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FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Come to the Caviar, Old Chum

August 15, 1986|RUTH REICHL

Feeling seriously decadent? There's no cure quite like caviar--if you've got the cash to cover it. And you'll need plenty if you plan to visit La Maison du Caviar, which has just opened in Beverly Hills at 268 N. Beverly Drive. The phone number is (213) 859-9444.

The posh room is plush and peachy, with a sinuous bar that curves down the length of it, widely spaced tables, serious service. "Beef stroganoff," the waiter informed me, "was named for a Russian count." But beef stroganoff (actually skewers of beef), or salmon burgers, or breast of chicken, are not the dishes you will want to be eating here. None of them are very expensive, but none of them are very good.

It's the caviar you've come for, and that is excellent. Beluga costs $45 for 1 1/2 ounces, pressed caviar $15 for 1 1/2 ounces. Salmon roe is $9 for 2 ounces. Unfortunately, they are all spooned onto a plate instead of iced into those cunning little caviar holders you find in Paris. More unfortunately, the blinis are thick and doughy, and there is parsley inappropriately scattered across the sour cream.

Desserts, by Michel Richard, are limited but excellent, and there is a wide range of both vodka and Champagne.

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