Spago’s third iteration is a great place to dine and a great place to be if you want to feel like part of the unpretentious elite of Los Angeles.
This is an expensive restaurant in an expensive neighborhood. The probability of spotting some of Hollywood’s upper-crust dining in one of the booths is high. But there is nothing of the stuffy, snootiness that could infect such a place.
Spago is the flagship of Wolfgang Puck’s empire – his first restaurant and an L.A. institution since 1982. After 15 years on the Sunset Strip the restaurant moved to its current Beverly Hills location, where it continued to thrive. In 2012 Puck gave the restaurant a massive face lift and an all-new menu.
After 30 years, Spago became new again. There is electricity in the room on a Saturday night as diners talk and laugh as they eat and drink. My Tandoori marinated quail on a bed of smoked lentils was an extraordinary first course. Jennifer’s pea soup with a mound of lobster was a great way to start a meal that left us smiling. We shared a pasta dish with pork jowls and cheeks as a second course.
For the main I went with the Colorado lamb rack with falafel “macaroons”, cooked perfectly on the rare side of medium rare. Jennifer ordered the Snake River Farm’s Wagyu short rib and we shared an order of fingerling potatoes with sautéed garlic.
About half way through the meal, I proclaimed, “I’m a very happy diner.” Yes, the food itself was enough to produce deep sighs. The friendly staff, from the hostess at the front desk, to the bartender, who mixed my perfect Perfect Manhattan while we waited to be seated – we arrived very early – to the waitress, the server and the bus staff, added to the happiness that flowed from the room full of chatting and satisfied diners all went into producing the broad smiles that we shared.