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Like truffles on your fries?

Dakota, the latest from Tim and Liza Goodell, is an American chophouse

with a Hollywood vibe.

By S. Irene Virbila
Times Staff Writer

June 23, 2005

On a summer evening, the setting sun brushes with gold the massive stone pillars, the leather booths and the barflies at Dakota, in the glamorous 1927 dining room of the revamped Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

Designed by Dodd Mitchell, who has done of string of trendy restaurants and clubs in L.A., Dakota is less over-the-top than most of his projects. He's repeated the black leather tablecloths from Dolce and put blocky wooden cummerbunds around the pillars. I'm not sure what to make of those "curtains" at the entrance, which look like leather licorice whips, but the lobby, all in black leather, looks terrifically chic.

And Dakota, the restaurant, breaks new ground for Hollywood. It's the latest project from Tim and Liza Goodell (Aubergine, Troquet and Red Pearl in Orange County and Meson G in L.A.). They've brought in Jeff Armstrong, who has worked with them at several of their restaurants, as executive chef. The concept is classic American chophouse, a genre which is a first for Goodell, who is known for his French-California cuisine at Aubergine in Newport Beach.

Picture onion rings, cut thick and piled in a tower, the smallest at the very top. They may be the best I've had, ever — sweet and tender, cloaked in a gossamer batter. Steak tartare is textbook-perfect, its flavors shrewdly balanced, and presented with a scoop of purple-black olive tapenade and a quail's egg. Dakota serves oysters by the dozen paired with an apple cider ginger mignonette. Salads include a classic Caesar garnished with shaved Parmesan and fried capers, or a butter-leaf wedge with apple-smoked bacon and Point Reyes blue cheese.

One small genre is seafood cocktails made with jumbo shrimp, Dungeness crab, lobster or all three. And you can get a plate of sashimi too, with yuzu gelée and seaweed salad.

The bargain from the chophouse menu is the $21 10-ounce hanger steak, a cut for those of us more interested in flavor than a butter-tender texture. This gives you something to chew on. But there are also the standard rib-eye and New York cuts, and a 28-ounce côte de boeuf for two, all prime Black Angus beef. The kitchen also weighs in with a hefty veal or kurobuta pork chop. But the real sleeper here may be the duck — the sliced breast and some confit too (when they haven't run out of it).

Dakota follows the usual steakhouse format with a choice of sauces, including a killer bearnaise, and à la carte sides. Go for the frites with Parmesan and black truffles and the sauteed hen-of-the-woods mushrooms.

The truffles may be gilding the lily, but what the heck, it's Hollywood and it's glam.


Where: Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles

When: Breakfast, 6 to 11 a.m. daily; lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; dinner, 6 to 10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 6 to 11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; brunch, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Valet parking.

Cost: Appetizers, $9 to $24; fish and shellfish, $24 to $42; meat and poultry, $18 to $40; sides, $7 to $8

Info: (800) 950-7667; (323) 769-8888

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