The Courier’s Restaurant Review by MERV HECHT-LA SEINE
The Courier’s Restaurant Review by MERV HECHT
Only in America! Well, maybe something like it exists in Israel, or New York City, but it would be hard to beat the quality of the kosher food at La Seine in Beverly Hills. I don’t know why it was such a surprise, but it was.
One surprise is the sushi bar. Who knew sushi was kosher? They have my favorites of course, tuna and yellowtail, at $6-$8 for an order of regular sushi or a roll, for $14-$15 for sashimi. The specialty rolls trend toward the spicy, which I like; and my favorite is the Marilyn Moon Roll, a delicious mélange of spicy crab, tuna carpaccio and garlic sesame oil. Of course any combination of hot spicy peppers and garlic is almost always my favorite. Then too, my sister’s name used to be Marilyn.
A second surprise is that some of the dishes really taste as if they had cream in them. Of course, since this is a kosher meat restaurant they don’t. But the chef is so creative that you don’t miss the daily at all. Taste the soups and the crème brulee and you can hardly believe there is no cream used. And what about that vanilla bean (soy) ice cream?
The third surprise (Okay, perhaps only for me since I’m from a small Midwestern town) is the quality of the meat. When I think of kosher meat I think of my grandmother’s brisket. While the menu has pasta, fish, chicken and lamb, the far-and-away favorite here is the steak.
The steaks come as a 10-ounce flatiron for $28, to a 32- ounce cote de boeuf at $64, and a bone-in or boneless ribeye. The bone-in ribeye is 20-ounce for $42, which seemed more than I needed, so the last time I was there I chose the 8-ounce boneless ribeye at $28.
I wouldn’t say it’s the best steak I ever had, but there was nothing wrong with it; and it was as good as 90 percent of the steaks I get around town. It was cooked medium rare and nicely presented with wild mushrooms and béarnaise sauce on the side (all at extra charges). I certainly couldn’t tell it was kosher.
The only telltale sign of it being a kosher restaurant was the clientele, which included a number of elderly men out with their families, all dressed in traditional Jewish clothing. As they say, “a good time was had by all.” In fact, one of the nice features of this restaurant is that it draws a well-behaved family crowd clearly enjoying the dining.
There was an almost adequate wine list, but the wine service was very helpful, and the prices very reasonable. I saw a number of customers enjoying cocktails, and these seemed to be much more creative than the wine list.
One aspect of the restaurant often mentioned in reviews is the beauty of the interior. The wood, stone and leather elements, the brick walls, the two fireplaces, all combine to make it feel homey and inviting. The owner, a typical French businessman, is right there watching over things, and, unlike the stereotypical Frenchman he too is warm and inviting, friendly and eager to converse. And the Executive Chef Alex Reznik was one of the Top Chefs on season #7 of Bravo Channel’s popular show.
What more can be said? This is a first-class kosher restaurant with high-quality French-style food, great steaks, a complete menu, excellent cocktails and even a sushi bar. I read somewhere there is live entertainment later in the evenings.
At dinner, all I could think of was “only in Beverly Hills.”
The Courier’s restaurant critic Merv Hecht has been a consultant to several national food and wine importing companies the past 22 years.
14 N. La Cienega Blvd,
Beverly Hills CA 90211
Open for dinner only.
Sunday through Thursday, 6 -10 p.m.,
Saturday, 8-11 p.m.