The Other Critics

WP24 Charms Gold, But Not With Its Chinese; Virbila Swoons for Cleo

Photo: Tatiana Arbogast

Finally, our Chinese master diverts his attention to Puck’s W24, which pulls “kind of a Tokyo move…locating a restaurant on a random skyscraper floor,” according to Jonathan Gold. He approves of the view, offering that “WP24 really does seem like a Chinese restaurant on a different level” with “the best shrimp toast you have ever had” and “delicious hot and sour soup.” However, the place might be lacking something instrumental to Chinese luxury, namely the delicacies and occasionally, the treatment of the food, as evidenced by befuddled flavors in beggar’s purses or a “proper” duck that gets lost in thick cuts. “The farther the cooking strays from the Chinese ideal, the better it seems to be,” says Gold, sure of the steak au poivre and lamp chops. [L.A. Weekly]

S. Irene Virbila gives Cleo at The Redbury a more extensive going-over, finding it “something different, a contemporary Middle Eastern restaurant with exciting and accessible food and prices.” She eschews the overpriced bottle service and digs into a “dreamy” dip or two, wood-roasted vegetables and flatbreads, and “fine seafood” like a tagine of mussels. The noise at this trendy Hollywood epicenter nearly drives her batty, but she still deems that “eating at Cleo feels festive and fun,” clarifying that it’s “more than just another pretty face…with a cuisine that’s grounded in an authentic tradition.” Two stars! [L.A. Times]

Fiending for a real cassoulet? You’re in luck, opines Mr. Gold, as “there actually are some very respectable cassoulets in L.A., a city whose weather might seem less than amenable to a thuggish bean assault.” He points you to Bistro LQ and RH at Andaz, hoping it will make you too sluggish to throw your TV out the window. [L.A. Weekly]

At A-Frame, Roy Choi’s battalion of small plates “owes more to locals-only Hawaiian bars than it does to what most of the other guys are doing — buttered kettle corn dusted with furikake; peel-and-eat shrimp sprinkled with punishingly spicy dried-shrimp salt; and a dryish version of beer-can chicken, the perennial surf-house fave.” [L.A. Weekly]

Somehow, Richard Sandoval’s bland La Sandia broke through Los Angeles’ initial disappointment at having a chain “instead of bolstering one of our locals.” Somehow, this happens through the hard-as-stone huarache with wild mushrooms, which seems like another mediocre flatbread to us. The only real miss? They love the mole poblano but not the “dry white chciken” sucking the life out of it. [Los Angeles]

Merrill Shindler nails the vibe of L.A. Live when he calls out its “Las Vegas sensibility.” Still, he manages, surprisesurprise, to enjoy everything from Fleming’s to Rock N’ Fish to Trader Vic’s to Rosa Mexicano to waiting on line at Lawry’s. [Daily Breeze]

WP24 Charms Gold, But Not With Its Chinese; Virbila Swoons for Cleo