I wasn’t planning on doing this post since there is so much else going on right now, and the pics were taken in a dark restaurant with flash (far from ideal food photo conditions), but Cleo was so exceptional I just had to share.


Jewels as Cleopatra

My jaw literally dropped as I walked into the absolutely stunning restaurant, at the new Redbury Hotel in Hollywood. I was greeted by a jovial hostess standing in front of a massive photograph of silent film actress Thedra Bara dressed as Queen Cleopatra in the entrance.

Brussels Sprouts with Capers & Almonds

That striking scene gave way to an enormous dining room fit for royalty. Ceilings that seemed to stretch to the heavens, an open kitchen filled with a flury of chefs whites bustling about, dramatic lighting, comfortable booths and tables with enough distance between them to offer intimacy, yet filled to the brim with enough trendy patrons to feel a part of the “in crowd.” My only cautionary note is the music was a tad bit on the loud side for flowing conversation, and rock-n-roll felt somewhat incongruous to the setting.

Heirloom Tomato, Feta, Picholine, Honey-Sherry Vinaigrette

Beets, Avocado, Candied Walnuts, & Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Executive Chef Danny Elmaleh’s menu is as scrumptious as it is extensive and tantalizingly exotic. A decadent combination of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Cuisine served as little rustic bursts of perfection, creating an oral symphony of robust flavors.

Moussakah: Beef Ragout with Eggplant, Feta, & Pine Nuts


Grilled Octopus with Celery, Crushed Potatoes, & Lemon Vinaigrette

 

After the intensely wonderful, sugar rimmed virgin Clementina cocktail our waitress brought me (crushed basil, Serrano Chile, and freshly squeezed orange and lemon juices – the adult version also has Svedka Clementine in it), I trusted her culinary guidance implicitly.

 

 


Sonoma Lamb, Lebaneh, & Israeli Cous Cous

Scallops with Lebaneh, Dill, Orange, & Moroccan Dry Cured Olives

Be ware, the Brussels Sprouts are like crack – you’ll instantly be addicted! Each dish that followed made me crave the next. TheMoussakah, Octopus, and Roast Lamb were also amongst my favorites.

Chocolate Lava Cake with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, & Baked Banana

No matter how gluttonous I’ve been, actually each plate was just one or two bites when shared between three of us- so not quite as over-indulgent as it seems, there is always room for a bite (or ten) of dessert. This masterfully baked chocolate lava cake oozed rich dark chocolate, the flavor so well balanced by the baked banana and vanilla bean ice cream, but

Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

the steamed date pudding smothered in butterscotch sauce, topped with vanilla bean, was beyond a worthy offering to the Gods (and this mere mortal). A sumptuous treat not to be missed!

A happily satiated Jewels

I may not have been able to travel abroad this year, but my taste buds still got to take that journey. Cleo just climbed to the top of my list of favorite L.A. restaurants. I shall return.
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