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First Impressions

A Cabin Goes Urban

January 08, 1988|RUTH REICHL

Just about everybody in Los Angeles who fantasized about opening a little restaurant some day wanted it to be Dominick's. It was the perfect little place--a rustic cabin plunked improbably down behind Cedars-Sinai. It was a place that was meant to serve steaks, chops and unasked-for advice, and it looked like it had wandered in off some rural American road.

It doesn't look like that anymore. The restaurant at 8715 Beverly Blvd., (213) 659-5171, is now Dominick's by Silvio's, and it's grown up, gone sleek and turned into a proper Los Angeles restaurant. Now it's all peach and green, with flowers on the plates, paintings on the walls and butter that comes out under a little silver dome. Where the fish used to swim--in a bowl behind the bar--are just a lot of bottles and glasses.

Where you find fish, these days, is on the menu. The food is fancy, with dishes like creamy vegetable flan surrounded by lobster and caviar, or salmon tartare. A salad comes in a campari dressing, terrine of smoked salmon in a "Chinese gooseberry coulis."

Entrees include dishes like tuna and swordfish in pesto, lobster, sea bass steamed in cabbage leaves and, in a concession to the past, "Dominick's steak." I thought about ordering the steak. Then I thought again. In this fancy new room, it just wouldn't have tasted right.

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