The Gourmet Detective
Getting Social At
Lexington Social House
by Michele Elyzabeth and Pamela Price
There are so many wonderful restaurants in Los Angeles that as reviewers, it is quite difficult to follow the progress of the eateries that we have visited. In our 16th Issue, we paid a visit to the newly opened “Lexington Social House” located at 1718 N. Vine Street in Hollywood and were very impressed. So when we met Diane Clemenhagen, their wine and events manager, at the COL*COA Film Festival, we thought the time had come to revisit the place and get acquainted with the new chef, David Feau. Lexington Social House, which opened in June of 2011, is the brainchild of brother-sister duo Jeremy and Junella Chin, a New York real estate developer and doctor respectively. Pamela and I were anxious to see how it held up!
It is not unusual for restaurants which have been opened for a few years to show their age, but in this instance, LSHl has not. The restaurant was as beautiful as we remembered it. We were greeted by Diane who offered us a tour of the place. All of the adjectives: chic, inviting, distinguished, soothing, glamorous, which we had used three years ago, still applied. Just as before, we felt quite welcome. Going through the patio we noticed the huge fireplace setting the mood. There, Diane organizes different events including a night of poetry where you can come to spend a relaxing evening listening to beautiful readings. We understood that next they will host a wine night where you will be able to participate in wine tastings. The club portion to the left of the marble bar is still active and features many genres of music, from jazz to Brazilian, salsa, etc. Lexington still retains its traditional dining room where the classic Queen Anne chairs with five legs meets the contemporary art and design. The outdoor space breathes comfort and entertainment. Though we could go on and on about the ambiance, let’s not forget that our main reason for going there was to check out Chef David Feau’s cuisine and we surely were ready for it.
Chef Feau is accompanied by his Chef de Cuisine, Ryan Kluver. Feau is no stranger to classic culinary art, being the former Executive Chef at venues such as Patina, The Royce, New York City’s Lutèce, as well as at Bistrot de L’Etoile and at Le Miravile of Paris. He was trained under the guidance of “the best of the best,” Chef Guy Savoy in Paris.
As in all of our reviews, we always take the Chef’s suggestions and taste the signature dishes. In this case, that means most of the menu. We started with one of our favorites, the Mini Crab Cakes ($10), which are gluten free and have the surface consistency of a falafel ball, a nice change from the usual crumby fried crab cakes. The five mini-cakes are served with ginger, turmeric and hot slaw. For salad, the Goat Cheese “Crotin” Gratinee ($14) is a mache salad with bacon vinaigrette, egg and bits of bacon. This is the heartiest of salads and a delicious combination, where the bacon compliments the rich goat cheese.
If there is one theme we noticed throughout the meal, it is that each dish always has greens to accompany, from grilled vegetables to arugula. Next was the Poached and Seared Beef Tongue ($14) with pickled sauce on a bed of spinach salad. You would not expect a dish with tongue in the title to be as tender as this beef was, it was tender to perfection. Although this is an appetizer, it could also be served as an entree.
If you want to share, Lexington’s house selection flatbread pizzas are perfect. For the meat lovers, try the Tarte Flambee with caramelized onions, guanciale, bacon and dressed with arugula. What is guianciale, you ask? It’s an Italian cured meat prepared from pork jowl or cheeks. This is extremely rich, making the pizza very filling.
For the formal entrees, their Pan Roasted Salmon ($22) is fresh and cooked perfectly with scrumptious baby artichokes, barigoule sunchokes (also known as the Jerusalem artichoke) and nantes carrots. Michele’s favorite was the zesty Grilled Half Chicken ($22) with glazed heirloom carrots, sugar snap peas and pea tendrils. On the other hand, my preferred main dish was the Braised Beef Brisket with salsify puree and grilled vegetables. The beef was so tender it could melt in your mouth. The brisket is offered on the Lexington’s special menu, which they’ve catered for the theater-goers at the Pantages just down the street. The Prix-Fixe menu is available with two courses at $29 or $37 with dessert and the restaurant validates your parking so you don’t have to worry about finding a new spot in between dinner and the show.
As for the dessert, it’s still as sweet and delicious as before. The ultimate comfort dessert is the Lexington’s Monkey Bread ($8), homemade with brown sugar walnuts and a coconut sorbet. Be sure to dip the bread in the sorbet! But the go-to is their Berry Cheesecake ($8), the size of a petite tart with fresh raspberries lining the crown.
Not only is the food as impressive as before, but the prices are even more affordable and the portions are just right. Whether you’re seeing a Broadway/LA show at The Pantages or a concert at The Fonda Theatre, you must do yourself a favor and dine at the Lexington Social House, or even stop by for a cocktail or too.