Restaurant: Culina Modern Italian [1, 2]
Location: 300 S Doheny Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90048. 310) 860-4000
Date: February 9, 2017
Rating: Great Italian – Hotel or No
Hotel restaurants are always rebooting themselves, and so it goes with the 4 Seasons Beverly Hills. This time around they have brought in master Italian chef Mirko Paderno who just a year or two ago was cooking up amazing meals at the tiny Avalon Hotel and then had a brief stint at Downtown’s hot Officine.
The space has been redone in a more classy contemporary way. With a big eating bar too.
Market Oysters, Mignonette, Cocktail Sauce. Simple but great.
Crudo. Some kind of yellowtail, I can’t remember which. But the fish was superb and the olive or and bright citrus drizzle incredible. Really some great sashimi.
The wine list has some nice unusual Italians.
2014 Volpe Pasini Colli Orientali del Friuli Sauvignon Zuc di Volpe. 93 points. Dry, but intensely aromatic in a fruity, almost floral way. The fruitiness wafts up from the cup but is not fleeting or transient, but rather, evolves and persists as I drink it. Only lightly sour. Tastes very clean and leaves me feeling very good after drinking it.
Tuna tartar with quail egg and parmesan. You would barely know this was tuna, given that it was treated just like beef tartar. And an amazing tartar it was!
Sea bass on salt. A delectable chunk of fish served (cooked?) on a block of Himalayan salt.
Cauliflower panna cotta with egg and truffles. A signature of Mirko’s and an AMAZING dish. Very classic and the light velvety base just brought out the intense truffle.
2005 Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco Pagliaro. VM 94. The 2005 Montefalco Sagrantino Vigna Pagliaro has put on quite a bit of weight over the last year. Today it is a rich, sumptuous wine that totally covers the palate with dense, dark fruit. In 2005 the Pagliaro is impressive in the way it achieves superb density while retaining the elements of delicate, nuanced subtlety that inform Bea’s finest wines. This is a fabulous effort from Bea. The 2005 Pagliaro saw 46 days on the skins, followed by a year in stainless steel and two years in cask.
Gnocchi with truffles and mushrooms. Some incredible light and fluffy gnocchi, again showcasing the truffles.
They have a lot of good looking cheese.
Gorgonzola dulce on crisps. Amazing!
Chef Mirko above to mix some risotto with braised meat inside the half wheel of parmesan!
I first saw this technique at Forma.
Risotto with braised beef. Classic pairing, but awesome. The rich cheesy risotto perfectly mars with the succulent meat. Very Northern Italian.
Warm dark chocolate liquid tart. Mint chip gelato. Fabulous chocolate.
And a glass of great vin santo.
2005 Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Vin Santo del Chianti Classico. 93 points. This is a great deal in nice dessert wine.
Not only is Culina now one of the best hotel restaurants in town, it’s one of the best Italian restaurants. Mirko has always been an amazing chef, and particularly when he just “makes stuff for you.” His particular classic but quite contemporary Northern Italian is very much you get at a great (high end) place in Northern Italy — and totally scrumptious.