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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  • November 13, 2010
    11:44 pm

    I love Brussel sprouts!Kayren Campbell

  • November 13, 2010
    11:44 pm

    Yeehaw! I love brussel sprouts! That dinner looks scrumptious! The pictures look great!Alison Sherman

  • November 13, 2010
    11:44 pm

    Even if you don't like Brussels sprouts – you would LOVE these.

  • November 14, 2010
    2:28 am

    my sprouts have NEVER looked like this xxBeth Bovaird

  • November 14, 2010
    2:29 am

    those look to die for!! even my picky 5 and 3 year olds eat brussels sprouts now that I cook them with maple syrup and bacon!! thank you!!Caryn Macek

  • November 14, 2010
    2:31 am

    Now I'm not knocking my own Brussels sprouts – I have been known to eat the entire batch in one sitting, but these Brussels sprouts were without doubt the yummiest I've ever tasted. Do you think I could beg, borrow, or steal the recipe from the chef?

  • November 14, 2010
    3:26 am

    I have to admit that looks delicious. You could probably figure the recipe out on your own by the flavors and textures of the brussell sprouts.

  • November 14, 2010
    4:05 am

    I love Brussel sprouts, I could eat them for the rest of my life and be happy.Dorah Carpenter-Caulfield

  • November 14, 2010
    4:13 am

    The dinner looked fabulous! I'm not a sugar eater but those desserts!!! The date pudding in butterscotch sauce and chocolate lava cake…it would be more of a fork battle than a shared dessert if i were there! Haha. Yum! Thanks for the inspiration julie anne!Cupcake

  • November 14, 2010
    6:15 am

    Thank you for posting the restaurant review, sounds like an interesting place! :-) Lamb w/Israeli couscous and Date pudding w/Vanilla bean ice cream look so good!Charlene Elovitz

  • November 14, 2010
    6:33 pm

    Um…hard sell to me…rather have crack…oxDenise Vivaldo

  • November 14, 2010
    6:33 pm

    Have you tried them???

  • November 14, 2010
    6:34 pm

    Yep-everyway possible.. Though I'm sure yours are the best…Denise Vivaldo

  • November 14, 2010
    6:36 pm

    I'm talking about the ones at Cleo in the Redbury Hotel (not mine, although mine kick ass too).

  • November 14, 2010
    6:54 pm

    "I know you like Cleo -I'm going to go there!"Denise Vivaldo

  • November 14, 2010
    7:46 pm

    Now I have to add Cleo's Brussels sprouts to the addictive list with Chef Joe D's polenta. If Cleo ever opens a satellite in Montgomery, I may be in trouble…

  • November 14, 2010
    8:19 pm

    ‎'Symphony of flavours': nice!! XxxMarella Oppenheim

  • November 14, 2010
    8:36 pm

    thanks for the tip and the photos.

  • November 14, 2010
    8:40 pm

    sounds divine. How do you suppose they made the brussels?Hillary Short

  • November 14, 2010
    8:42 pm

    Pulled each individual leaf apart, flash fired with capers, tossed in Sherry vinegar and toasted almond slices, then sprinkled with salt. Just my best guess.

  • November 14, 2010
    8:53 pm

    Wonder how many of us will be making to make these this week? They sound fabulous.Patti Anastasia

  • November 14, 2010
    10:08 pm

    Sounds like an amazing meal! The brussel sprouts would take me down and I think I would do the fork battle for the last mouthful of the moussakah and the couscous. Can't even imagine how wonderful these would taste.

  • November 14, 2010
    10:47 pm

    Yum, I can't wait to try these.Nikki DeBruyn Klein

  • November 14, 2010
    11:04 pm

    Love the cleo picture ! I will have serious dreams about the lava cake yum !

  • November 15, 2010
    9:34 am

    Another work of art.Mark Downie

  • November 15, 2010
    12:20 pm

    You're on! www.fashion-tarts.blogspot.com & www.thefamily-table.blogspot.comcupcakexo

  • November 15, 2010
    6:02 pm

    That pic makes me HUNGRY!JoAnne Patten Malanowski Gleason

  • November 15, 2010
    8:28 pm

    ♥ ♥ ♥Scarlette Rhamos-Friedman Riveros

  • November 15, 2010
    8:28 pm

    You must be MAJORLY busy with Thanksgiving coming up. Thanks for taking the time to Blog.Justine Owls

  • November 15, 2010
    8:30 pm

    Justine, the blog and writing are a passion just like cooking is for me. It is a pleasure (most of the time), but thank you for acknowledging the time and effort that goes into. It is always great to feel appreciated.

  • November 15, 2010
    11:56 pm

    YUmMy !!!!!xxHHeidi Gibbs

  • November 18, 2010
    12:55 am

    Wow….Cleo really sounds like the place to be right now.I think I may have just died and gone to heaven without even tasting these dreamy dishes.Aussie Mum

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