Apr 12, 2010
The Grill on Hollywood De-Livers with the Liver Lovers Menu. Hollywood, CA.
The Grill in the Hollywood & Highland Complex.
You may not expect to experience anything real at the corner of Hollywood and Highland where a quick stroll down the block past the Mann Chinese Theatres will get you accosted by the (look-a) likes of Marilyn Monroe, an emaciated Superman, angry Batman and at least two Captain Jack Sparrows.
It doesn't get much better within the Hollywood & Highland Complex where gimmicky food shacks and mediocre restaurants mimic many mall food courts and don't seem to offer anything substantive.
The Grill on Hollywood, however, is a refreshing exception. It's also a place that proudly serves liver on a special Liver Lovers menu in a town crazy for pork belly, la viande du jour, pardon my French.
Liver used to be a common menu item back in yesteryear which, perhaps, is the reason why Executive Chef John Sola is showcasing the fantastic filter organ for a limited time.
From April 19th to the 26th, liver is what's for dinner on the special Liver Lovers menu. The Hollywood, Westlake and original Beverly Hills branch of The Grill will be grilling up liver for those who crave it.
A classic American-style restaurant, The Grill on Hollywood is a cozy reminder of the golden days of Tinsel Town with its masculine dark wood panels and warm inviting glow illuminating from the horseshoe bar, that is, until the resurrected Michael Jackson moonwalks past your patio table "hee-heeing!!" the whole way, harshing your mellow. (In Hollywood that's called suspending your suspension of disbelief.)
A meeting of CEOs.
Fortunately, The Grill's "CEO" martini, made with Chopin Vodka and as many olives a miniature spear can impale, will pull you back into the cool of the old school, marinating your own liver in booze while you wait to feast on a calf's.
Mini crab cakes, the center of attention.
Mini is big at The Grill. An exceptional example is the mini crab cake, a tiny lump, dense with Dungeness crab and virtually no filler, dolloped with a beurre blanc sauce, full of that special crabby patty flavor and so easy to eat while gripping a martini glass. It's also a great segue into the Liver Lovers menu.
This Liver Lovers affair begins with a fresh cleansing salad composed of endive, spicy pecans, romaine and Gorgonzola cheese. And it's always a good idea to get some wholesome vegetables down before any organ meat extravaganza to offset the generally higher cholesterol content of the meat.
I like liver but only as a friend. Although I was ready to take our relationship to the next level and to, you know, like like liver, maybe even to love liver, I wanted to take it slow and really get to know this liver. The promise was that The Grill's liver was like no other. (It's the restaurant's signature dish.) I've heard that one before, but that's why I was at The Grill for their Liver Lovers Menu. You might say I was being set up.
But I had to pick between two options: Calf's Liver with Bacon and Onions or Calf's Liver with Bordelaise Sauce. Not an easy choice so, like a pimp, I picked both. Each cooked rare like the Europeans love their liver.
The BLB. Bacon, liver and broccoli.
The obvious prediction would be that the generous steak of tender, young calf's liver of just a few weeks old would be irresistible married with caramelized onions and thick strips of crisp bacon. Not true for me. Although the bacon was hearty, smoky and very satisfying, little of that goodness was transferred to the liver which was bland and also slightly overcooked and not as tender as desired. Unfortunately, the caramelized onions didn't do much to moisten the substantial cut of gut either.
Dream liver. The Calf's Liver with Bordelaise Sauce.
On the other hand, the slab of calf's liver with the bordelaise sauce more than made up for its bacon and onion cousin's shortcomings. The luscious red wine sauce transformed this delicacy from simply a gland entrée into a grand entrée making it succulent in texture as well as highlighting the liver's savory boldness and iron richness rather than its gaminess.
The oft-cited, off-putting mealiness in texture and gaminess in flavor are most people's twin turnoffs when it comes to liver. But not in Chef Sola's kitchen. His bordelaise liver dish very likely could be a perfect match for people who don't hate liver but aren't necessarily in love with it either, people like me.
There was some bread on the table, but who needed it when the delectable bordelaise sauce was easily sopped up with the firm yet spongy-fleshed liver. My entire sizeable portion of liver was joyously devoured because of this amazingly ambrosial red wine sauce.
Yeah, me and liver, we hooked up, but it was more than that. It was love with each bite.
Hey, lovers, the Liver Lovers menu starts April 19th and goes to the 26th. It's a 3 item menu that includes a salad, liver choice and dessert for $37.75. The wine pairing is an extra 10 bucks.
(This was a press preview meal.)
The Grill on Hollywood is located at the Hollywood & Highland complex.
6801 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90028
Friday & Saturday: 11:30am–11pm