Architect Leland Bryant designed the art deco Argyle Hotel, along with the restaurant's space, in 1929. Bugsy Siegel liked the place enough to live in an apartment where Tower Bar burgers are now served. But as underused offices and catering facilities at the Argyle, the space retained little from its storied past.
After: In the $2 million makeover, L.A.-based designer Paul Fortune lined the restaurant in walnut paneling with brass inlay and strategically placed fireplaces. The cuisine is American bistro food. Executive chef Collin Crannell, formerly of Chloe and the Water Grill, serves up $21 hamburgers smothered with melted brie. "It tends to attract people that have confidence, that understand that it is cool," said Jeff Klein, the hotel's owner. "They are not trying to go somewhere that is written about as cool." Klein said "refinement and restraint with design are really important with a project like this," adding that aqua blue walls and white chandeliers all over the place "gets really boring."
Nine Thirty Westwood
Before: The W, like its hip clientele, can't be caught behind the trend curve. But the Nine Thirty space was occupied by the former Cuban/Mexican restaurant Mojo, and its prognosis was grim: terminally pass & #233;. Mojo initially got high marks for its spicy dishes with a Latin flair, but its founding chef left and it didn't open up to the street.
After: W spent $2 million to redo the restaurant and other hotel facilities. The Yabu Pushelberg-designed space features hand-crafted Japanese-style screens of woven rattan and coconut shells, with inside seating closer to the windows and a 24-seat patio. Executive chef Travis Lett supervises a menu of gourmet comfort food with an emphasis on local ingredients. Dinner entrees start at $23 and popular items include wild mushroom bruschetta and Kobe steak carpaccio. "It definitely attracts more than it intimidates," said one of the restaurant's partners, Rick Calamaro.
The BLVD Beverly Hills
Before: The venerable Regent Beverly Wilshire Lobby Lounge and Dining Room were classic hotel restaurants. The surroundings featured mahogany woodwork and plush carpeting that gave it a clubby feel where hotel guests sipped and showbiz types looked out of place.
After: The BLVD, at the former site of the Lobby Lounge, emerged after a $2.5 million remodel, with interiors by Bob Barry Designs. Outdoor seating and black marble and onyx details were added. The BLVD, which is hotel owned and operated, features California cuisine to draw a younger crowd.
Also coming is a new Wofgang Puck Fine Dining Group steakhouse. "We now cater to a wider range, from younger affluent clients to established clientele at the hotel," said Radha Arora, the hotel's general manager. Tom Kaplan, senior managing partner at Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, said the Beverly Wilshire's dining rooms had been "very old and very austere and very, very, very grown up."
The Dakota Hollywood
Before: Its predecessor, Theodore's, offered continental fare in an elegant Spanish Colonial space that was built in 1926. But the restaurant space had suffered from a series of ill-conceived makeovers that had dulled the original interiors. Wolfgang Puck Catering not Puck's Fine Dining Group served up the food.
After: & #220;ber-designer Dodd Mitchell, who has worked on local hot spots Katana and Chi, transformed the look of the restaurant, while Domaine Restaurant Group, the company behind Meson G and Aubergine, is replacing Puck. The new design accents include black walnut and ebony and narrow slits of wall mirrors that reflect candlelit surroundings. The Dakota dinner menu is filled with meat, poultry and fish. "We have a name and we bring our own clientele to the game," said Domaine's Tim Goodell, who noted that the Hollywood Roosevelt offered great real estate and a steady client base of hotel guests.
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