Why I Love WeHo #2: Celebrity-Owned DiningBy: Brittany Nicole La Hue
Hello! My name is Brittany Nicole and I’m the PR and Marketing intern at the West Hollywood Marketing and Visitor’s Bureau! Although I live in LA, I’m mostly new to West Hollywood. Through my internship, I’ve been able to learn a lot about the city, its history, and its super-fun entertainment, nightlife, special events, LGBT scene, delicious restaurants and designer shopping. I can truly say that I’m falling in love with WeHo the more I discover.
That’s why I created the “Why I Love WeHo” blog series. As I get out and explore the city, I want to share my cool findings, fun experiences and reasons for falling in love with West Hollywood with you. Whether you’re a local who wants to find out about new things to do, a SoCal native that doesn’t make the trip to WeHo very often, or someone from out of state or even the country, you can follow me through my blogs and learn about West Hollywood with me!
I hope that you come to love it as much as I do. Feel free to comment on my blogs, send me topic suggestions, or use the hashtag #WhyILoveWeHo on Twitter to share the reasons why YOU love WeHo too!
This week’s topic is fine West Hollywood dining owned by celebrities. Several WeHo hotspots are owned by famous people: AGO (Robert DiNero, Ridley Scott & Harvey Weinstein), Dominick’s (Rose McGowan, Laura Dern & Ben Harper), SUR Restaurant and SUR Lounge (Lisa Vanderpump & Ken Todd) and Crossroads/Porch Restaurant at the House of Blues (Dan Aykroyd & Jim Belushi). In addition, celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay have restaurants in West Hollywood (Gordon Ramsay at the London West Hollywood, Boxwood Café by Gordon Ramsay).
While there’s never a shortage of celebrities dining in WeHo, now you have the opportunity to visit their own creations. To see for myself, I ventured to SUR Lounge for drinks and to SUR Restaurant for dinner.
SUR RESTAURANT & SUR LOUNGE
Sexy Unique Restaurant was opened in 2001 by Guillermo Zapata, and in 2005 he and his wife joined forces with Lisa Vanderpump Todd and her husband Ken. Both couples have a long history of owning and operating fine restaurants and bars in Los Angeles and London. SUR was designed to be an eclectic and cutting-edge take on South-European dining.
When Lisa Vanderpump became a housewife on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the public got to watch the development and design of her newest creation, SUR Lounge, conveniently located right next door to SUR Restaurant. Being a fan of Real Housewives (and Lisa Vanderpump’s 4 dogs), I had been dying to visit the two establishments since I began working in West Hollywood. Luckily, my wonderful boyfriend took me to both SUR locations for an anniversary dinner.
Arriving a bit early for our 7:30 reservations (which we were lucky to secure from a helpful associate) we decided to stop by SUR Lounge first for a drink or three. Walking in, I was amazed by the décor, and I immediately decided that I wanted to move in. The girly and young decorations like miniature velvet stools and caged chandeliers were offset by classy and grown-up glass tiles, French pillows and antique leather Chesterfield sofas. There was no shortage of pink and lavender, which I adored, and the reflective surfaces made me conscious of the fact that this was definitely a place to see and be seen.
Some Beverly Hills housewife-looking women were busy setting up for a birthday party, but other than that the guests ranged from couples to groups of ladies-who-lunch (albeit we were admittedly there pretty early in the evening and the social scene might be quite different later on).
Although the décor was stunning, the best part about SUR Lounge was the drinks. Upon opening our velvet menus, we immediately noticed the exotic and unique offering of drinks on the menu. I was most impressed by the creative champagne concoctions. I began the night with a Flirtini (Chandon, Skyy Pineapple and pineapple juice), and progressed to Bellinis (Chandon, Peach Schnapps and peach nectar). My boyfriend saw the SUR Champagne Julep (Maker’s Mark whisky, fresh mint and champagne) and deemed it so weird that he just had to try it – and it was delicious! The service from the waitress and bartender was also good and if I wasn’t so hungry I wouldn’t have wanted to leave.
It’s easy to get to SUR Restaurant from the lounge – all you have to do is walk through the arch emblazoned with “Sexy Unique Restaurant” and you’re there. After being seated at a perfect corner table on the patio, we were able to draw the linen curtains (“for privacy from the paparazzi,” as we were told). While the hot pink velvet menus were probably not the most practical choice for a white candlelit table (as was evident from the many round scorch marks on them), they were beautiful nevertheless, and just cheesy enough to be fun and playful.
The waiter was prompt and nice, our fellow diners were so friendly and the atmosphere was very romantic. We decided to start with a delicious bread basket, and then the fried goat cheese balls with cucumber salad and mango sauce for an appetizer. I’ve never been much of a cheese person, but even I couldn’t resist the yummy batter on the cheese balls. When paired with the bread from the bread basket they were even better.
I was even more impressed by the entrees. My angel hair checca was not only vegetarian, but it was reasonably priced at $16 (and was so large, it lasted me for 3 meals). My boyfriend went with the skirt steak with basil butter sauce, Sur salad and French fries, and was definitely in taste bud heaven. Being a vegetarian, I of course know nothing about steak, but I was told that $23 for such a large, high quality, perfectly cooked steak was a scandalous steal.
Overall, even better than the delicious food and exotic and strong drinks, my favorite part of SUR Restaurant and Lounge is that they are unapologetically themselves. Lisa Vanderpump did an amazing décor job – she kept true to her young girly side even to the point of cheesiness, added some upscale and more popular design, and then let it go. Her personality shines through, the clientele obviously enjoy it and my taste buds are already craving another visit. Definitely check it out the next time you desire fine dining at a reasonable price.
SUR Restaurant and Bar is located at 606 North Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood, and SUR Lounge is next door at 612 North Robertson Boulevard.Tags: celebrity , dining , why i love weho