Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Surf & Turf with Plenty of Room for Sodas & Bitters & Whipped Matcha Green Tea at Baltaire.

By Laura Medina

Steak & Spinach, top.
Lamb Chops, bottom.

Within a mere short 2 months, the nouveau power-house steakhouse, Baltaire, already received accolades for their juicy cuts of steak for dinner, but what about lunch and brunch...and Happy Hour for the rest of day?

Those aspects have been overlooked for the much glamorized dinner but there are so many meals and singular services that Baltaire excels at.

One shouldn't overlook it's lengthy lunch menu and it's shorter in length but deep in quality Happy Hour Menu, a select pick of hits spanning from lunch into dinner.

This scribe stops by Baltaire for lunch or mid-afternoon fueling before charging into one or two or even three evening engagements later that night.

Laura's Cough Syrup, left; Cough Syrup with Soda, middle; Lavender Soda, right.

Since this scribe is refueling to charge into the night, getting smashed beforehand isn't a right move but this sophisticated palate wants something more than diabetic-inducing pedestrian soft drinks.

The mixologists-slash-bartenders at Baltaire are the unsung treasures at the restaurant.  These are highly trained, skilled, and certificated bartenders imported from Manhattan just for their gift and expertise.

When Baltaire opened, this scribe was stricken with post-Oscar Flu.  Sensing an allergic attack, s bartender knew better than to get this sick scribe drunk for no reason.  Instead, he whipped up an healthy concoction that this country's colonial settlers might recognize, a pure lemon juice and honey concoction (with some secret ingredients sans alcohol) to decongest and soothe the lungs.  It eased the pain; and we gladly nicknamed it, "Laura's Cough Syrup."

Once the coughing eases up, he topped out "Laura's Cough Syrup" with lemon-lime soda for a fizzier feel.

Experimenting for Spring and Summer, the bartender whipped up Lavender Soda with Lavender Syrup, made from scratch.  We agreed it was fluffy in effervescence.  This one is for my lavender-loving friends.

Another mixologist/bartender to keep your eyes out for is the one who studies herbal medicine during his off-hours when he's not bartending at Baltaire.  He bartends on Thursdays.

The bar has a slew of artisanal bitters, hand-crafted and customized in the same way sodas used to be, medicinal, herbal, and refreshingly healthy before mechanized into overly-sugared mass production, giving real sodas the bad name they have to endure to this day.

Let's not forget the meals! 

 Filet Steak Salad & Lobster Cobb Salad, top.
Manhattan Clam Chowder with Frites and Laura's Cough Syrup, bottom.

The soup and salads don't disappoint.

The Manhattan Clam Chowder is more of a stew, rich in bacon swimming in a pool of tomato-based thick soup.

The Filet Steak Salad and the Lobster Cobb Salad are meals unto themselves.  You ain't missing out on these protein-packed bowls.  These are salads meant for carnivores who need their fibers, antioxidants, and nutrients.   Well-rounded meals.

Baltaire's The Butchered Burger.

Everybody talks about their mouth-watering steak for dinner.  This scribe leaves it up to them.

Say, if your so-called "lunch meeting" runs late or interferes with your lunch-time work-out, or you're doing a massive article, God Bless Baltaire's heart for having a hearty Happy Hour that fills in the gap between lunch and dinner.

What the Happy Hour lacks in variety, it makes up on focusing the classic, no-fail hits such as the personally hand-ground Butchered Burger or the Lobster Roll, great for fueling up on sustainable protein before the hitting evening circuit.

Can't forget dessert or the alternative to dessert.

Can't go wrong with this Spring's/Summer's pick of Lemon Meringue Pie, but the overlooked alternative is the table side, whipped from scratch Matcha Green Tea Table-side Service.  

Yes, this scribe did indulged in a crunchy-encrusted, juicy steak dinner on opening night.  For ease, this scribe ordered the Matcha Green Tea Service out of curiosity.  Was delightfully surprised when the Beverage Director, David Vaughn, personally wheels up table side with a chic, minimalist cart with an elaborated, fully-kitted out Japanese Ceremonial Tray and a kettle of boiling water.  Soon, he magically brushed and whipped up a frothy cup of yummy Matcha Green Tea, their version of a cappuccino for dessert.

He educated this scribe that Baltaire is the only West Coast restaurant, other than two restaurants back in New York, that does this tableside, made-from-scratch frothy Matcha Green Tea Table-side Service.

If your tooth isn't sweet or want something different, never skip out on the Match Green Tea Table-side Service.  You'll delight your diabetic friend and family. 

 Baltaire Brunch: Two Poached Eggs, Bacons, Fried Potatos and Toast washed down with  Ramos Gin Fizz.
No great restaurant wouldn't be great unless completed with brunch.

This recent, past Mother's Day was the unofficial launch for brunch service.

This scribe has no intention of driving anywhere on Sundays (time to give this scribe and the car a break), the weekend is a fine time to imbibe on Brunch-only cocktails.  Some so classic that they're historical.  There's nothing like sipping a frothy, egg white-based Ramos Gin Fizz, a concoction so creamy that you wouldn't notice that there is no cream or milk in it at all.  Cheers to the bartenders.  For my lavender friend, they sprinkle lavender on top.

For partying the night before, Baltaire's Two Organic Eggs Any Way with bacon, toast, and fried potatoes have enough grease and carbs to absorb the alcohol.  Having the eggs poached serves as a dipping sauce for your toast, bacon, and potatoes.  You can spoon up the remaining egg sauce.

Yes, Baltaire stands at the former site of the largest Cheesecake Factory in Los Angeles before it was shut-down three years ago, at 11647 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, CA90049.

They still retain the architectural "bones."

They have two roomy private banquet rooms, and a spacious fireplace/piano bar, ideal for Grammy parties and industry concerts.

The patio/lounge area has sliding widows/walls that let in that singular Santa Monica sea breeze in.

The greatest virtue of Baltaire, especially for visiting Manhattanites who don't know any better, is the sheer volume of space and sections that can be reserved, sectioned-off, and blocked for all sorts of publicity-oriented events as gifting suites during Award Season or beauty soirees year-around or industry concerts headlining legendary musicians by the grand the crackling fireplace in one of three lounges.  Another overlook aspect of Baltaire, "the space" as they say in cramped New York.

The Olde School professional service, that would make the Roger Sterlings and the Don Drapers (a.k.a. the "Mad Men") of the universe feel right at home, is the place to make and seal "the deal for you all's today's industry wheelers and dealers and players.

Yes, Baltaire answered the simple call of a decent steakhouse in a restaurant row dominated by Italian bistros and crowded by starving starlets' vegan, diet-conscious cafes.

Baltaire feeds and soothes the hungry soul with satisfying steaks and surf & turf with room, tons of room.



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