Mediterranean Magnificence at Delphine Eatery & Bar West Hollywood
As part of the Innovative Dining Group (IDG), known for its trendy and stylish restaurants like Sushi Roku, Boa Steakhouse, and Katana, the Delphine extends the company’s commitment to excellent food, uncommon ambiance, and distinctive overall dining – as was my recent experience.
The restaurant has an open-air concept as part of a 6,000 foot indoor-outdoor space at the hotel that includes “The Living Room” indoor lounge and “Station” – an outdoor lounge space situated on a W Hotel terrace. The modern interior design at Delphine is lively, replete with vibrant colors, bold patterns and grand scale décor, juxtaposed with beach wood, muted fabrics and other understated accents that exemplify a laid-back Provençal lifestyle. Retro black and white artwork featuring seafront scenes sets the right tone for the seafood-laden menu. In all, the vibe at Delphine is extremely pleasant and the venue is as appropriate for lunch with clients as it is for dinner with family and friends.
From my recent visit I can tell you that service here is top-notch. A friendly, prompt, and highly professional wait staff remains at the ready to offer preference-based food and drink recommendations from a menu they know inside and out.
Speaking of the menu, Delphine offers a litany of fresh and flavorful Mediterranean morsels reflective of France’s Côte d’Azur, Spain’s Costa Brava and the Italian Riviera courtesy of Executive Chef Sascha Lyon – a culinary master with many achievements to his credit. Upon graduating from the Culinary Institute of America at the age of 20, he went directly to work as one of Daniel Boulud’s opening staff for his New York restaurant, Daniel. From there, he worked at Balthazar and then Pastis, both in New York. Sascha then tried his hand at his own restaurant with the critically-acclaimed SASCHA Restaurant. When the opportunity arose to command the helm at Delphine for IDG, Chef Lyon returned to his L.A. roots to the distinct pleasure of locals and tourists alike.
While the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and brunch (weekends only), I recently hit this eminent eatery for its dinner service. On this evening, I had the opportunity to sample a wide array of Chef Lyon’s offerings and the experience exceeded all expectation.
The evening started with the restaurant’s delicious and unique cocktails. I opted for the “Clemintini,” a refreshing Clementine martini. Other great options included the Espice Rouge with Grey Goose Le Citron Vodka, lemon sour, blackberries, raspberries, jalapeno, Agave nectar and splash of soda; as well as the Lavande, which is made from Delcon Diamante Tequila, blueberries, Agave nectar, lavender bitters and soda. Of course, Delphine offers a great wine list, with many red, white, rose and sparkling varietals offered by the glass. Premium beers are available on draft or by the bottle.
With drinks flowing, it was time to vet the victuals. From Delphine’s raw bar came a commanding platter teeming with shellfish served atop a crushed ice and seaweed bed. A copious combination of shrimp cocktail, briny east coast oysters, New Zealand Mussels, Kumamoto Oysters with spicy tomato granite, and Endive surrounded a bed of shrimp, mussel and squid Ceviche. This ocean extravaganza can be amped up with other available raw bar options, including west coast oysters, little neck clams, head-on prawns, live Maine lobster, and Bairdi snow crab.
In addition to its raw bar, Delphine has a bevy of other starters. Prime Beef Carpaccio with fennel, arugula, preserved lemon and grana padano; Garlic Shrimp and Spicy Sausage, Roasted Garlic Hummus with crispy flatbread, and Onion Soup Gratinée are among the notables.
Next I moved on to a salad course, sampling a classic Caesar salad with bacon (incredible as expected given the Boa Steakhouse connection); and the signature Delphine salad with escarole, red onions, walnuts, and Italian Grana Padano cheese tossed in a very bright lemon truffle vinaigrette. As delicious and inventive as these salads are, the Organic Kale Salad on special was by far the most spectacular salad I’ve ever had. Deep green julienned kale is tossed with jalapeno and crisp pita bits in a creamy citrus dressing, and topped with Soledad goat feta and bits of citrus fruit. The mélange of sweet and spicy flavors with creamy and crunchy textures was utter perfection.
The third course was nothing short of gastronomic genius – a smooth, creamy and beautifully seasoned Summer Squash Rissoto topped with a generous slice of seared foie gras and topped with black truffle jus. The velvety texture of the slightly caramelized foie gras pate against the bite of the risotto, duly elevated with the rich and dense black truffle jus, is a veritable “perfect storm” of ingredients and preparations.
Although Delphine serves a great many dishes for land-lovers, like Braised Short Ribs, Dry Aged Pepper Steak, Dry Aged Rib Eye Steak, and Pan Roasted Garlic Chicken, my epicurean adventure went ocean-side for the entrée. And, as with the salads, I sampled a variety.
Most incredible was the Whole Grilled Dorade on special, the most overtly Mediterranean of the fish dishes, thoroughly stuffed with rosemary stems, a trio of olives (niçoise, piccolini and kalamata), golden raisins, and capers and prepared in brown butter. The meat of this lean and flaky fish, served whole with head, skin and tail in tact, was permeated through and through with the herb essence and tanginess of the accompanying ingredients, resulting in flavors that lovingly linger on the palate. This enjoyable entrée is aptly served with a side of Braised Fennel with roasted peppers.
Another flavor-rich entrée is the Trout Meunière, appropriately enhanced with lemon and parsley brown butter but also topped with a fantastic sautéed shrimp and potato diced hash of sorts. The Pan Roasted Halibut on special is also Mediterranean magnificence. The delicate meat, generously portioned, is moist and tender, and pairs perfectly with the other components: crushed potatoes, fresh tomatoes, and Niçoise olives accented with a tomato almond vinaigrette.
Other seafood entrée options at Delphine include Grilled Loup de Mer with roasted asparagus, onion confit and sauce vierge; and a Grilled Salmon with creamy polenta, radicchio, and beech mushrooms with a sherry vinegar jus.
There are side dishes available of various sorts: from French Fries and Mashed Potatoes to Macaroni and Cheese kicked up a notch with cured ham, sweet onions and gruyére. Green beans and spinach rounds out the vegetable sides. Bread is available throughout dinner upon request.
For dessert the edible opulence continued. An uber-rich Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Dacquoise Cake with house-made coffee ice cream was a perfect counterpoint to the Chilled Apple Risotto, made with tart green apple rice topped with caramel apples and accompanied by a salted homemade caramel ice cream. Other decadent desserts offered on the menu are Macchiato Tiramisu, Lemon & Limóncello, and a tempting Valrhona Dark Chocolate Torte With Caramel.
While on-site I did also have the honor of meeting Chef Lyon, who proved to be just as personable as he is proficient in his culinary profession. I enjoyed speaking with Chef Lyon, who is unmistakably passionate not only about his distinctive menu and cooking style, but also his “inside track” ability to source fresh fish for the restaurant above and beyond the norm.
In a word, Delphine is divine. Run, don’t walk.
Learn more online at www.RestaurantDelphine.com.
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expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any
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