With executive chef Jason Johnston at the helm of chic restaurant, Dakota, you quickly realize that this isn’t your average steakhouse in Hollywood, or your average dining experience.
Dakota takes pride in the ambience of the restaurant and the presentation of the food, to the same degree as the actual taste and flavor of the items on its menu. In other words, food is their business and they are definitely not taking it lightly. The first thing that struck me upon arrival at Dakota, located within the famed Roosevelt Hotel, was the grandeur of the décor, which immediately evoked images of old Hollywood in its glory days. The days when starlets and studio execs would lounge on the dark leather banquettes, while discussing who was going to star in their next picture…. but I digress.
After being sat by the affable hostess, the meal started with what I often consider the deal breaker or the dealmaker, the breadbasket. I’m happy to report that with a choice of pretzel bread, bacon popover, olive bread, cheddar bread and Parmesan lahvosh, the only deals I was going to be making, was with my treadmill the next day. That said it was well worth every bite. Our waiter, Giuseppe, inquired as to our food aversions, allergies and preferences and customized a perfectly balanced tasting menu based upon the above-mentioned specifics.
Maryland crab cakes with cilantro aioli… Heavenly. Black truffle quail egg
flatbread… Divine. French fries with Parmesan black truffle… Nirvana, and those were just the appetizers.
For the main course, I opted for the Diver scallops with truffle grits (the truffles were somewhat of a theme, but I wasn’t complaining). I found the dish to be a tad on the salty side, but it didn’t stop me from cleaning my plate. My partner opted for the Filet Mignon, a 28-day aged beef from Omaha. From what I could gather from the look of delight on her face, it was a success. Dessert was a trio: a modern take on an ice cream sandwich; chocolate truffles garnished with rosemary and salt, and finally a warm apple tartin. Too sum it up done, done, oh yeah… and done.
All in all, a decadent and delightful dining experience.
7000 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA, 90028
Q&A w/ Executive Chef at Dakota, Jason Johnston:
Q: What factors did you keep in mind while creating the menu for Dakota?
A: When creating the menus for Dakota I always keep a few keys in mind. The first being, to respect the food, as we are a steakhouse at heart that means selecting the highest quality ingredients, cooking those ingredients properly, and presenting them in a pleasing manner for the guest. The second is seasonality, California has access to such wonderful seasonal produce that it is easy work into the menu. The third is ‘what will please the guest?’, we achieve this through selecting and offering great, quality ingredients and incorporating French, Italian and some Asian culinary techniques to enhance the guest experience.
Q: At Dakota how much of what’s in season dictates what’s on the menu?
A: Seasonality is heavily relied on in Dakota when we are working out our appetizers and composed entree’s. Items like the Butternut Squash Bisque with Maine Lobster Salad or the Fresh Corn Salad with Basil Vinaigrette are two appetizer examples. The Trout Meuniere with Caramelized Salsify and Baby Parsnips or Scottish Salmon with Kabocha Squash puree are two of the entree examples of seasonality being the focus of Dakota.
Q: How is Dakota different from other chop houses in Los Angeles
A: What separates Dakota from the other steak houses in LA is how we incorporate different culinary techniques into the classic steakhouse genre. We have a daily pasta offering that is prepared daily in the kitchen from scratch, we are preparing our Foie Gras terrine in house, and we also showcase different house made sausages from time to time, like the Spicy Italian sausage for a pasta dish or Merguez which was on our menu last year and will be offered at our new Sunday brunch.
Q: Where did you work before coming on to Dakota?
A: Prior to working at Dakota I worked at the Pierre Hotel in NYC and the Bellagio in Las Vegas
Q: What is your personal favorite item on the menu at Dakota and which wine would you pair it with?
A: My favorite appetizer is the Foie Gras which I would pair with the Grunhauser Herrenberg Kabinett Riesling. For an entree, a rare, Kansas City steak (bone in New York) with the Sweet Corn Gratin and the Lyonaise potato and a side of Bordelaise which I would pair with a Paul Hobbs “Beckstoffer” Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa.