and also the soft opening menu, they're slightly different. I was surprised about the pricing, thought it'd be higher. Not that I want to pay more for food, just surprised, pleasantly surprised.
      The people who answer the phone need to be schooled a little more. The second time I called I got what sounded like a 20-something who had no idea what he was doing. So now I'll have to call back since I didn't trust what he told me, plus I couldn't understand what he was trying to blurt out.
      How much were the cocktails? Also did many people ask to tour the kitchen?

      11 Replies
      1. re: slacker

        Just so those of us not on the "in with Gordon" list want to know, what are the prices like?

        1. re: Diana

          On the menu looked like 10 bucks for dessert, 65 or 85 for the chef's menu

          1. re: Diana

            Diana, follow the link that kevin h provided. He has a picture of the menus with pricing.

            1. re: love2eat

              I ate there last night and had the chef's menu. I will write a review, on my blog at least soon.

            2. re: Diana

              6-course tm = $85.
              a la carte = $14-$22
              market specials = $12 (app size) - $28 (entree size)
              dessert = $10

              1. re: slacker

                Well now, that's pretty reasonable if the food is high quality!

                1. re: Diana

                  Ah, but the portions are small!

            3. re: slacker

              Hopefully they'll get their act together by the time you go. I thought the pricing would be higher on an absolute scale. But if you take into account the size of the portions, prices are high!

              The cocktails were $12 each. As for the kitchen, I believe we were the only ones.

              1. re: kevin h

                Thanks. And right, you did talk about the microscopic portions. I was told that for parties of 7 or less, not everyone at the table has to get the tm if one person wants to do it. So that will be good, since I think some of my friends want the tm, but I'm not so sure that I do.

                1. re: kevin h

                  Most cocktails in the cocktail list are $17.00

                  1. re: melangeinc

                    Yikes!! I thought the $14 cocktails at Comme Ca are high.

              2. The original comment has been removed
                1. Haven't been yet, but thank you for a thorough report and great pictures. I felt like I was there with you!

                  1. Well i was in there tonight and i have to honest that the service was a little shakey, however the food was pretty f___king good. my wife and i decided to take the a la carte having about 5 courses in total including desert, as we are both a little on the greedy side when i comes to food, and every thing was very tasty. one thing of perticular note was the pigs head with english peas, unbeleivable!!! really one to put them on the map.
                    I've been to most restaurants of note in LA and generally i'm very disapointed. yeah there are some good places which are well designed but the kitchen is usually staffed by what might as well be the team from hells kitchen. i was at katsuya last week and the food was pittyfull, really for a place thats supposed to be one of the hot spots of LA it really sucked food wise, service average but every one looking very lovely, this gets a bit boring after awhile doesn't any one else think so?
                    As regards to you saying that the dishes are not michelin standard, i completely disagree I've been to some one stars in this town and they really do not deserve the stars that they received last year.
                    i think it's obvious that it's not like the restaurant he has in London or NY, but do you really think that fine dinning suits LA???

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: bobb bob bob

                      I definitely think there's a place for fine dining in LA, but perhaps with a twist vis-à-vis similar East Coast establishments. For example, I think Providence, which many think deserves over one Michelin star, is on the right track. The mere name "Gordon Ramsay" leads one to have a certain expectation of the quality of dining involved, and I don't think that expectation is being met now.

                      You bring up a good point with Katsuya. I think the original Studio City location is solid, but I've heard many mixed reviews about the Hollywood restaurant, which appears to be more about the scene than the food. I'm just afraid Gordon Ramsay will fall into the same trap.

                      1. re: kevin h

                        kevin -- big fan of your reviews but you were way off the mark on this one-- please focus on the food instead of getting signed menus.

                        my review:

                        1. re: radman123

                          I'm not sure I understand your comment. I just read your review and we're on the same page here: portions are tiny, the food a letdown, and the experience not at the level it should be.

                          1. re: kevin h

                            you're probably right - i may have been a little grumpy -- since I was still STARVED from eating at Ramsays