Last week was a big one in the LA steakhouse arena. Caught up in the small plates and pork belly frenzy of the past year plus, it had been a hot second since the area was graced with some new, intriguing abodes de red meat. Not just did Oliver's Prime open at The Grafton hotel on Sunset, but so did Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak in Glendale. Since Glendale is more than a hop, skip and a jump from the westside, I unfortunately haven't made it out there yet. Luckily, fellow blogger/writer/cool person Gastronomy did. I did, however, fight the traffic and the after dark dastradly dwellers of Sunset Blvd to give the swanky Oliver's Prime a whirl. The new restaurant is the initial phase of a total remodel at the Grafton that will include a new bar, lobby and guest rooms.
Although it's fair to say the restaurant and its menu remain in their nascent stages (the sides and salads both desire some tinkering), there are three foodstuffs you definitely should order at Oliver's...
Start with the Lobster Caprese. Don't even think about not doing it. Over the past few years nouveau steakhouses have struggled with their appetizers. A constant discussion and attempt to stick to old steakhouse classics, while also hoping to modernize. This often leads to dishes that just don't work in that particular setting. Oliver's Lobster Caprese tightropes the line well - a fresh salad of cherry tomatoes, buffalo mozz, vibrantly green basil pesto, reduced aged balsamic and hearty lobster meat. The sweetness of the thick balsamic works especially well with the crustacean.
The beef filet at Oliver's is fine. Juicy, tasty, adequate. Just like at any high end carne shack. What you need to order at O.P. is the Bison. Not widely available in this neck of the woods, the bison steak is leaner and healthier than most beef steaks. This despite tasting incredibly similar. A blind taste test probably would prove the differences null to the average palette. Also, unlike most of the competition in 2014, Oliver's does not upsell on rubs and dipping sauces. Every meat order comes with one complimentary selection; I recommend the Sea Salt and Peppercorn rub and Creamy Horseradish Sauce.
We weren't even going to order dessert (I'm on a low-carb wedding diet after all), but it's really, really hard for me to resist Bread Pudding. It's very much my kryptonite. I'm really glad we ordered it this time too because Oliver's serves one of the city's most playful and overall best bread puddings. What can basically be described as a deconstructed version of the dish, it breaks down to long brioche sticks (like a better version of Burger King's French Toast Sticks), house-whipped chocolate chip whipped cream, a smooth creme anglaise and "cinnamon smoke." Yes, cinnamon smoke. Lifting up that glass on the left there unleashes a burnt cinnamon aroma that fills the table and surrounding area. Gimmicky? Sure. Still pretty whimsical and fun? Sure.
Oliver's Prime (at The Grafton on Sunset)
8462 W. Sunset Blvd, WeHo
Valet parking available