Located in Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar in the swanky Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles is BLVD 16, the hotel’s highly acclaimed restaurant and lounge. Not only frequented by hotel guests, BLVD 16 is a popular hangout for the locals and it’s easy to see why: It provides some great food and ambiance.
We recently had the pleasure of dining here for both dinner and breakfast (breakfast review to be included in our upcoming article on the hotel). Come take a peek at the restaurant and its food.
BLVD 16 offers fresh and innovative American cuisine revolving around each season of the year. BLVD 16’s culinary practices follow a farm-to-table philosophy with a commitment to sustainable practices. They use local organic ingredients in their food and cocktails wherever possible, sourced from Santa Monica’s Farmer’s Market and local farms. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as brunch on the weekends and even offers specially-prepared Picnic Baskets for guests who want to enjoy their meals on the go. BLVD 16’s wide selection of hand-crafted cocktails are especially popular. Private dining and catering services are both available.
Chef Richard Hodge is the culinary artist behind the restaurant and offers something else that’s really unique: A few times a week Chef Richard hosts a cooking class at a reasonable cost where he shares his culinary secrets and techniques. Participants assist in creating a 3-course meal and then sit down to enjoy it with the appropriate wine pairings.
The restaurant is divided up in two sections, the dining area and the bar and lounge. While we were there I learned that BLVD 16 had just begun something new. As of a few weeks ago the lounge is now open for lunch. Picture being able to pull up a comfy chair, removed from the hustle and bustle of LA city life, and enjoying some hot food right here.
Dark woods, leather, reds and yellows contribute to a cozy and intimate atmosphere.
Through the doors is the restaurant with soft lighting provided by hanging globes and recessed lights.
The staff was friendly and professional. We enjoyed a virgin cocktail before dinner and perused the menu. Instead of the usual simple syrup used in most cocktails, BLVD 16 uses natural sweeteners like organic honey and agave nectar. They also use California citrus and herbs.
Todd was in the mood for something lighter and I was craving some comfort food. BLVD 16 had the perfect selection for us. Todd ordered the fish tacos which came with crispy grilled fish, shredded cabbage, mango habanero salsa and lemon wedges on the side. It was a very nice presentation and a great flavor combination.
The dish I ordered sounded perfect…and it was. I had Mary’s Grilled Chicken with manchego polenta, rapini, glazed cipollini onion, and garlic jus. Now I don’t know who this Mary is, but she scored on this one. Let’s break it down: The chicken. Incredibly tender and juicy. The manchego polenta: Luxuriously creamy. Manchego is an aged sheep cheese from the La Mancha region of Spain (think Don Quixote) and it was the perfect pairing for the polenta. The glazed cipollini onions: Very classy. Cipollini onions are mild and sweet and are perfect for roasting and caramelizing. Such a great addition to this dish. The rapini: Cooked until tender-crisp with just the right amount of bite. The mild bitterness complemented the savory manchego polenta and sweet cipollini onions beautifully. The garlic jus, buttery and savory, I mopped up every last drop it.
We wanted something light and refreshing for dessert. Todd ordered some Fosselman’s sorbet which came served with fresh berries. Established in 1919, Fosselman’s is an old-fashioned ice cream shop in the Los Angeles area and all of its ice cream is made right there on the premises. It was nice to see BLVD 16’s support of this local business.
I savored the Panna Cotta, an Italian vanilla honey custard served with summer fruit and strawberry pearls. Not overly sweet and delicate in flavor and texture, it was the perfect way to end our meal.
For an intimate dining experience in a chic but cozy atmosphere with a nice selection of thoughtfully prepared food, we recommend BLVD 16.
For more information, visit their website: BLVD 16
Disclosure: We were hosted for our meal as part of our stay at Hotel Palomar. As always, all opinions are entirely my own.