Hollywood and Vine is perhaps the most famous intersection in the country. This tourist mecca has been on the skids for ages, welcoming tourists with fast food, porn and panhandlers. Lately things have been looking up for the neighborhood. There is even a Starbucks there now. Across the street from the Pantages Theater is Wood & Vine, a little port in the storm. Enjoy a pre-theater drink in the bar’s cool interior, rich with dark woods. Or while away the time with dinner on the beautiful patio, hidden away in the midst of the city like a secret garden.
Chef Kyle Schutte arrived at Wood & Vine this past Spring to revamp the place. His Southern heritage shows in the balance of sweet and sour flavors, rather than LA’s usual blending of the sweet and spicy. However, he does not bring the fat usually expected from a Southerner. In lieu of butter and lard, he uses cocoa butter in his cooking. That being said, there is a deep-fried burger on the menu, so everything in moderation. Although he does not bill his cuisine as molecular gastronomy, powdered grapefruit does make an appearance. For pre-dinner drinks, we would recommend the refreshing Summerbabe, a mix of sage and thyme infused gin, an Italian apertif called Aperol, lemon and orange. The Magnolia cocktail with vodka, cucumber, lime juice and ginger honey was so delicious, we thought it would make a nice sorbet. A light accompaniment to the cocktails would be the Charcuterie and Cheese Board. The charcuterie board features a duck terrine and chicken liver mousse both made in house. The guanciale is Niman ranch and the Finocchiona is from Molinari. The cheeses are sourced from purveyors like Cypress Grove (Gotta love that Humbolt Fog). But the real star of the plate is the Whole Grain Mustard Ice Cream. We were so curious about it after seeing the ice cream on the menu, and it worked, it really did.
The perfect dinner at Wood & Vine would start with Ricotta Gnudi, which is basically Ricotta ravioli filling rolled in semolina instead of being wrapped in pasta, which is then fried and served with Sprite-tempura baby carrots, figs, braised bacon and thyme. You know something is good when you keep eating it even though it is burning your mouth. For a main course, go with the Lamb Loin with avocado, cilantro, pickled raspberries and cocoa nubs. The meat is so tender you can cut it with a butter knife, and it is cooked perfectly, rosy but not bloody. Finish with the Butterscotch with Buffalo Trace Bourbon ice cream topped with thyme crumbles. It is all about the ice cream. Someone really knows what they are doing in that department.
Chef Schutte is planning to open his own restaurant, The FLATS, he is staying on with Wood & Vine as the Executive Chef and Culinary Director, so you won’t have to miss out on Whole Grain Mustard Ice Cream.
All food and drink was complimentary